Hammocking at Barlow or Sykes?

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Re: Hammocking at Barlow or Sykes?

by hikin_jim » Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:40 am

Hi, Betsy,

Wow! That's about as thorough a reply as one could ever wish for. Thank you.

If you had time, and if it were not too much to ask, what is Terrace Creek camp like? I'm driving up from Torrance tomorrow, and I'll probably not get on the trail before 1:00 PM. That only gives me 4 hours of light, and I believe Terrace Creek is about 5.5 miles in, so I might not get all the way to Barlow Flats the first day. I think Barlow Flats is on the order of 7.7 miles in.

Well, it sounds like either a tent or a hammock would be reasonably practical. I guess I could pack up everything and see what the relative weights are and just go with what's lightest. Typically a tent actually turns out to be lighter, at least with a trekking pole tent. One might think that a hammock would be lighter since it requires no tent poles, but, with a trekking pole tent, the weight of the trekking poles themselves isn't typically included -- I bring the trekking poles regardless of whether I bring a tent or a hammock.


Re: Hammocking at Barlow or Sykes?

by Betsy M » Tue Nov 09, 2021 10:29 pm

Not sure about Barlow but I've definitely seen hammocks at Sykes. There are 3 main camps there:
1. across the river and upstream from where the trail crosses the river - lots of sites along this stretch
2. downstream from where the trail crosses the river, on the left, up a little hill; also a second site at this location even further up the hill, among some (large) redwoods
3. downstream from where the trail crosses the river, on the left, at a bend in the river, on a flat above the river. This is a double site, with a fire ring and grill at each site

The main upstream site has trees you could use for hanging your hammock. Near the most downstream part of the site.

There are some other sites downstream on the right side of the river, but I'm not so familiar with those and can't vouch for any trees for hammocks.

You might be able to find a suitable spot at Barlow but this is where most of the trees are large redwoods. Possibly you could find a spot on the left, as you drop down to the river. Not in the main flat area, but the section right alongside the river.

The camps don't seem to be getting super full so my guess is you should be able to find a tent site without too much trouble. Though the chances of rain in the next week seem to be almost zero so you probably don't even need a tent.

Redwood is a great camp, and I don't consider the 2.2 miles to be that steep. But it shouldn't be necessary to hike all that way, just to camp.

Poison oak right now is just stems with no leaves. Still capable of causing a rash but not as easy to identify. Watch closely and don't brush up against it! You should be able to hike in without touching any.

Happy hiking!

Hammocking at Barlow or Sykes?

by hikin_jim » Tue Nov 09, 2021 9:50 am

I'm headed up the Big Sur River later this week, camping at Barlow Flats one night and Sykes for probably two. If Sykes were overfull or something, we could go to Redwood Camp, but my partner really doesn't want to hike that far with a pack. He's heard that the climb up to Redwood is quite steep.

I've not been before. I'm debating whether I should bring a hammock. I've heard the trees are very large in circumference and far apart and that there's potentially a lot of poison oak (I'm definitely allergic) between some of the trees, which, if true, would make for poor conditions for a hammock.

I do have a tent available (Tarptent Stratospire I), so not hammocking is no problem. However my tent is a trekking pole tent (i.e. not freestanding) and requires a larger tent site than most. I'm a bit worried that maybe the sites are small or that there will be enough people already there that I might not be able to get an appropriately sized tent site.

Has anyone here backpacked Big Sur with a hammock? How did it go? Any advice? (please) :)


P.S. I have a Hennessy Explorer XL (which is 11' long) with just the stock suspension (10' ropes on either end which are then lashed to the tree straps). I've purchased some DD Hammock 2m tree straps and will be taking two sets of said tree straps (4 straps total in other words). For a tree larger than 2m in circumference, I would tie two of the 2m straps together with a figure 8 bend. I'd probably get about 3.5m of usable length out of a tied together strap. The ideal set up would be two trees at the same elevation approximately 15' to 20' apart.