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Coast Ridge Trail

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri May 10, 2013 9:10 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Tin Can Camp to North Coast Ridge Road

This northern section of the Coast Ridge Trail is very different from the southern section I reported on in April. Let me continue as I did in the earlier report, describing the trail from south to north. My actual hiking route was more convoluted and spanned both the 8th and 9th.

Immediately north from Tin Can Camp the trail is easy and clear as it descends under mature pines and oaks. About a 1/2 mile on, the pines end and the trail enters terrain that shows obvious signs of the 2008 and earlier fires. Fire damage and early recovery define the landscape for the rest of the route. There is a mosaic of forest and chaparral with more and more of the latter going north. The trail continues on what was obviously once an old road and fire break, although in places the old road (today's trail) and the firebreak diverge. The road contours while fire break stays on the spine of the ridge. Sprouting chaparral plants are beginning to reclaim the road bed and present modest obstacles to the hiker.

A few specifics on various segments. The 1/2 mile from the end of the pines to the Arroyo Seco Trail junction is still easy. At worst, a little yerba santa brushes the shins. The segment from the Arroyo Seco Trail junction north to the Rodeo Flats Trail junction mixes open trail with stretches having considerable growth in the roadway. Lots of deadfalls. Most are easy step-overs or walk-arounds, but a few require more work. The Rodeo Flats Trail junction is marked by a post with an ancient wooden sign reading only (and faintly) "Coast Ridge". The segment from the Rodeo Flats Trail north to the junction with the Lost Valley Connector is, on the whole, easy hiking. Much is completely open or has only widely separated small shrubs. No deadfalls. Not many trees either. Only a few spots slow the hiker. Lots of blooming yuccas. I found no water (but a nice place to stay with great star-gazing) at Volunteer Camp. Redondo Spring has water. The junction with the Lost Valley Connector is marked by a metal post with a tape flag. Unfortunately, the post is well off the trail. It's in the open and big, but it takes some looking to find. The junction is about 100' south of the low point as the Coast Ridge Trail approaches a saddle, so that's the place to look. The segment from the Lost Valley Connector to the trail's end at the North Coast Ridge Road has more sprouting growth in the road bed than farther south, to the point that the northern-most half mile may turn "Difficult" in the next year or two if it doesn't see any work. On the other hand, this segment had some great wildflower displays, with Grinnell's beardtongue, scarlet bugler, and bush poppy being the most raucous members. There are no significant route finding issues, although in few spots one has to pause and look around a little bit. See my post on the Upper Bee Trail for a discussion of that junction.
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Jim Ringland
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:59 pm

Date Hiked: April 17, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Cone Peak Road (at the site of the old Cone Peak Campground) to Tin Can Camp

I hiked from the Gamboa trail junction to the Cook Spring trail on Wednesday, April 17. After setting up at Cook Springs, I dayhiked out to Tin Can camp just before sunset. On Thursday, April 18, I hiked from the Carrizo Trail junction to the Cone Peak Road. I'll describe conditions south-to-north rather than in the order I encountered them.

The section from the Coast Ridge Road to the Gamboa Trail Junction has seen lots of recent attention. There is some impressive rockwork and cutting-and-filling. The trail is perched on what is sometimes a very steep hillside but, at least as of now, there is only minimal slumping and erosion. There is one very tight switchback – almost a 180 degree turn – that people have missed heading southbound. Missing the switchback means walking around a pile of brush that essentially says "not here" and then plunging straight down a steep hill, but there's a track showing folks have done just that. The Gamboa trail junction is not marked but it's an obvious junction of two big wide trails.

The section from the Gamboa Trail to the Cook Spring Trail is off the steepest slopes. The junction with the Carrizo trail is not marked and I walked right past it without noticing the stone steps that mark the junction. A few steps on, however, I did notice the Carrizo trail itself to east. It parallels the Coast Ridge Trail as it heads up a little rise. For a goodly ways, the trails are only a few feet apart. From the Carrizo Trail junction, the Coast Ridge Trail gently ascends the ridge that, to the east represents the divide between the San Antonio River drainage and the Arroyo Seco drainage. Toward the top, the trail gets just a little bit closed-in. It's not really brushy, but stray branches did bounce against me now and again. The top of that ridge was the point where the old dozer cut from Carrizo Trail came in. The cut is pretty well filled in: there no real trail junction anymore although a little tape marks the spot. Past the top, the exposure and vegetation changes. It's sugar pine forest to the north. There a big blown-over stump that requires hiking over a little mound on high side of the trail. The Cook Springs Camp Trail junction is just minutes north of that. It's not marked with a sign. However, at the junction there are 2 large logs, maybe 40' long and 2' in diameter along the east side of the Coast Ridge Trail. There is a 10' (or so) gap between them. That gap is the entry to the Cook Spring Camp Trail. It's a big, wide, and steep trail descending east.

