Little Sur Trail

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Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Sun Jul 10, 2022 9:38 am

Date Hiked: June 13, 2022
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked this very poor trail to near its brushy terminus then ascended a minor drainage to the granite rock road. Along the trail I spoke with a backpacker who had made it to Pico blanco public camp. In the way to the camp he had ascended the same drainage to get to the road, then to duvenecks then down to the little Sur river then downstream to the camp. He went further east than he needed to.
The route from the little Sur trail to the jeep road ascends a minor drainage just below a stand of redwood trees, this is east of the suggested route in the previous post

Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:19 am

Date Hiked: January 4, 2022
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The trail seems to have been abandoned since the 2016 fire.
Arg..the old-coast road was closed at 1/2 mile from highway 1(though no signs of any obstruction were seen when walking from molera to the trailhead.
Next, A fresh slide has taken out a short section of trail about 1 mile in, this is just west of a slide which was already difficult to get past. I believe the best way to get around this slide is to go up and around the new slide to the west side of the old slide.
Next, I followed the trail as far as the end of the blue line on the topo(GPS'd route). The going gets pretty rough near the end of the blue line where I stopped. Rather than following the trail it may be a good idea to cut up to the easy road where I have drawn the red line on the images.

Another option would be to persevere past then end of blue line then ascend to the road through the less brushy and less steep area which is just east of where the blue line leaves off. This would require some pushing through the difficult area at the end of the blue line.

Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Mon Dec 13, 2021 5:28 pm

Date Hiked: November 12, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The description of the trail at this URL: ... -sur-trail
incorrectly shows the trailhead on Old Coast Road is not open. When I was there in November the road and the trailhead were both open.

Next, the trail...

From the old coast road the trail is in fine condition until about a mile past the Granite Rock Rd. The trail first becomes obscured by mutiple use paths about 1/2 mile past the Granite rock road. At the point where the trail is unobvious the correct route continues westerly much further than expected. The more difficult section is shown in blue, the portion of the trail shown in red has not been walked for about 5 years and is likely impassible (I did not continue past the blue line):

Note: If the national forest boundary is close to what is shown on the above map then much of the Granite Rock Road which parallels the Little Sur Trail is within the national forest. If this is true it would make sense to reroute this chronically bad portion of trail to use the road to get close to Pico Blanco Public Camp. The triangular parcel which includes the area where the trail crosses the Granite Rd is owned by Granite Rock but the parcel east of that is national forest and it appears to include much of the jeep rd.


Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Sun Oct 03, 2021 7:02 am

Date Hiked: October 2, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I ascended the trail from the boy scout camp after walking 6? miles from "The Hoist" (the point at which the palo colorado rd is closed). The trail is a little brushy, some unpleasant thistles were on the trail. The biggest problem is following the tread which goes from decent but obscure to non-existant in places. Intermittent flagging can be used for guidance along with some cairns and lines of rocks. The current route uses most of the trail but in several cases there is no evident tread as the route contours through open untracked areas and bypasses down trees, in these areas flagging is always nearby but may not be easy to find. I went only as far as the top of "Cardiac Hill" at the Manuel trail/Little Sur trail I turned onto the Manuel trail, flagging continued down toward the "Byles cabin"
I found my gloves, but when I returned to the car I noted that my ridgecrest sleeping pad was missing so it is likely on the trail somewhere

Re: Little Sur Trail

by cstumbo » Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:55 pm

Date Hiked: June 7, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Overall, I do not recommend this trail past the junction with the road. As with many trails here, it needs a lot of work. You can see the trail, but it's slowly being taken over. The creek just before the junction is fantastic though and a great place to swim and hopefully get some PO off before heading home!

From Old Coast Road to Granite Creek Rd: passable
The trail is easy to follow, with some overgrowth. Hacked away some PO with loppers. There was one sketchier section, as others have noted, but with good footing, and a nicely placed tree (thanks tree!) it's not hard to navigate. Careful of deadfall here - on the way back a small redwood fell over the trail.

From Granite Creek Rd. to 1.3 miles in: Difficult/Impassable
My friend and I chose to stick to the trail rather than take the inviting road. There are new signs clearly pointing out the trail, so we were hopeful that the trail might be in better shape than most. It started out promising, but quickly became overgrown with PO and scrub brush. We trimmed back some PO and other brush growing over the trail and continued on until we were up on the hillside in the chaparral. At that point, the coyote brush, chamise, etc... had clearly taken over the trail. We got to a section with a low angled rock slab and I scrambled up hoping for a better route/trail up there, but alas, it just continued and looked to get worse. We bailed at this point, knowing we covered little ground and were still far away from the campground and covered in PO. I tracked our hike back to the junction with the road and we had only made it 1.3 miles.

