Ventana Wilderness Forums

Presented as a public service of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Miller Canyon Trail

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby ACD on Sun May 18, 2014 11:40 pm

Date Hiked: May 14, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

It was clear that few people took this route, as the trail was often very faint. The trail was very well-flagged however, making it pretty simple to follow. A LOT of poison oak along the route however, and a couple of places where the trail has slided down. Nothing insurmountable.

People hiking this trail should be aware that there is NO WATER at China camp, and that the few little streams above where the trail climbs out of Miller Canyon will probably be dry in a few weeks. I got to China camp assuming that I'd find water, then had to hike back down the way I had come to find a little mud trickle to pump from.

Generally had a great time, and didn't see a soul between Bluff Camp and China Camp.

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby pmannisto on Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:37 pm

Date Hiked: February 23, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail before the recent rains, so this report might be a bit out of date. I went from China Camp to Carmel River Camp as part of a loop, returning on Carmel River trail.

The first few miles are along a road and the route is both well-flagged and obvious. After you leave the home association areas the trail becomes more difficult. If it weren't for the flags I probably wouldn't have been able to navigate the trail. Pay attention to the flags!

The first few miles after the home association area the trail is a beautiful walk above Miller Canyon with ancient oaks and grasslands interspersed. As others have mentioned, there are some spots where the trail crosses slides and is a little dicey but I wouldn't consider any of it very problematic.

Soon enough you descend to the Miller Fork of the Carmel River. When I was there it was just a pleasant creek (maybe 4 or 5 feet wide), easily rockhopped at every crossing. I'd imagine it's flowing more heavily now, but probably not enough to make rock hopping impossible (there was lots of room for the creek to grow and still have rock hopping practicable). Just a pleasant downhill jaunt to the Carmel River Camp.

Already when I was there ticks were out in force, especially on the part between the home association area and the river walk. I'd imagine they are much worse now. I'd strongly recommend long pants, especially some material that ticks have trouble gripping. That being said, the trail is clear without much overgrowth. I rated it "Passable" since there are some minor difficulties as mentioned above (dicey slides on the trail and numerous crossings of the Miller Fork).
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:09 am

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:28 pm

Date Hiked: January 26, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked up this trail from the Carmel River trail. It was mostly clear, with the occasional downed tree and very little in the way of brushy spots.

It was a joy to see the Santa Lucia firs and there was even a species of wildflower blooming in the lower canyon (white / purple). The creek crossings were all rock-hops. Brushed off a few ticks. Plenty of water at the camps.

There were a few places where the trail was narrow and crumbling, often above steep terrain : these are not good places to lose your balance, so be warned.
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:21 pm
Location: SJC

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby wilderwil on Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:46 pm

Date Hiked: October 24, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Starting at China Camp we walked down Jeffery Rd. past the cabins and private pond to the trailhead. Steve Jackson, Alan Robertson, William Salmon (wilderwill) and Joe Sortais (as a day hiker). The trailhead easy to find. The road has signs directing you to the trailhead and the trail has been flagged and is well defined. There was no water (October) until about 1/2 mile before Miller Camp. We walked past the Nason Cabin site without seeing it, but Santa Lucia Firs start to appear, and were numerous on this trail.

The Hennickson Trail is not shown on the National Geographic Map, but we found the junction signs, burned off at the base and propped against a tree. Jeffrey Schaffer in his book does not recommend this trail so we passed it by. The trail sign shows 3 miles to Carmel River, but it has been scratched out and a "5" scratched next to it. Five miles is more accurate.

The trail to Miller Camp has some downed trees and a few tricky spots where the trail is sliding away on steep slopes. A hiker could slide right off into the dark canyon below. Miller Camp is spacious with fire grill and a sign. No fires or stoves as fire restrictions were in place. Alan ate his Top Ramen dry, I didn't know you could do that ! Abundant acorns under the oak trees and lots of pig manure and ground disturbed by their feeding. There was abundant, free flowing water in Miller Creek, but we purified the water before drinking because of the pigs.

Clover basin was a mile away and also spacious and level, the trail was mostly clear and well flagged.

The creek crossings and Carmel River at Bluff Camp are easy to rock-skip this time of year, so no wet clothes or shoes. Flagging and trail work make the lower trail easy to follow. A big Thank-You to the trail workers. We had a hot hike out the West side of Carmel River to a very dry Los Padres reservoir and back to the car in the parking lot.

See Steve's pictures in Picasa at this address: (Ignore the picture of the new grand-nephew. He keeps popping up in Picasa for some reason, but he was too young to go on the trip anyway). ... yonOct2013

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby Steve B on Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:55 am

Date Hiked: September 13, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

September 13, 2013
The Miller Canyon Trail is open and clear from the Carmel River Trail to Miller Canyon Camp and a little beyond toward Jeffery Road. There are still a few trees in the trail and the trail is a little off the original track but we will fix that in future trips. The tread is well defined as of this writing but after the rains and the grass grows the tread may be difficult to find however the trail is flagged.
From Miller Canyon Camp to Jeffery Road (to China Camp) the trail is flagged and the tread is well defined as it looks like the trail is being used after the last flagging trip August 2012. There are a few portions of the trail before the Nason Cabin Site (West) that the tread has slumped away and you will need to really pay attention while crossing this area, a fall would not be good.
You still need to pay attention to the flagging, if you lose sight of the flagging you need to stop and find the flagging. One would think that the trail drops in to the Miller drainage but the trail stays well away from the drainage until you are almost to Miller Canyon Camp.
The Miller Canyon Trail travels through beautiful Miller Canyon and would be a wonderful three or four day loop if you were to hike Miller Canyon at China Camp to Carmel River and return to China Camp via Pine Valley.
I have a Garmin Mapsource track (miller cyn trail.gdb) the Miller Canyon Trail for your GPS available if you contact me through the VWA.
Steve B
User avatar
Steve B
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Del Rey Oaks, CA