North from the Cook Spring junction, the trail is almost a road. Easy, easy hiking. I was at Tin Can Camp near dusk. The low light on the rocks and long views over to other rocky ridges and farther to Pimkolam made it an astonishingly lovely, peaceful, even spiritual place. The camp is just a fire ring on a flat. No water.
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Jim Ringland
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby Guest on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:09 pm

Date Hiked: March 11, 2013
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Cold Springs to Hwy. 1

The only reason I'm writing this report is just to confirm for anyone who wants to know that you can walk this portion of the North Coast Ridge Road. Camped the night before on the ridge at the junction of the North Coast Ridge Road and the .5 mile side road down to Cold Springs. A much more beautiful place to camp over looking the ocean than Cold Springs itself. From this campsite I walked out to Hwy. 1 the next day, and even though it's a road, it was a beautiful hike with the Ventana Doudle Cone prominently displayed. Nice cougar tracks on the road! One thing to note is that the Wilderness Press map shows a trailhead and parking on Hwy. 1 at the start of the North Coast Ridge Road. There is NO trailhead or parking, and I'm not sure what that map is talking about. If starting a hike here you need to park at Big Sur Station.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby Betsy M on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:35 pm

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

This report is from the southern end of the Coast Ridge Trail, at the northern end of the Cone Peak Road, to the Arroyo Seco Trail.

A VWA Trail Crew worked on this trail over two weekends in February, 2013, clearing all the fallen trees. Some of these trees were large and presented difficulties for hikers. There is minor yerba santa growth coming back in the section between Tin Can Camp and the Arroyo Seco Trail, and the ceanothus is just starting to encroach in other sections. But hikers should be able to focus on the views in all directions from this section of ridge trail, now that the obstacles are removed.
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby AdamW on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:12 am

Date Hiked: October 20, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Gamboa Trail junction to Arroyo Seco Trail junction

Mostly clear but with some spots with light brush and about 14 trees.

From the Gamboa turnoff to the Arroyo Seco trail turnoff, the trail becomes less brushy and wider and eventually road-like about a quarter mile before the Cook Springs Junction.

Tree count: (approximate)
Gamboa junction to Cook Spring junction: 3
Cook Spring junction to "Tin Can Ridge" hairpin turn: 3
"Tin Can Ridge hairpin" to Arroyo Seco Turnoff: 8

Anyone doing sawing should be advised that one of the trees just passed Tin Can Ridge is tangled in the old metal phone wire.
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby AdamW on Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:41 pm

Date Hiked: October 1, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Cone Peak Road Trailhead (north end of Cone Peak Road) to Gamboa Trail Junction

Free of deadfall. Sloping tread with eroded talus in spots and light brush in some sections. Junction with Gamboa Trail is unsigned.
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby mikesplain on Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:23 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: North Coast Ridge Trail between Cone Peak road-end and Gamboa Trail junction-
the NCRT is in great shape & easily travelled, just a cut below wilderness freeway due to a few loose spots that could use minor tread work.
Nice to see waxy dogbane (Cycladenia humilis) in full bloom on the talus slope near the "Khyber Pass".
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby trolleypup on Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:08 pm

Date Hiked: December 13, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From the end of the Cone Peak Road to the Gamboa Trail:

All deadfall removed. Trail is clear and hikeable. Tread in moderately poor condition in several places. Brush does not encroach, and poison oak is minimal.

The Cone Peak Road remains closed.
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Coast Ridge Trail

Postby ldrucker on Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:15 pm

Date Hiked: July 4, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked Ventana Posts to Cook Springs, June 30 - July 4.
High temperatures 85-90 degrees
Yellow flys biting at each stop
Bees every morning.
Chaparral dry conditions for entire hike.
Condors, Hawks, Hummingbirds, Quail, snakes, and lizards seen on trail.
Ring tailed cats heard at night @ Upper Bee
Poison Oak is everywhere - Bring Technu
Stay hydrated!
All camps listed have H2O
Night one - Cold Springs
Cold Springs Camp
7200 gal H2O tank
Water Tank

Night two - Upper Bee (See specific post)
Night three - Volunteer Camp
Volunteer Camp
This camp was a nice surprise.
Night four - Cook Spring (see specific post)

Trail between Ventana Posts and Upper Bee was wide and clear. A few vehicles passed us on day one and two.
Trail between Upper Bee and Cook Spring was overgrown with several downed trees but passable.
Be careful to stay on trail rather than take firebreaks over summits of several hills.
Trail is strenuous (Several steep ascents) with little cover.
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Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Postby rachelmetoo on Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:24 pm

Date Hiked: June 22, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

HIked the section from Carrizo to Arroyo Seco, trail was very clear and evident, amazing views!! Early am, coast was marine layered so couldn't see the water, oh well!!
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