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Stone Ridge Trail

Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jbl on Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:51 am

Date Hiked: November 28, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE SECTION FROM OJITO SADDLE TO THE APEX.

I hiked this at the tail end of a Sea to Sky adventure; interestingly, I ran into two different pairs of people who were also doing Sea to Sky that day.

I hadn't had a chance to hike this section for maybe 2 years and was glad to see that it remains in pretty good shape.

The switchback section down to Goat Camp remains precarious in lots of places and there's one brush tunnel section where you are going down a steeper than normal grade where I was glad that I wasn't carrying a heavy backpack.

Nobody was at Goat Camp (maybe because of the rain forecast for Saturday), although I ran into two backpackers who had spend the night there and were headed to Cone Peak, and I also ran into two backpackers on Cone Peak who had spent the night at Vicente Flat but who were going to Goat Camp.

Water was flowing nicely at the water source at Goat Camp, and it tasted great.

From Goat Camp to the Apex the trail remains in good shape, with some brush encroachment and some minor sliding that narrows the trail in places.

Anybody who hikes this trail should consider this: a few years ago this section of trail was virtually impassable, and was completely lost in places, and due to the efforts of Mike Heard and the VWA, it is now an absolutely delightful route to take; so if you are able, volunteer for a VWA work trip sometime, or make a donation, because without past volunteers and funding, you wouldn't have been able to hike this trail.
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Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jbl on Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:19 am

Date Hiked: November 2, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report covers the section from the Apex to Vicente Flat Camp.

Section: Apex to Middle Fork crossing: Clear to Wilderness Freeway. Other than a branch the fell from a Redwood tree that is partially blocking (you need to duck under it) the trail just as it arrives at Middle Fork (and this could easily be removed), there were not trees down anywhere and the tread is in excellent shape.

Section: Middle Fork to Hare Ridge: Clear to Wilderness Freeway. The only issues here are the minor sliding in some of the gully crossings as you get up to Hare Ridge

Section: Hare Ridge to Vicente Flat Camp: Clear to Wilderness Freeway. As is typical in this section, there are some very minor slides at a few spots, all easily negotiated.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby foo on Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:39 pm

Date Hiked: July 5, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail is fine; I hiked this (carefully) in shorts.

West Fork of Limekiln Creek is nicely flowing 3 minutes East of Goat Camp. Very easy to fill a bottle here.
Limekiln Creek, in the Eastern half of this trail, is flowing very nicely as well. Also very easy to fill a bottle here.

Vincente Flat has water (flowing nicely as well), but one needs to follow the trail higher up, past the initial camping area, so that's not part of this trail technically.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:47 am

Date Hiked: June 15, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Ojito Saddle to Twitchell Elevator

There is one easily bypassed madrone on the trail, but it's so minor an obstruction that this laboriously reconstructed trail must be considered clear. It's a pleasure to walk it. Plenty of water still flowing in the West Fork Limekiln Creek.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Mario on Tue May 27, 2014 7:45 pm

Date Hiked: May 25, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Hwy 1 via Vicente Flat Trail to Goat Camp. Water running generously at Middle Fork Use Camp and near Goat Camp. Goat Camp was extremely overcrowded, probably about 25 folks sharing this relatively small spot. This was memorial day weekend.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Blarneyguy on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:01 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I walked from Vicente Flat campsite out to the Limekiln/Hare divide on what was more a layover day than anything else. Fog and rain seriously restricted views which curtailed things considerably.

LOT of ticks. Two blowdowns, one coming complete with deteriorating tread. Generally, however, more "Clear" than "Passable," with those exceptions.

Beautiful. Thanks always to the trail crews. These are tough to get to let alone maintain.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Bill on Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:28 pm

Date Hiked: January 19, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The trail was in a good, hikeable condition. We encountered no obstacles hiking from Vicente flat to Goat Camp (and subsequently Goat to Gamboa trail).

Water was available at two points on the trail:
1. Limekiln stream about 2 miles from Vicente Flats.
2. Goat Camp - spring fed right near the camp site (200 yards from Goat Camp).

