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Puerto Suello Trail

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Teute on Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:21 am

Date Hiked: January 22, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trails is for sur a big challenge to get through. Extra time has to be planed in as moving fast through all the brush and falling trees is impossible. We made it with day packs but for sure it was hard work. Overnight packs might put an even bigger strain on the person to get through. It is worth the effort once you on top but yes be prepared to climb and scramble through tough stuff.

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby pantilat on Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:45 pm

Date Hiked: January 10, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This is a very challenging and arduous trail, but passable for the determined. We found the bottom mile or so to be reasonable with light brush and only a few blowdowns and the trail easily followable. The next two-thirds of the trail, however, are a different story. The brush is thick, but the real problem is the numerous blowdowns that have fallen on top of the brush and created a big mess. A few blowdowns in succession and the trail seemingly disappears. Occasional flagging helps to stay on course, but several new blowdowns from the December storms are not marked and there were several points where we had to scout out the location of the trail on the other side of a blowdown. The blowdowns are relentless. Getting around the blowdowns is often easiest by crawling on hands, knees and even stomach with poison oak in your face. It took both of our trail finding skills (of which we have a lot in the aggregate) to successfully stay on the trail. Without the blowdowns the brush itself would actually be reasonable; the chaparral is becoming older so the understory is defoliating and a tunnel is forming. The big problem happens when the old snags fall onto the brush and pile the tall brush along with the many branches onto the trail. Within a mile of the top is a section where the trail traverses a steep hardpan slope where there is essentially no tread left so care must be taken, but I was just happy not to be crawling under a blowdown at that point. While this trail is a mess, one can take solace from the fact that it is relatively short at less than 3 miles from bottom to top and only about 1.5 miles of that are really bad with a high concentration of awkward blowdowns. This is such a useful and aesthetic connector between the Ventana Double Cone and the Carmel River that I hope it will not be lost.
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby AudsnEnds on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:48 am

Date Hiked: April 22, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked out of Hiding Camp to the Ventana Double Cone Trail via Puerto Suelo Trail. My husband and I are in our mid-30s and consider ourselves strong hikers, but the PS trail in the condition we found it was not an experience we wish to repeat! This trail is a disaster waiting to happen and, although it is passable, the hazards are so numerous that I would feel reckless encouraging anyone to attempt it. Be warned... And if you decide to brave it anyway, please be careful!!
The trail is very overgrown and frighteningly difficult to follow in many sections. Thank you to whoever left the occasional pink- or orange ribbons and small rock piles to mark the way; they provided much needed reassurance! There were fallen trees across the path too numerous to count (our best guess is 50), many of which had to be belly-crawled under. Some were so awkwardly positioned that we had to remove our backpacks to get past them. Others were laying the length of the trail. A few minor water crossings, tons of poison oak and no shortage of ticks. The trail is also washed out in areas, one in particular that is dangerously close to being totally impassable. In that spot, a downed tree is actually the only thing to hang on to to prevent sliding right down the hillside, as the ground just falls away under your feet.
There are no open, pleasant, easy-to-follow sections of this trail; be prepared to fight for every step. Although there are numerous portions in the lower section that are entirely overgrown, the upper section is a maze of total overgrowth. The only way to follow it is to put your head down and charge through the over head-high brush. There was some water flowing from a box-covered spring toward the top.
When we emerged, we were filthy, bruised, scraped, exhausted and grateful not to have gotten lost. It took us four hours to go 3 miles, but we hustled, since it was starting to get dark.

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby N Brockman on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:12 pm

Date Hiked: January 9, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked Puerto Suello from the VDC junction to Hiding Camp on 9 January 2014. The upper portion of the trail is completely washed out in some places, leaving hikers to basically slide around on the side of the hill while following the drainage and neon flagging. Lots of deadfall throughout: many very large and not just across the trail but in some cases laying lengthwise on the trail. Some water but not much: none on the upper portion, and what there is on the lower portion would require picking through brush and deadfall. Abundance of the usual overgrowth. Took us about 2 hours hiking.