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby tripple t thomskinny on Tue May 07, 2013 3:08 pm

Date Hiked: April 6, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

China Camp to Carmel River. Easy peasy...Whoever did the flagging, thank you, its makes this trial super easy to follow. The cattle have got to go, in the upper part of the watershed the cow patties everywhere, creeks and seeps are suffering from major degradation and pretty much tearing up the place.
tripple t thomskinny

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:44 pm

Date Hiked: March 18, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Carmel River Trail to Miller Camp

Having heard that this trail was overgrown and rough, we were delighted to find a passable and fairly easy to follow, though rugged, trail from the Carmel River back to Miller Camp. Granted there is some deadfall and encroaching brush, and the trail does not see much foot traffic, extensive flagging throughout makes this a very passable stretch to Miller Camp. We also had the early Spring on our side; later in the season it may be a very different story as the poison oak takes off and everything else grows too. If it wasn't for the flagging, however, this would definitely be a difficult trail to follow, as it would not always be clear where to go next as you navigate the creek. There are quite a few creek crossings, we were able to rock hop them all, though not without some challenge. Obviously if you read the other reviews, it gets tough further up the trail past Miller towards China Camp, which we did not attempt. Miller is a really beautiful camp with the highest concentration of Santa Lucia firs I've seen in one area.
User avatar
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:48 pm

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby annevoi on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:01 pm

Date Hiked: August 30, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

A team of six members of Monterey County Search and Rescue hiked this trail from the end of Jeffery Road approximately 3.75 miles toward Miller Canyon Camp, beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 30, transporting a heavy wheeled Stokes litter for a potential rescue of a patient (at Hiding Canyon Camp--why we were using this trail is a story unto itself). We found the flagging to be relatively straightforward to follow, easily picked up with our headlamps. The trail varied from being clear, with obvious tread, to areas of steep, soft drop-off; in some spots the trail turned and we continued straight, but we knew to keep looking for the flagging, so we never ventured too far before turning back and rediscovering the trail. At a certain point the slope was so steep and the trail so loose and narrow that we broke apart our litter rig and carried it on our backs. I am guessing we did not get beyond Nason Cabin; in any case, we didn't get to an area with very thick brush or face-high poison oak. We've searched before for people who've gotten lost on this trail (mainly by venturing down into the creek rather than staying high up the slope), and now we understand just how easy it is to get lost. Steve B's flagging was invaluable--though by the end of our trek we were cursing him for making us think there actually was a trail to follow. All in all, it took us 8 hours to hike approximately 7.5 miles.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby Steve B on Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:13 pm

Date Hiked: August 8, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Miller Canyon Trail
Date Hiked: August 8-9, 2012
Starting point: China Camp
Ending Point: Carmel River Trail

After leaving the road in the housing area (the end of Jeffery Rd. in tract 37) the trail is overgrown but passable, pink flagging marks the trail but the flagging is sometimes faded and difficult to find (Paul Danielson did a wonderful job of flagging the trail). We added orange flagging starting from the end of Jeffery Road to the junction of the Carmel River Trail. The trail is fairly easy to follow though difficult walking until about one half mile past Nason Cabin where the trail has slid away on a steep side hill; the tread is about three inches wide and crumbly above a dangerous cliff, this portion of trail of about two miles is dangerous and one should use extreme caution traversing the cliff areas. When the trail leaves the cliff area and drops into a north aspect the trail is very overgrown with poison oak well over my head, we lost the trail numerous times but after finding the trail we added more orange flagging, the trail gets worse the tread is mostly gone and the brush and poison oak is very thick. Finally the trail drops into a seasonal creek above the Miller Fork of the Carmel River where it is easier to follow the creek than walk the real trail to Miller Camp. Miller Camp is in good condition and has had some use. From Miller Camp to the Carmel River Trail the trail is overgrown but passible (it seemed easy because of the miserable trail prior to Miller Camp). Although the Miller Canyon Trail looks like a good loop trail I don’t recommend hiking past Miller Camp from Carmel River, if you do hike past Miller Camp toward China Camp be sure to follow the flagging, if you lose the flagging stop and re-locate the trail, don’t follow what looks like an easier route.
User avatar
Steve B
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Del Rey Oaks, CA

Re: Miller Canyon Trail

Postby pauldan on Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Date Hiked: June 2, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

As a followup (see previous trail report), I hiked up the Miller Canyon Trail from the bottom. I was able to put in ample pink flagging to make this route easier to follow, especially for the uphill hiker. I got as far as approx. 0.3 mile from Miller Canyon Camp. What I found on this hike was the following:

1. From the lower trailhead at the Carmel River to approx the 0.8 mile point: Passable --- with clear wide tread most of the way and two nasty deadfalls disposed of. This is due to the fine work of Steve Benoit and his trail crew earlier this year.

2. From that point to Clover Basin Camp: Difficult to Impassable --- with stretches of facehigh poison oak completely overgrowing the invisible trail tread.

3. From Clover Basin Camp to my stopping point 0.3 miles from Miller Canyon Camp: Difficult to Impassable --- similar to #2 above.

Bottom line: It is now possible to follow a line of pink flags almost to Miller Canyon Camp. But be prepared for slow going as you pick your way along faded overgrown tread and thickets of vegetation.

Hopefully, someone will flag the remaining 0.3 mile to Miller Canyon Camp.


Return to Ventana Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests