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Manuel Peak 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: Manuel Peak Trail

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman on Sun Oct 03, 2021 7:26 am

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

I followed the Historic Manuel trail from the Little Sur trail to Launtz creek camp. The Manuel trail starts at a large roll of chicken wire along the Little Sur Trail, from there the route/trail meanders south along the ridge. A nice campsite is found a few hundred feet south of the Little Sur trail, this campsite is nice but it requires that you get water near the "byles cabin"(maybe no water in late summer/fall) which is a short walk away.
The trail/route does not require crawling at any point but does require exceptional trail following skill, flagging is always nearby if you are on the trail. When nearing Launtz, the trail is lost at a point 1/4 mile NNW of launtz, at this point the route goes steeply down and direct to Launtz camp. The last 1/4 mile is along a treed slope with few obstacles (I followed the route from bigsurtrailmap.net), this is a big shortcut , and in my mind an improvement to what is shown in Shaeffer's guidebook. The "Launtz Creek Camp" sign has survived the fire. I believe the best camp site is accross the creek from the signed site, at the homestead site.
IMG_2651.jpg

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by LondonHiker on Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:40 am

Date Hiked: July 29, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Very similar conditions to the trail report immediately below - the first few miles are really well maintained, with grasses and other foliage cut back. Once you turn the corner away from Highway 1 and head in toward some of the redwood groves, there are some passable landslips and rather a lot of brush. There is also quite a lot of poison oak.

I made it to around 900m in altitude before the poison oak got too thick to pass through sensibly - you’d need long trousers or poison oak immunity to go further in my view. Beautiful views though throughout - certainly worth it especially if you take poison oak precautions!

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by driggsy on Sun May 16, 2021 2:17 pm

Date Hiked: May 14, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Started in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, headed to Manuel Peak. The first 2.5 was in great condition, some really tall grass was a little annoying but not at all a problem. After the first major gulch/canyon with the redwoods just before mile three, there is a long section of trail that is either run out or overgrown with sage, or both. It is definitely passable, but it's also definitely annoying.Then you get out of the sage section and start going in and out of short wooded sections. Between the wooded sections was mostly clear, in the wooded sections there was sometimes poison oak (among other plants) crossing the trail. Then you get up onto the ridge for the final push to the summit, and it is dense chaparral. I was trying to run this trail, and while some of the more sage and PO covered trail before forced me to hike some, I could not run a single step up to the false summit. From the false summit to the true summit was half very dense chaparral and half semi-open ridgeline. The trail can sometimes be hard to follow up here between the summits.

Long story short: first 2.5 miles is easily passable with tall grasses
next 0.75 ish lots of sage
next 0.75 ish in and out of PO
last 0.5-1 (depending where you turn) dense chaparral, sometimes lose the trail for a few meters

That being said, it was an absolutely SPECTACULAR trail. So beautiful. Views of Big Sur Slot Canyon, redwoods, Ventana Double Cone, and if you go to the high point past Manuel Peak then you also get Pico Blanco! And a lot of other spectacular views. Super worth it. Just accept the overgrowth or fix the trail.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman on Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:59 pm

Date Hiked: March 30, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I loaded the Manuel trail KML from bigsurtrailmap.net into my Iphone GPS and set out to follow the trail from the Little Sur Trail intersection to Launtz camp. I was partially sucessful, the blue line in the image shows my route and the red-line shows the route loaded from bigsurtrailmap.net. As you can see I did not make it to Launtz. With some care it would be possible to follow the flagging which I put up to the endpoint of my route then punch through down to Launtz camp. When I did the hike I ran out of water so I decided not to push through to Launtz. The route has lots of poor tread and many fallen trees obstructing the desired path.
Note: On my hike out I spoke with a guy, he may have been the Pico Boy Scout camp caretaker, who advised that I was not allowed to hike through the boy scout camp. If you meet this guy you may need to be firm in your assertion that you are within your rights. I offered to show the guy my Shaeffer guide book.
man1.png
Date Hiked: March 30, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Todd Perkins on Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:43 am

Date Hiked: February 10, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Generally good condition after the heavy January storm. Brush encroaching into trail especially after mile 4, superficially trimmed (very helpful) through Cabezo Prieta, several 2-6 foot segments of partially washed over sloped or rocky segments easily traversed, two large tree trumps at mile 4.5 easily stepped over.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by VWA_Ranger on Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:43 am

Date Hiked: January 18, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: PARTIALLY OPEN, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is partially open per Forest Order 05-07-51-21-02
Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.

Description:

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has partially reopened, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers have been preparing for its reopening and are continuing their regular patrols. Today volunteer Rangers and Trainees patrolled from Big Sur State Park to the summit of the Mount Manual Trail. They did spot tread work and brushing.

Trail conditions are as follows:


State Park to Wilderness Boundary. - Clear with no obstacles

Wilderness Boundary for the next mile. - Passable with encroaching brush.

From hear to the Summit. - Passable, There were two instances of washed out tread beyond their repair capabilities (about 3.5 and 4 miles up the trail). These areas are passable but are getting sketchy. The last 0.75 miles of the trail to the summit were not brushed or scouted. with encroaching brush.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by VWA_Ranger on Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:24 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: CLOSED, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is closed per Forest Order 05-07-51-20-22
Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires, No Stoves in backcountry. Cold Camping Only.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Big Sur State Park up the first 3 miles of the Mt. Manuel Trail. They maintained a few signs and did some spot brushing along the trail. They met a few visitors on their journey as well.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Big Sur State Park to USFS Wilderness Boundary. - Clear with no obstacles

USFS Wilderness Boundary for the next mile - The trail deteriorates with lots of uneven and off camber tread. Brush is encroaching along the trail.

Note: Per the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and LPNF USFS Websites this trail is still closed to the general public at this time.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman on Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2020
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Followed the trail from its intersection with the Little Sur trail. The sign is gone at that location, but the roll of chicken wire that has been there for decades is still there. I followed the trail for maybe a mile toward Launtz before I gave up.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by ptfleischman on Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:47 pm

Date Hiked: March 6, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I went three miles up. Beautifully graded. Narrow but no major poison oak problems, though would recommend long pants and sleeves. Ticks present. No water in creekbeds. Water has eroded the trail in places. Virtually empty on a weekday morning. Highway noise fades once the trail turns north. Lovely swaths of purple ceanothus. The trail steepens and is said to be more overgrown beyond the Ventana Wilderness border, but the first three miles were great.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman on Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:26 am

Date Hiked: February 8, 2020
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I followed the historic portion of the Manuel trail from the approximate location of the old Tin House trail junction (the sign advertising 3-miles to Vado is still there). This section of trail is in better than anticipated condition, it was followable with some care until reaching the grassy minor ridgeline just above Vado. It is expedient to descend the grassy ridgeline to a point where the dense brush gives way to some marble outcroppings and an easy grassy slope leads northward down the regain the trail.
Along the way I noted several Cairns and some old flagging (though no flagging or cairns were noted in the area where the trail was lost above Vado).
Proceeding from Vado north toward Launtz camp I was not able to locate where the trail leaves the Little Sur River ascending towards Launtz. Maybe I will try again someday.

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