There were also some areas of trail that were loose and eroding. Stepping on them was a bit sketchy as I watched it shift under my feet. I've been on sketchy trails before, but this was the most unnerved I've felt.

Note on the inviting road
We ran into a few other backpackers who had done the same thing as us but they scrambled up to the inviting road. They told us they ran into the land owner who was not too stoked to see them there. They explained they were trying to get to the campsite and escape the overgrown trail. He seemed to ease up after that, but I would not take the road. Signage is clear to stay off.

Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:25 pm

Date Hiked: March 11, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From the Hoist thru Bottchers Gap and the boy scout camp to Duvenecks.
Water is currently available at Duvenecks but it may not last for long as it was not flowing robustly. The lack of use along this trail is making it sketchy. Lots of downfall to go over/around. Route finding in the area near the divide between the north and south forks of the Little Sur river was particularly difficult. I added some flagging in that area and other areas where I thought I might get lost on the return trip. I managed to lose my gloves on the return trip, these are a pair of mismatched black fleece gloves, I will be overjoyed if you find them and return them to me.

Re: Little Sur Trail

by adagioca » Thu May 14, 2020 11:23 am

Date Hiked: May 2, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trailhead off Old Coast Rd to Junction with Graniterock Rd: Passable
Junction with Graniterock Rd to Magic Pool: Very Difficult/Impassable

First section from trailhead to Graniterock Rd is beautiful. Easy to follow, mostly clear. We had brought machetes and widen the trail some and took care of the encroaching PO growing all over [Ed. Note- While suitable for hacking one's way through soft tropical vegetation, machetes are more dangerous than useful in Californian coastal scrub or chaparral. Loppers, hand saws, & training in specific vegetation types are the best tools for maintaining trails through shrublands without inadvertently adding to a future trail crew's workload]. Made some cuts along the deadfall to help get over them. Couple of sketchy spots, worst being 1/4 mile from trailhead with a steep drop if you slide. Proceed with caution.

Once you get to GraniterockRd, it gets worse and worse pretty fast. We were going at pretty slow pace considering we were trying to get the trail more visible and clear it out some. Maybe going about 1 mile per hour. Our plan was to get to Pico Blanco public camp. Eventually, about 1.5 miles from Graniterock Rd, we lost the trail. Plus we were covered in PO, ticks and were quickly running out of water.

Had to make a B line towards GraniterockRd and retreat back. Oh, and some point, a branch must have snagged my machete that came in this cool indian sheath. If you find it, I'd be happy to get it back. Otherwise, looks like nature won against me that day and took the machete as reward :-)

Re: Little Sur Trail

by Steve B » Fri May 08, 2020 7:00 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I walked the Little Sur Trail from the Old Coast Road to the river crossing, this is an off forest trail but it is listed as a forest service trail (18S06). The trail has become overgrown and there is a lot of dead fall, the last time a trail crew worked the trail was December 2012. There are signs that the trail is being used and someone has done some clearing with a machete. To my knowledge the Little Sur trail is not on the forest service COVID 19 closure list. Although the trail is overgrown the walk is not difficult and someone has done some work on the slide which is still a little difficult to get around. About a quarter mile west from the Granite Rock property line I found an abandoned camp with tent, backpack, bedspread, and lots of clothing which I hauled out and disposed of.
Abandoned Camp
Abandoned Camp

Re: Little Sur Trail

by C9H13NO3 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:37 pm

Date Hiked: April 24, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Little Sur trail is pretty good for a Ventana trail. Some dead fall, brush, but nothing bad for the Ventana. Wear long pants, but no safety glasses or bushwhack kit required.

The trail along the river does have some sketchy looking washouts I wouldn’t want to be standing on in wet weather.

Also the campground host at Bottcher’s gap insisted the trails there were closed despite not being named in the order, turned us around. Coast road side is open for now.

Pico Blanco is a nice scramble, skip the road and climb the grippy limestone.

Re: Little Sur Trail

by jdoelman » Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Did the trip from the Hoist to the boy scout camp and to Dubenack's. I almost rated this as passable, but I did lose the trail in spots so Difficult it is. At one of the difficult spots I was looking for the trail and found the tent. There is lots of flagging that is helpful.
Found this tent and a ripped inflatable sleeping pad
Found this tent and a ripped inflatable sleeping pad
Found this tent near the turnoff to the Manuel trail. Email me and I can get the tent back to you.