A big thank you to the folks that perform trail maintenance and marking! Would have taken us much longer without it.
N Brockman

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:26 am

Date Hiked: November 10, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Water report: Puerto Suelo seep very soggy - water can be obtained here but not quickly
Big Sur Trailmap:
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby stevenson school on Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:37 pm

Date Hiked: February 26, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Stevenson's first glimpse of Puerto Suello "camp" since the fires was startling! We remembered a wide saddle that could easily hold a large camping party, but this was not the case! The trail down to Hiding looked equally foreboding as it was heavily overgrown and almost rendered impassable due to deadfalls. We spent quite a bit of time clearing brush and removing some of the smaller log jams. When cleared many deadfalls from Purto Suello to Hiding Camp except for several logs too large to clear. The trail is still overgrown and tricky to follow, but we would now call it difficult, but passable. There are also many more trail markers than before. Lastly, we worked hard to enlarge the Puerto Suello saddle camp so that it can be used as a campground if hikers are willing to make the 15 minute walk for water run downhill towards Hiding Camp.
stevenson school
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby benthehiker on Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:54 pm

Date Hiked: March 27, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This was the gnarliest and slowest 3 miles I've ever hiked. It was practically a bushwhack, with trees fallen every 50-100ft and most parts almost entirely overgrown. It's doable, but come ready to get scratched, poked, and frustrated. The trails get better as you get closer to Ventana Doublecone and Botcher's Gap (once you leave the Puerto Suello). I was planning to do 12-15 miles this day, instead I did 8.
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Houston Hiker on Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:55 pm

Date Hiked: March 12, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked down Puerto Suelo during trip from Bottcher's Gap to Double Cone to Pine Valley, then Pine Ridge trail. The Puerto Suelo trail is highly overgrown with Chapparal, and Poison Oak. Very many deadfalls across the path required crawling over and under, many times on hands and knees or belly. I'm sure many would rekon this trail impassable. Someone has done a nice job of marking the trail with small rock cairns along the way, and there are a few pink plastic blazes hanging. Even with those it's easy to lose the trail. It took me and my son (both strong hikers) about 5 hours to descend the trail the 3 miles to Hiding Camp from the Ventana trail. If we had been going up, it would have taken us all day, or we may just have thrown in the towel. Chapparal mostly at the top half of the trail, with the deadfalls mainly in the middle half. About two thirds the way up the trail is the last that you will find water until Pat Springs. If you're hiking up Puerto Suelo, fill up your water bottles along the way and keep filling them as long as you can. One of the most primitive and worst trails (on a map) I have ever been on. I very much enjoyed this trail, but it was lots of work, and I was extremely tired and worn out when done.
Houston Hiker

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Guest 2 on Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:23 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Three of us in our early 30's with 15-20 pound packs hiked this trail east to west. The main problems were encroaching brush and downed trees. In many places we were constantly pushing through brush; the trail was identifiable as a gap about 5 inches wide in a wall of brush. In some parts we were distracted by side "trails" that turned out to be dead ends. The going was very slow because we lost the trail numerous times and had to search the area to find where it began again. In the end we made it through to the Double-Cone junction after hiking from about 9:30 am to 12:30pm. So, technically it is not impassible. As suggested by our map, there was water in the eastern part of the trail, but the western/top part of the creek was dry during this season. The hike makes for a good story, but we probably wouldn't have tried it if we had looked at the previous trip reports.
Guest 2

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby DeborahR on Mon May 14, 2012 1:14 pm

Date Hiked: May 1, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The 5/12 report is accurate. I happened to love the adventure (I'm 58). Not a problem, just slow going. My partner likes wide open trails so this was not a fit for him. Be prepared to travel at 1 mile/hr. We found the flagging to be very useful - you just have to stay focused. Getting to Hiding Camp was a welcome reward after 11 hours of hiking from Pat Springs and summiting VDC. Some ticks, but not bad.


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