There was no other running water at any locations on the trail.

There is a fork at one point in the trail when you get out at the point closest to the ocean, it is important to hug the ridgeline (take the flatter trail) instead of going up the mountain. This was the only point of very minor confusion. If you have a map, you should not have a problem.
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Winter Solstice on Stone Ridge Trail+Twitchell Road/Elevator

Postby jbl on Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:41 am

Date Hiked: December 21, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This Report Covers (1) Twitchell Road/Elevator to Stone Ridge Trail at “Apex” (where it crosses the Stone Ridge) and (2) Stone Ridge Trail from that point to Vicente Flat Camp.

Section: Twitchell Road from Highway 1 to saddle between ocean and West Fork Limekiln drainage: Passable/Clear. The brush encroachment on this abandoned road continues to block the trail in places (which prevents me from giving it a “Clear” rating), but since it is an old road and the roadcut is wide (albeit mostly covered with brush other than the narrow tread) it is easy to follow, you just need to push through the brush in places. Just at the saddle, about 25’ from the rusty bench that sits up there, the apparently rerouted and widened Alvin Trail appears coming up out of Limekiln State Park. At this point it is 15’ wide and clear, and it looked to be that way for the first 50’ or so down, but we asked the LSP rangers after our hike and they said that it wasn’t completed yet but should be by the spring.

Section: Twitchell Road from saddle to Twitchell Flat: Clear. The West Fork Limekiln is flowing nicely but easy to cross, the trees that had fallen across the trail in the forested section above the creek have been cut except for a few easy stepovers, and the brush is encroaching a bit in places.

Section: Twitchell “Elevator” from Twitchell Flat to Apex/Stone Ridge Trail junction: Clear. The tread is visible although there are some confusing alternative routes through this mostly grassy section and it is easy to miss the branch to the right that avoids the direct ridge route (there is a rock sitting there, and it should be noticeable because of how out of place it is in this grassland). But as long as you head uphill you should eventually find yourself on the proper track.

Looking Down Twitchell Elevator.JPG
View Down to Twitchell Flat From Midway Up Twitchell Elevator

Note—water was not flowing at the Twitchell Spring that is on the side trail to the right (it is possible it is flowing slightly above there as we saw a use trail heading up above the spring, but we didn’t check it out). On arrival at the Apex, the Twin Peak/Cone Peak Usetrail (which continues up the Stone Ridge) looked relatively clear as far as the eye could see:

At Apex Looking Up Twin Peak Usetrail.JPG
Twin Peak Usetrail Heading Up Stone Ridge; Stone Ridge Trail into West Fork on Left

Before continuing along the Stone Ridge Trail into the Middle Fork drainage, we walked about ¼ mile in the other direction just to get some views of the West Fork drainage, and saw this giant oak next to the trail:

Huge Oak on Stone Ridge Trail near Apex.JPG

Section: Stone Ridge Trail to Middle Fork Limekiln Crossing: Clear/Wilderness Freeway. Anyone who hiked on this trail before its restoration will be especially amazed at how spectacularly it has been restored. This section covers a lot of steep sidehill and it is apparent that much time was spent to make sure that there was a sufficiently wide tread, in particular in the slide-prone section above Cow Shit Creek and the Middle Fork itself. The Middle Fork was flowing well but easy to cross. The Middle Fork Usecamp (50’ upstream from the creek crossing) was in pristine condition, with space for 2-3 tents, a fire ring, two nice stone seats with backrests as well as a 5’ long board-bench, and the creek flowing within arm’s reach:

Small Waterfall in Middle Fork Usecamp.JPG
At Middle Fork Use Camp

Section: Stone Ridge Trail from Middle Fork Crossing to Hare Ridge (dividing Middle Fork and Hare Creek drainages): Clear/Wilderness Freeway. This is another section that has been transformed from barely passable (due to slides in various of the gullies, trees large and small down (including a 4’+ redwood that had caused a major diversion for years), and horribly misaligned tread requiring constant up- and downhill moves) to a very pleasant passage due to Mike Heard’s heroic efforts with the Cone Peak Trails Network Project. Because there are some steep and deep gullies in the upper reaches of this section, there is some erosion and minor sliding in those spots so watch out for that. At the Hare Ridge crossing, it is worthwhile to walk a few hundred feet along the ridge towards the ocean to get some great views in all directions, including a nice profile of Twin and Cone Peaks:

