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Puerto Suello Trail

Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby greg meyer on Mon May 30, 2011 2:10 pm

Date Hiked: May 25, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Youth in Wilderness Program with a group of high school seniors from Pacific Ridge School worked this trail last week. We started at the Puerto Suello junction on the Ventana Double Cone trail and cleared the first .75 of a mile. For the next .5 miles we did light brushing to open the passageway and then we were hit by foul weather and pushed on towards Hiding Camp. We posted additional flags on the middle section of the trail but it is a disaster down there with lots of downed trees, a sea of ceanothus and a jungle of poison oak. The middle section is very slow going because the tread is completely covered, but with our flags hopefully people can get through. The final mile of the trail before hitting the Carmel River is in good shape with obvious tread and no real obstacles. It took our group 3 hours to walk from the VDC trail to Hiding Camp and we were really trying to make good time! Steve Benoit did a great job flagging this and we were able to get a lot of work done because of his efforts.
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Coops on Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:49 am

Date Hiked: April 16, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The Puerto Suello Trail from Hiding camp up is miserable. Just some flagging tape and a ton of brush. We only did about a mile and then turned around and aborted going up to VDC.
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby sugg on Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:22 pm

Date Hiked: October 16, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This trail is angry. I used this trail last in Sept. of '09. That was the first time I had been down it since the fires of '08. This past Saturday was my second time down it since the fires. I believe more people have been trying to use the trail, but the trail is still difficult to enjoy. I traveled from the Ventana Double Cone Trail down to the Carmel River Trail. As mentioned before, the trail has been flagged. Perhaps this is the road to recovery - the process for re-establishing the trail. But it's still a beating. Everything down there in the canyon is growing quickly, especially the sticker bushes. While it's still dry, I find it convenient to simply hop into the creek and rock hop until the trail moves over to Hiding Canyon. The trail gets a bit better over in Hiding Canyon, but all the brush is growing really, really fast. The trail in Hiding Canyon is obvious - easy to follow. The trail between the Ventana Double Cone Trail and Hiding Canyon is [b]VERY[b] hard to follow. The ribbons are down there, and this is awesome. But man it's hard to follow them right now - right through the stickers! I think the ribbons were applied with GPS accuracy, sticker bushes or not. For me, this trail forms a section of a loop I really enjoy jogging/ running. Right now Puerto Suello has become too tough. The epic loops are vanishing. If you have the patience along with long sleeves and pants, use the trail - long fingered gloves don't hurt. - Gus Here are a few pictures from this past Saturday on Flickr....http://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/5095937090/in/set-72157625070834639/ ....there's about 6 or so from Puerto Suello.
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby VentanaMaster on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:16 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I concur on the other comments concerning the current status of the Puerto Suello connection between the Upper Carmel River (Hiding Camp junction) and the Skinners Ridge route to the Double Cone.
It's the worst I've ever seen it, and it used to be an integral, essential link when I used to do the 65-mile grand loop from Botchers to Botchers.
When I did the 1998 and 2000 updates of my good pal's seminal guide for the Ventana ("Hiking the Big Sur Country: The Ventana Wilderness", Jeffrey P. Schaffer, WP, 1988), I wrote even back then (now 12 years ago) that as the PS connection was disintegrating with no intentions by the USFS to clear it and re-build it, that before long it would be almost impossible for anyone other than the most fanatical bushwacking hiker to negotiate the PS link. In my radical youth I would have made the commitment, but not anymore.
Overall, the status of the entire Ventana trail system today compared to what I enjoyed in the late-60s through until just before the Marble Cone Fire in 1977 and then again in the wake of the great El Nino storms of the 1990s and the subsequent fires of '99 and '08, is a very sad commentary on the lack of interest and commitment by the USFS.

Thus spoke the VentanaMaster!
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Steve B on Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:22 am

Date Hiked: August 20, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

General Condition: Mostly overgrown almost impassable. A real challenge.
The bottom third of the trail (toward Hiding Canyon Camp) is overgrown but is fairly easy to follow. The middle section (in the creek) is mostly gone and difficult to follow due to dense wild blackberries, poison oak, and vines. I flagged this portion but the flagging may be off somewhat but it is the route of least resistance. The top portion of the trail was very difficult to find and is badly over grown with wild blackberries and ceanothus. I flagged this portion of the trail but there is a two hundred yard section where I was unable to find the trail at all. The entire trail is flagged with pink flagging and people should not get lost in the future if they spend time to find the flagging. The top section is difficult to follow but if people continue down the south side of the creek they will find the flagged trail.
I believe the Puerto Suello Trail is an important trail to maintain because it is a major connection to the trail system from the Bottchers Gap Trailhead.
I don’t recommend this trail unless you’re into serious brush crashing but it is an adventure. :twisted:
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Re: Puerto Suello Trail

