ALERT: Due to a January 26-28 storm, Highway 1 is closed from Big Creek Vista Point in the south to just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north. Long-term, there is a significant washout of the Highway 1 at Rat Creek (just north of Big Creek Reserve and just south of Esalen Institute). Expect this closure to be in place until summer 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge) is also significantly damaged and may not be open for quite some time.  

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest has re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In and around the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness camps in the backcountry can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) or via Tassajara Road deep in the Carmel Valley. 

The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp remains closed. 

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are also open.

Most secondary roads (including Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge roads) remain gated and closed. 

This map depicts the closure boundary. Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. When in place, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever with visitors concentrated in fewer places to go.  

State Parks 

The following are open for day use:  Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (go online or call to find out if the park's campgrounds are open)  

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park  

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (additional US Forest Service information for the Monterey Ranger District): Please note that the information above is oftentimes more up-to-date than the US Forest Service site. Call 831-385-5434 with questions. 


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Buckeye Trail

Buckeye Trail

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby driggsy on Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:49 am

Date Hiked: February 15, 2021
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

I ran this trail, and it was clear for 80% of the way. The second quarter coming from Cruikshank has some whippy plants, but other than that it was smooth sailing!
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:43 pm

Date Hiked: November 15, 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.


With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers and Ranger Trainees patrolled from Upper Cruickshank Camp to Villa Creek Camp. They cleaned Villa Creek Camp. Water is available at Villa Creek Camp.

Trail conditions are as follows:

Upper Cruickshank Camp to Villa Creek Camp. - Clear with no obstacles. Some off camber tread in spots. Villa Creek is crossable 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:
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby gregwin99 on Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:06 pm

Date Hiked: June 22, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Buckeye Camp back to Highway 1 Salmon Creek Station

Camped slightly past Buckeye overlooking the ocean. In the morning hiked back to buckeye camp to refill water at the spring there.

Trail was clear- some tall grasses so be wary of ticks. Water Flowing at Soda creek.

Great loop for a mellow three day backpack (Salmon creek Trailhead--Lion Den, Lion Den--Buckeye, Buckeye--Salmon Creek Trailhead)

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:35 pm

Date Hiked: March 4, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked this from Upper Cruikshank Camp to the Salmon Creek Guard Station.

Fine, clear trail all the way. It’s a little narrower north of Buckeye Camp, but from Buckeye to the Soda Springs Trail junction (and a bit beyond) one could make the case that this is Wilderness Freeway. The descent to the Guard Station is narrower, served as a water channel in a few spots during some of the winter rains, but is still in acceptable shape. Not much brush incursion on this last descent either. It looks like this segment got cleaned up a bit since the October 2019 report.

Buckeye Camp remains a nice place. The west camp is just a fire ring. The east camp still has the old table, now with a seat on only one side, plus a fire ring. It’s under a huge bay. The nearby spring is running well.

I enjoyed several California peonies, some in bloom, some building seed pods, on the south facing slope north of Buckeye and on one of the open slopes between Buckeye and the Soda Springs Trail junction. That latter segment had a nice display of poppies (E. caespitosa) on one of the open ridges too.

One additional note. I saw no ticks on this trail or any other on my Salmon Creek - Cruikshank - Buckeye Loop ... until I got home and found one on me. Since I check daily, that critter likely came from Cruikshank Camp or some stop on the Buckeye Trail. There may not be many this year, but they are out there.
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Jim Ringland
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:46 pm

Date Hiked: January 26, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Between Salmon Creek Station and JCT with Cruickshank Trial: Clear. Trail is in good shape with tread re-work holding up and minimal brush encroachment. There's some low encroaching poison oak between the Cruickshank Trail JCT and the first prominent ridge to the south. Water was flowing in all of the main streams, including Redwood Gulch, Buckeye Camp and Soda Spring Creek.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby jesbrank on Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:24 am

Date Hiked: December 1, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail was clear and fairly easy to follow. Campsites were wide open with almost no one out on the trail and campsite since it was rainy and windy this weekend. Streams were flowing quite well with plenty of water if needed.

Re: Buckeye Trail - Villa Creek Camp to Alder Camp

Postby gfelsman on Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:29 am

Date Hiked: October 26, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Thanks to the Ventana Wilderness Alliance, USFS, Volunteers and American Conservation Experience Crews (ACE) the Buckeye Trail between Villa Creek Camp and Alder Camp is now clear. These crews spent two weeks in hot and buggy weather brushing and rebuilding tread along this beautiful Trail.

Enjoy your adventure along this and other trails along the Big Sur Coast. Remember a few things to help keep things nice and not start a major wildfire.

1. Leave No Trace - Pack out all your trash, TP and any equipment you bring in.
2. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry
3. Stoves are permitted with a valid campfire permit
4. Be safe and err on the side of safety.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby rcmd8418 on Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:26 pm

Date Hiked: October 12, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked from the Cruikshank Trail junction to Buckeye and camped, then hiked out to the Salmon Creek station the next day. Trail was clear and pretty easy to follow, though we did get fooled by a short spur or two that went to a scenic vista. There was some encroaching poison oak that was generally avoidable if you are mindful. The spring was trickling but serviceable at Buckeye Camp.

The trail was narrow and very brushy at times between the Soda Springs Trail junction and Salmon Creek -- luckily it was just encroaching chaparral and not poison oak.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby meb379 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:00 pm

Date Hiked: September 15, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from intersection with Cruikshank to the ranger station at Highway 1. The trail was easy to follow, though poison oak was encroaching fairly badly--pants are strongly recommended. This trail had some of the best views in the area, with several short side trails leading to scenic vistas. Water is flowing well, clear, and cold at Buckeye spring near the campground. We saw several day hikers in the first section before Buckeye campground.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Nic Stover on Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:44 pm

Date Hiked: June 21, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

First of all. Thanks to those people that maintain these trails. After a suffer fest of epic proportions a few weeks prior on the completely unmaintained Black Cone trail and others in the area. This was great.

Trail was in excellent shape but I would still recommend long pants if you are sensitive to Poison Oak as it was still reaching over in a few places. No deadfall. Some minor creep from lower (but soft) brush in a few areas but no bushwhacking. Didn't see anyone else but I suspect that would not be the case on a weekend.

There was good water along the way. Easy to follow. Great views of the coast.
Nic Stover


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