Twin and Cone Peaks from Hare Ridge.JPG

Section: Stone Ridge Trail from Hare Ridge to Vicente Flat Camp: Clear/Wilderness Freeway. This is another trail that spends a lot of time on a steep sidehill with little vegetation and with much potential for erosion/sliding/slumping, but it is in excellent shape with relatively wide tread and a pleasant grade. We crossed one spot where a small section of trail had slid away such that extra care was needed, but overall this is an easy walk which continues to offer great views of Cone and Twin Peaks, the ocean, and across Hare Canyon to the Vicente Flat Trail over on the other side.

We found Vicente Flat to be empty when we arrived, which was surprising for a Saturday afternoon in such great weather, but on our way down the Vicente Flat Trail we passed a number of backpackers who were on their way in for the night. Hare Creek isn’t flowing in Vicente Flat Camp and we didn’t investigate the water situation up-canyon although I assume that there is water in the left branch of the creek just above camp. Next to the picnic table in the lower campsite there was a giant corkscrew-shaped branch sitting on the ground:

Corkscrew Log at Vicente Flat.JPG

We completed our hike by heading down the Vicente Flat Trail to Kirk Creek Campground (this trail is in great shape), and were able
to watch the sun set on the shortest day of the year from Highway 1:

The End of Shortest Day of the Year.JPG
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby wilderwil on Sat May 25, 2013 3:37 pm

Date Hiked: April 10, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I am getting this report written a bit late, I have been out of town. Three of us Alan Robertson, Joe Sortais and myself, William Salmon (Wilderwill) hiked from Memorial Park on Ft. H-L. The Stoneridge trail is in great shape, thanks to the "Merry Trailsters", many thanks. We started on the Arroyo Seco Trail, and Gamboa Trail Spending our second night at Goat Camp. Water is very plentiful and about 200 feet away. Goat Camp is a level, spacious camp with fire ring between two streams on a rock outcrop extending from the mountains. There are great views of the Pacific Ocean from the camp. We didn't complete the trail but stopped at the grassy outcrop overlooking the ocean (Stone Ridge Apex?). We started down the Twitchell Flat use trail to get our car parked at Limnkiln State Park.

The Twitchell Flat Trail is steep, and we stayed to the right of the remaining wire fence to avoid a rocky drop off. The fence was once used to control cattle I presume. went down very steep switchbacks in grass and ended up in fields of Lupin, before the "Flats". ( I wouldn't want to climb up this trail !) We tasted some strawberrys once planted by the Twitchells, I guess. The trail then winds down on the old road to a beautiful redwood and clover lined creek. (The property is now on Limnkiln Creek Park property. Hopefully with the CCC trail crews currently working they will connect it with the main park).

We then followed the road out to a saddle above Hwy 1 and finished up at a gate on the new bridge rock-tunnel construction on Hwy 1. We got permission to walk along side the construction traffic over the bridge and through the tunnel and were in Limnkiln and to our car.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby C M Heard on Tue May 14, 2013 8:39 pm

Date Hiked: May 13, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

On a day trip in from Twitchel Flat, Robin Roby and I were able to cut up the downed bay tree about 1.5 mi south of Goat Camp without much trouble, but we were not able to finish removing the stump before we ran out of time:

IMG_0008.JPG

We built out the trail with fill retained by one of the bay rounds, so it's easy to step around the encroaching stump. This temporary fix should be good enough for the visitors anticipated during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I have to do some sign installation some work to do at Goat Camp this summer, and I'll attempt to finish the stump removal job at that time.

//cmh

P.S. One thing that really surprised me is how little bare soil is visible from the tread reconstruction work that was done last fall and winter. In a few places there are a lot of thistles growing, but I expect that these will dry up and blow away in the next few months.
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