Postby bcrowell on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:09 pm

Date Hiked: March 29, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I had an experience similar to what neil reports from the year before. We came south along Ventana Trail to the saddle where the junction with Puerto Suello Trail was supposed to be. There were lots of ribbons on the ridge of Uncle Sam Mountain coming down to the junction, but after investigating these, we found that they seemed to be intended to show a way to the summit, not access to the Puerto Suello Trail; we followed them until they disappeared in a meadow, and that was at an elevation several hundred feet higher than the Puerto Suello Trail. We spent half a day trying to bushwhack our way through, and were unsuccessful. The whole area seems to have been completely covered with brush in the aftermath of the 2008 fire. We tried to locate the area where the trail was supposed to be using GPS, compass, and altimeter, but there was nowehere that we could seem to get through. We kept running up against steep, dangerous canyons.
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bushwack from ventana trail down to carmel river

Postby neil on Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:31 pm

Date Hiked: August 8, 2009
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

the trail exists near the top of the ridge but then as you descend it is nonexistent following the creek. but make sure your head south as the drainage narrows so that you hit the trail as it goes around the ridge towards hiding camp. its only 3.5 mile downhill but it took us roughly 4.5 hours so i would not recommend traveling this way
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Trail Conditions History 1999-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 4:55 pm

Date Hiked: January 12, 2008
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Myron
Survey date: 12-JANUARY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Tread is evident and can be followed without difficulty, but covered with slippery acorns and oak leaves. Tread is less evident in the creek bottoms but the logic of the terrain makes the way clear. Many recent deadfalls, but passable with care.
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Conditions reported by: Ken Swegles
Survey date: 15-APRIL-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail is in very good condition in comparison to a lot of previous years, considering the clearance in general. It was a little muddy this time of year with the rain, but there were only a few small dead falls that were of no difficulty. Some parts of the trail are eroding near Hiding Camp, with tons of Bigleaf Maple leaves that make the trail very soft yet slippery. We encountered rain on the trail and had to set up a tarp for shelter, so always be prepared for sudden weather.
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Conditions reported by: Adam
Survey date: 17-FEBRUARY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail is in good condition and distinguisheable at all sections. There are several deadfalls across the trail. Also, the trail is pretty steep at times with leaves making the traction uneasy. Poision oak is minimal at this time.
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Conditions reported by: NR Schmidt
Survey date: 8-JANUARY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Ventana Double Cone Trail to Carmel River Trail - Passable

Well defined but somewhat unspectacular trail with water about 0.5 miles from Ventana Double Cone Trail junction. Downed madrone and oak encroach on the trail in a few spots.

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Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 25-NOVEMBER-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Found the turnoff at the top of the ridge and plunged down a clear trail. Some slippery sections, especially with all the fallen leaves. The trail was evident and meandered obviously down the ravine. Water was scarce, if not non-existent, at the top of the trail, and by the time you hear it, you've meandered toward the more abundant Carmel River at Hiding Canyon Camp. Note that the river at Hiding Canyon Camp at this time was the only water between Hiding Canyon and Pat Spring. Heaven help those that climb this trail with a pack up to the ridge. Hiding Canyon Camp had a little trash, which we packed out. But overall, camp was in good shape, with intact tables and fire rings.
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Conditions reported by: Bob Burd
Survey date: 29-MAY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail is easy to follow for most of the way down to Hiding Camp. A few sections were obscured by blow down, but these were flagged with pink ribbon. Regular encroaching brush. No problems with creek crossings, and Carmel River was easily forded at Hiding Camp.
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Conditions reported by: Bren
Survey date: 27-MARCH-2006
General: IMPASSABLE
Specific:

Section:

Heavily overgrown from from Ventana Trail, lots of deadfall. Overflowing creeks have erroded much of trail. Waist deep crossings to Hiding Camp. Carmel River too high to cross, turned back, returned to Los Padres via Big Pine.
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Conditions reported by: TreeProf
Survey date: 27-DECEMBER-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Pretty decent shape from Hiding Camp to Lone Pine Camp [ed: on the Ventana Double Cone Trail south of the junction], with some deadfall, but little brush under the tanoak, madrone, and bay overstory (very lush and nice).

