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Gamboa Trail

Trail Report

In the form below, select the date you used the trail and a rating of its general passability. Follow up with a detailed narrative of specific conditions, needed repairs, etc. To keep reports accurate, please indicate which section of the trail you used, and please post separate reports for separate trails. For example, if you hiked from China Camp to Pine Valley, report on Pine Ridge Trail from China Camp to Church Creek Divide, then post a separate report on Carmel River Trail from Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley. “Trip reports” involving numerous trails belong on the Ventana Discussion forum, not here! If you are unsure about the name of a trail, don’t guess, simply consult this map. To protect opportunities for discovery and solitude, the moderators may edit or delete reports that reference sensitive features like unofficial trails, cross-country routes, hot springs or cultural sites. Thank you for contributing to this valuable community resource and keeping Wilderness wild!



Enter the code exactly as it appears. All letters are case insensitive.
Wilderness Freeway: Heavily used and well maintained.
Clear: No obstacles and tread well defined.
Passable: Some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident.
Difficult: Brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread.
Impassable: Completely overgrown or tread obliterated.

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Expand view Topic review: Gamboa Trail

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by geoffvirtue on Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:05 pm

Date Hiked: September 26, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We took a small group through the cone peak lollipop this weekend.

Cone Peak down to trail camp is difficult. There are multiple washouts and 3-6 foot diameter redwoods down on the switchbacks. Be prepared to scramble up, down, under, and around. The tread needs to be rerouted around the larger trees or cut with a large band saw. The spring is flowing at Trail Spring but the camp could use some TLC.

Trail Spring to the Ojai Camp sign is passable. No tread is evident from Ojai Camp sign to the camp itself, I would mark that as impassable.

Note about further on: Stone Ridge Trail from Ojai Camp sign to Goat camp is impassable. There is a major washout on the descent of the switchbacks down into goat camp and the tread is not evident. Be careful of the false tread leading in the wrong direction down the wash. You absolutely need an accurate GPX to get through here. The entire descent is overgrown once you do find tread and stinging nettle is out in force. It's going to take a lot of effort to reroute this section and you will need experience building tread. The entire ridge-side burned and the ground is loose and prone to mudslides since nothing has regrown in the burn scar yet. Need someone to put flagging on the trail before I think it can be marked difficult. Highly concerned folks will get lost or hurt out here. Please do not attempt without accurate GPX and significant knowledge of Ventana/route finding.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by snwy on Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:37 pm

Date Hiked: August 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Yikes, this trail is going to need some work before it’s fun to hike again, it’s easy enough to see where it goes but the tread has been damaged and obstructed by burned up downfall in numerous places. Laborious, dirty hiking. No water at Trail Spring.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by awbell on Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:21 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from North Coast Ridge Trail down to Trail Spring and the Cone Peak Trail junction. Quite a bit of encroaching brush, but all can be pushed through without too much trouble. Some poison oak but it was easy to avoid. Plenty of water at Trail Spring.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by AaronP on Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:59 pm

Date Hiked: March 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The tunnel of bushes after goat camp towards gamboa is a little bit of a mess. Can be cleared with loppers and a small handsaw. Camped at trail springs camp during a storm last weekend and had 2 trees fall into the camp during the night. Think I slept for only a couple hours that night and was praying the rest. That’ll be the last time I decide to camp at the bottom of a canyon with 35 mph winds during a rain/snow storm. The two trees that fell into camp can be cleared with a longer handsaw. No crosscut required. There’s one larger downed tree on the way up to the saddle from there that will require a crosscut.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by amburnj on Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:11 pm

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

Trail from Goat camp climbing the ridge on Gamboa to Trail Camp is very hard to pass. There is one over growth were we had to take our packs off and crawl under the limbs. Other sections are extremely low hanging.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by LJeffers on Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:31 pm

Date Hiked: November 21, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Trail Spring Camp up to the North Coast Ridge Trail is easily passable. At this time, the brush, mostly ceanothus, poison oak and yerba santa are present but as minor annoyances. Fallen trees and branches across the trail remain the only real impediments. All can be scrambled over without too much effort but add effort in the constant climb to the ridge top.
I did not observe any water at the camp, but there may be some further down the channel.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by pantilat on Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:06 am

Date Hiked: September 29, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

There's about a dozen logs over the trail between North Coast Ridge Trail Junction and Trail Spring. Undoubtedly some of these are new reflecting the seemingly endless supply of old snags that periodically fall onto this section of trail. The brush alongside the trail has grown tall making 90% of this section a brush "tunnel" with little to no views, but there is only a little encroachment onto the path.

