Carrizo Trail

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Here give the SPECIFIC CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED such as tread washouts, encroaching brush, downed trees, slides, or other difficulties following the trail.  Water reports or dangerous conditions particularly requested !

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Re: Carrizo Trail

by stretchrothman » Mon Apr 25, 2022 6:41 pm

Date Hiked: April 23, 2022
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trail fairly clear for 1st 2 miles. Washout on a switchback below Carrizo Camp. Camp looks good; still decent water in the creek.

Flag markings are very useful; could use more.

Downed trees within the fir stands. Most have short detour trails around them, some require climbing over.

Overall trail is in decent shape. Highly suggest gps for navigation through trickier areas.

Re: Carrizo Trail

by jack_glendening » Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:25 pm

Date Hiked: January 12, 2022
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Saturday I hiked the Carrizo Trail as far as Agua Duce (heading to peak 4275). The Dolan Fire spared much of the lower trail but the upper trail burned hot. The trail was easily followed until the start of the 2017 re-route, then disappeared. I suspect many are taking the old route - but also found some ducks in a nearby gully showing some have used that alternative. I put flagging along the re-route, and at places above Carrizo Camp where I had a question (there is existing flagging, but now faded white so harder to see). The hot burn created many barren spots so the route no longer stands out as it used to, the question now being which barren spot is the trail.

Given a single choice I'm rating this as "Clear" (to Agua Dulce), but from the start of the re-route to Carrizo Camp is closer to "Passable" (with the flagging).

Many, many of the pines are now gone - even very tall pines did not escape the fire and are now dead.

Also of note is that patches of chaparral pea are growing all around - not now greatly hindering passage, but that will change in the next few years if no work is done. I stomped on all that lay in the trail - unsure how much good it did, but made me feel that I was doing something. [For those unfamiliar, chaparral pea is a very stiff plant with thorn-like spines that penetrate fabric, making hikers erode the edge of the trail in trying to avoid them. Also making removal difficult, since the spines inhibit reaching inside the plant envelope to get at its branches.]

There was evidence of both equine and bike usage on the lower Carrizo.

Re: Carrizo Trail

by Rob » Mon Jan 10, 2022 11:56 am

Date Hiked: January 8, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail from the bottom up to the Cook Spring connector. It was in surprisingly good condition. I could see at least a few other people had been on it since the rain and snow over the holidays. Some brushy spots near the bottom, and again on the steep part before Carrizo Spring camp (scrub oak growing in the middle of the trail).

The trail became indistinct in the flattish section just before Carrizo Spring, probably due to the winter rains and new growth. I wandered around, aided by cairns and a GPS track I took in 2017 and roughly followed the creek up to the camp, or what was left of it. From there I made my way across the creek, where branches and brush became a brief issue, but the aforementioned flagging helped here.

It was smooth sailing from there up to the first saddle, and I didn't see any of the downed trees noted below. The trail here was remarkably devoid of brush compared to 2017, though there were a couple of washed-out spots. Agua Dulce was flowing well. The trail became very eroded just before that point and was a bit difficult to follow, since the brush and thus the brush tunnel burned, but I guess if you follow the gullies it is doable. Once I got back on what I thought was the trail I noticed flagging tape lying on the ground; probably the snag it had been affixed to fell during the storms.

The last bit of trail from there to the second saddle had some narrow, sloping tread from there, and the brush did not burn, but was not too bad.

At the second saddle I could see there was still a good bit of snow on the shady north-facing aspects, some of which was quite hard. I was glad for the footsteps, as I hadn't brought traction devices. Probably this will all be melted over the next week or so. I counted about 7 or 8 largish trees down, some of which required climb-overs or other detours, and several places with overhanging branches requiring push-through.

Someone had left a large and expensive-looking Canon lens in a baggie on a burned log near the Cook Spring connector. My pack was already a bit cramped for space, otherwise I would have packed it out so it could be returned to its owner, sorry :(

I tried to take the Cook Spring connector, but the snow was shady and hard and the tread narrowed to the point where I was afraid of taking a nasty fall, so I bushwhacked up the ridge to the high point of the North Coast Ridge Road (a lot of brush had already burned so this wasn't as bad as it sounds) and headed down from there instead. Still snowy, but lower-angled and a bit softer.

Re: Carrizo Trail

by VWA_Ranger » Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: March 22, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has not reopened the Dolan Fire area, however VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers have been allowed access to survey burned areas. Today volunteer Rangers and Trailcrew members scouted the Carrizo Trail for the first time after the Dolan Fire. The trail was severely burned with a few unburned sections. They flagged several miles, making the trail easier to follow.

Trail conditions are as follows:

The Carrizo Trail remains closed to the general public at this time. Only authorized personnel with the approval of the USFS are allowed to access this trail corridor.

Carrizo Trailhead to Carrizo Spring Camp - Passable, with lots of burned sections. Carrizo Springs Camp with its large oaks survived the fire. Water was flowing well at Carrizo Spring.
Carrizo Spring Camp to Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector - Passable; there are 13 downed trees ranging from 6 to 24 inches across the trail along the last mile up to the saddle with a view of Cone Peak just past the junction with the Cook-Carrizo Connector Trail. The Connector Trail was mostly clear with 2 downed trees. The brush bowl was completely burned. We flagged extensively in this section not only for navigation now, but because brush will grow back quickly and the route will not be so easy to find. Note: there was water flowing at Agua Dulce but it was green and mucky. Even going up the drainage we did not find a good place to get water that looked clear. Looks like this may dry up quickly.

Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector Jct. to NCRT - Passable. Sign on NCRT marking the trail is intact.
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.