Be prepared to lose some blood on the scrub oak and other brush on the [ed: Ventana Double Cone] trail up to Ventana Double Cone, which is beginning to take over on many parts of that trail.
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Conditions reported by: Roland Piedrahita
Survey date: 9-OCTOBER-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Hiding Camp to Ventana Double Cone Trail junction - Passable

There was poison oak throughout, sometimes I had to swat it away with my walking sticks or trample over it. There are a few places you have to duck under fallen branches, but they're fairly easy to pass. Bugs weren't a problem at all until I got bitten by something on the back of the neck almost at the top of the trail. I think it was a deer fly though I did not see it. It was pretty painful though. No bugs after that either. There is only water to about a third up the trail where it happens to be the most beautiful.
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Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Program
Survey date: 10-MARCH-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The first of our groups to use this trail found considerable clearing necessary. After that had been tackled, later groups report a trail with some minor obstacles, poison oak, and, in this wet season, slippery mud near the top and four wet creek crossings. However, the trickling water supply near the top of the trail was flowing and the route is always clear.
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Conditions reported by: Josh and Kristin
Survey date: 16-APRIL-2004
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Hiding Canyon Camp to Ventana Double Cone Trail

(3.5 miles, 2.5 hours)

Trail is well defined, clear in almost every section and steep. Nothing but a continued climb to the top. There are a few washouts due to erosion on some of the steeper sections of trail, but easily passable. Water is running in the creek til about a 1/2 mile from the summit.
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Conditions reported by: Andrew McDavid
Survey date: 14-MAR-2004
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Hiding Camp to Ventana Double Cone Trail

Good trail, well defined. No washouts or major deadfall. Abundant water throughout. Camped at the saddle.
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Conditions reported by: John Fedak
Survey date: 27-NOV-2003
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Entire Puerto Suello trail

This trail is obscured in places by fallen leaves but never difficult to follow. Minor brush obstructions in places but no major fallen trees.

*Large* gathering of ladybugs in a thicket about a mile from Hiding Camp.

Sign at top of Puerto Suello trail and VDC trail junction is broken.

The Carmel River near Hiding Camp is rock-hoppable before much rain.

Pics: http://www.fedak.net/albums/pinevalley-page2.html
===========
Conditions reported by: Matt Fiori
Survey date: 27-MAY-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Well, after a lazy meander through the Carmel River canyon, Puerto Suelo sure was a rude awakening! The tread was almost imperceptibly thin on parts of the lower grade, and there were a few deadfalls and hanging brush up higher. I managed to hack through some of the tangles, so the way is definitely passable, though as steep as ever. If possible, having the trail shots come in to do some tread work would be of great benefit. All in all, its still in decent shape--for now.
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Conditions reported by: Ojai Valley School - "Las Papas Gigantescas"
Survey date: APRIL-MAY, 2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

From the junction at Puerto Suello it was steep down, brushy and there was lots of P.O. Hiding Cyn was a great camp for lunch (pretty). Stream crossing of Carmel River was easy but there was no good rock hop (shoes off).
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Conditions reported by: Jim Yurchenco
Survey date: 14-21-APRIL-2002
General: PASSABLE TO CLEAR
Specific:

Passable to clear: I clipped here, but more could be done to keep the poison oak back.
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Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: FEB-2002
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Puerto Suello to Hiding Camp: We cleared brush along this trail, and the way is now quite clear.
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Conditions reported by: Mark Riddle
Survey date: 10-JAN-2002
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE
Specific:

A few gnarly deadfalls requiring over/under, but very passable (the trail was visible from the Carmel River Trail across the canyon).
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Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition 2000
Survey date: APRIL-2000
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Except for a new madrone tree fallen across a drainage between Hiding Canyon Creek and Uncle Sam Creek, which must be crawled under, the lower section of the trail is very thoroughly cleared out eight feet wide up through the Uncle Sam Creek valley until past the last major creek crossing. Then the trail becomes more normal; the foot bed is always clear and obvious, but brush encroaches and poison oak crosses the trail. Stevenson School has done some clipping and clearing, but more could be done on the upper third of the trail. The top of the trail where it joins the Double Cone Trail is clear and clean; water still drips in the first spring below the top, five minutes down the trail from the junction.
===========
Conditions reported by: Mark Connell
Survey date: April 10, 1999
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Passable - This is currently very muddy and slick. Be careful. No real encroachment or fallen trees.
===========
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Puerto Suello Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 4:54 pm

* USFS Trail # 3E08
* Parking: Los Padres Dam
* Watershed: Carmel River
* Junctions: Carmel River Trail, Ventana Double Cone Trail
* Connects: Carmel River Trail at Hiding Canyon Camp with Ventana Double Cone Trail at Puerto Suello
* Camps: Hiding Canyon Camp
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