Moving west from Trail Spring to Ojito Saddle the trail is mainly clear and much more used. There are a couple spots of thin/sloping tread. The poison oak is currently bright red so easy to avoid where necessary. The blowdown on this section is still there but a well used path provides easy access around it.

Trail Spring has a good flow for late September with water flowing out of the rocks in three spots.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by SMoore on Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:11 pm

Date Hiked: June 21, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked the full length of the Gamboa Trail down from its junction with the North Coast Ridge Trail to Ojito Saddle on June 20 and back up again on June 21, 2019. In general, the trail heads downhill from the NCRT to Trail Spring Camp, then more-or-less level from there to its other end at Ojito Saddle. The tread is everywhere evident and easy to follow. The first half mile or so below the NCRT descends through a previously burned area on a south-facing slope and has about 35 fallen tree trunks or sizable branches across it, but most of these are easy step-overs or walk-unders. Only a half dozen of these actually require one to break stride and climb over or duck/crawl under. These logs are all less than about 20" diameter, except for the very first one, immediately below the NCRT. That one is a 4-foot diameter trunk, but it has rotted and the top half has crumbled away, so it's really more like a two-foot-high obstacle, and you can walk around the end of it, if you prefer. There is also quite a bit of encroaching Ceanothus and other bushes (but little or no poison oak) in this section. Below that, the obstacles thin out. There is one tree crown blocking the trail and forcing people to detour downhill around the leafy crown and back up again. And there are a couple more 2O" step-over logs across the trail, but that's about it before you reach Trail Spring Camp. The creek at the camp is flowing nicely (June 2019), as is the namesake spring, which drips onto the trail turning it to mud, just before it enters camp. The section of Gamboa Trail between Trail Spring Camp and Ojito Saddle (the junction with Stone Creek Trail and Ojito Camp Trail) is relatively flat and smooth sailing. There is a little bit of encroaching poison oak, but it's avoidable. About 15 minutes beyond Trail Spring Camp, there's a tangled mess of oak, madrone, and Ceanothus blocking the trail, forcing hikers up or down and around, but that's the most significant obstacle on this half of the trail. There are also a couple more 20" diameter, easy step-over logs across the trail after that. It's otherwise clear until the last minute or so before the saddle, when you end up having to push through some encroaching Ceanothus before you pop out onto the saddle with a nice view of the Pacific Ocean (or the fog, depending). So, in summary, I'd say the section of the Gamboa Trail between NCRT and Trail Spring Camp is appropriately ranked as "passable", while the section between Trail Spring Camp and Ojito Saddle could be ranked "clear," except for a small number of minor obstacles.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by emlennon on Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:22 am

Date Hiked: December 31, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Easy to follow the trail. This was a nice section and is clearly being well-used. Some slight brush in places but nothing bad. PLENTY of water at trail spring. Had a scary wind storm overnight at Trail spring with branches falling everywhere and small stuff falling on our tent.
[ED: this report is for western half of trail]

Re: Gamboa Trail

Post by pantilat on Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:32 pm

Date Hiked: October 28, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Ojito Saddle to Trail Spring the trail is "clear" and in good shape. Big leaf maples in peak fall color are sprinkled throughout the gullies and in Devils Canyon.

At Trail Spring there is surprisingly decent flow for this late in the season when it has been so dry (~20 seconds for a 20 oz bottle), aided by tin foil slide to focus the flow and create a lip for easy filling.

From Trail Spring up to the North Coast Ridge Trail, it becomes a bit brushy as per prior posts, hence "passable." The removal of the many logs over the trail was much appreciated. One new large V-shape log has already fallen over the trail so the old snags are clearly not done falling over onto the trail yet. Near the junction with the North Coast Ridge Trail at the top a burgeoning forest of Coulter Pine is starting to take shape with many of these young trees emerging from the brush canopy. They have certainly grown a lot in the last few years and reflective of the Coulter Pine's ability to grow in a hotter and drier climate regime. Hopefully one day they will grow sufficiently large to replace the brush!

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