VWA/USFS Ranger at NCRT/Carrizo junction
VWA/USFS Ranger at NCRT/Carrizo junction

Re: Carrizo Trail

by Hydro-Logic » Tue May 26, 2020 12:36 am

Date Hiked: May 20, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The first 3 miles to the spring is great. Very little encroaching brush and perfect tread. The work that was done after the spring was still evident as was Leor's most recent "quick lop as he runs efforts" but it is getting bad again. There is about a mile that has some encroaching brush. Once you reach the part of the trail that goes north off the ridge and into the pines it gets better. A few blow down and some low hanging brush until the junction to Cook. we went right towards Cook and that was totally clear. The map shows this section as yellow but it's green. Cook is great. Lots of flat spots for a tent and the spring is running as usual. About a quart a minute.

We then backtracked and took the right turn on the Cook Spring Camp Trail to the NCRT and towards Cone. Lots of blow downs and some encroaching brush. The North Knife Ridge to Cone was great as always. No brush and easy to follow.

We came back down knife ridge and decided to take Carrizo back to camp. Good decision as the brush and blow downs are much less than NCRT.

Overall trail is great. A few people with some loppers could make it amazing in a day or so

Cone peak via Carrizo Trail

by AaronP » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:51 pm

Date Hiked: December 13, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Another trip up to Cone Peak via Carrizo. Just 3 or 4 days after a lengthy rainstorm, there were water sources at several places up to the summit. We camped out at trail springs and the white noise of the rushing waters there put me to sleep in just minutes. The trail from cone peak down to trail spring had one large tree blocking the trail that was slick to hop over but manageable. Over Saturday night/Sunday morning there was a bit of precipitation and the trail on the hike out was flocked with snow in some parts which was great sight to see.

Cone Peak Summit via Carrizo Trail

by AaronP » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:38 pm

Date Hiked: November 2, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Backpacked overnight to the summit of Cone Peak on the Carrizo Trail. The spring at Carrizo Camp was flowing enough to filter. Trail was mostly clear but there were maybe 4-5 small downed trees and some light bushwhacking involved closer to the junction towards the top. Ran into the VWA trail crew while they were working on the start of the Carrizo trail which was awesome.

Re: Carrizo Trail

by seagoat1724 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:33 pm

Date Hiked: March 15, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Carrizo Trail between the Milpitas Special Interest Area and Carrizo Spring Camp
Trail is wilderness freeway

Carrizo Trail between Carrizo Spring Camp and North Coast Ridge Trail
Trail is good and mostly clear. A few washed out sections, blow-downs and encroaching brush. Tons of snow at the top on North-Ease facing slopes of mountain, over 2-foot drifts in some places!

Re: Carrizo Trail

by SMoore » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:46 pm

Date Hiked: March 16, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report covers ONLY the section of trail from the trail head (at the steel bridge over San Antonio River) up to the first saddle, about 3 miles in. We did an out-and-back day hike. This part of the trail is delightfully clear of brush all the way to the saddle, except for a scattering of maybe half a dozen small chemise bushes encroaching on the trail before you reach Carrizo Spring camp and a short section above the camp where manzanita is encroaching on the trail. The few poison oak plants along the way are easily avoided, so (for now) this is a good trail for anyone concerned about PO. There are no trees, logs, landslides or other obstacles across the trail; however, the trail is deeply eroded gullies with loose rocks in many of the steeper sections. This part of the trail climbs through some interesting rock formations, traverses different plant communities, and provides good views across and down the San Antonio River valley. Our hike was in March on a sunny but cool day (temperatures in the 40's and 50's F) following several weeks of on-and-off rain, so we didn't get too hot in spite of the steady, exposed climb. We crossed or paralleled 4 nicely flowing streams where we could refill water along the way. For part of the hike, we could hear and eventually see a waterfall between us and the gray rocks of the Indians outcrop. (Fair warning: We lucked out; at other times, this trail can be extremely hot and dry without reliable water on the way up to camp. Check weather and plan water accordingly.) We turned around about 100 yards after the saddle. At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon, the trail became more overgrown, and it looked as though travel would become more difficult. Seemed like a good time to call it a day and head home.

Re: Carrizo Trail

by leelogan » Thu May 24, 2018 1:40 pm

Date Hiked: May 18, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked this in late May 2018.

We had some embarassing difficulty finding the trailhead. The approach is clearly and accurately shown on BigSurTrailmap. Cross the steel bridge to find the trailhead sign.

Trail conditions are largely the same as Leor described previously. First three miles to Carrizo Trail Camp are sustained and sun exposed hiking but trail is in good shape. Spring at the trail camp was flowing nicely, probably about 2-3 L/min. Once you reach the saddle 15 minutes up the hill from the camp the trail becomes crowded by overgrown brush, but still easily passable. Once we reached the following saddle, trail again widened and the brush was subdued. It was another mile or mile and a half to the next junction, which was marked by an unmissable vertical sign post (no sign), with all three trails flagged with ribbons (carrizo continues left, cook spring connector to the right on a faint trail).

Cook Spring Camp was nice, there are enough flat spots to probably inhabit 5-6 tents, luckily we were the first party and snagged the picnic table and fire ring. A surprising number of groups came by throughout the weekend (probably overflow from closures in the rest of the forest), including a trailworking group of 6-8 folks. Seeping spring name was accurate, as the flow was no more than a seep (1L/min). The connecting trail to N Coast Ridge begins on the obvious ramp adjacent to the picnic table and is in great shape. Lesson learned that the interactive map is more accurate than any other old map bases out there, which don't reflect the little connector trails in this area.