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Buckeye Trail

Re: Buckeye Trail/Cruickshank/Salmon Creek Loop

Postby KChris on Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:26 pm

Date Hiked: December 30, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Ran the loop yesterday, beautiful and water everywhere! Buckeye to Cruickshank clear w occ brush, Cruickshank to S Coast Ridge Rd, great condition, coming down Salmon Creek to Estrella camp clear.

Water was too high to cross the creek dry but ok with poles. Trail from Estrella to Spruce camp was rough. Multiple downed trees (one had to scramble ~20 yards above the tree fall and slide down other side) plus section that previously burned there was a saturated slide area but was able to cross.

Water to high to cross dry but again was ok with poles to navigate swift water.

All in all it was spectacular and saw no one else.
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Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:47 am

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Swat on Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:39 pm

Date Hiked: October 9, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked the Buckeye, Cruikshank, Salmon Creek loop and, though very dry, the trail was in good shape with modest amounts of poison oak. There was water at Buckeye, Lion Den, and all camps along Salmon Creek, which was running well.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby echightower on Sat May 15, 2021 1:20 pm

Date Hiked: May 3, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The conditions are between clear and passable. There is a lot of encroaching poison oak on the section of Buckeye Trail between where Buckeye intersects Cruikshank Trail and the first ridge with an ocean view when headed south on Buckeye. It required attention to duck and dodge some of it.

There are also a few areas with emerging false tread issues that are slowly making the trail meander downhill.

The Silver Peak loop (Salmon Creek, Cruikshank, Buckeye) was a nice walk anyway. Water every few miles makes it an easy 16 mile day hike.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby driggsy on Sun May 09, 2021 7:32 pm

Date Hiked: May 9, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I did a trail run on this trail, and it was clear enough to be runnable for the vast majority of it. A couple sections got brushy but never too bad.
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:22 am

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Yanni G on Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:21 am

Date Hiked: March 12, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Encroaching Brush on the ridge after buckeye camp. 4 streams running from salmon creek station to silver camp. Great trail, hard work.
Yanni G

cruickshank salmon buckeye Loop

Postby Vanessa on Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:39 pm

Date Hiked: February 27, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked the cruickshank salmon buckeye loop clockwise starting at buckeye trail. We love it! SO beautiful, clear skies, PERFECT weather. Highs of 65, lows of 39 at Buckeye and Lions Den. NO BUGS, it was incredible. We used the Gaia app as navigation which was easy to use, no major inconsistencies, or issues getting lost. Also had the National Geographic Map in hand. The trail was mostly clear with some brush, and deadfalls. Poison oak was everywhere, definitely unavoidable that it will be touching your shoes, and bottom half of pants. There were some spots (between Buckeye camp and Cruikshank camp) that the PO was very overgrown and you just had to accept it, hold your hands above your head, and let it brush up against your chest and pants. We took a lot of precautions to avoid getting it on our skin. Carefully switching out of trail clothes at end of day, hanging them in a bag on a tree, washing hands with Tecnu, and changing into sleep clothes. Too early to tell if we were successful in avoiding rash..

The trail was difficult but definitely doable. My little sister did this trail for her first backpacking trip ever and has no issue. The only pretty sketchy area was after Silver peak camp. There was a small lip in a cliff covered in loose pebbles that you had to pass over. Sheer drop off if you miss your footing without any tree/brush to catch your fall. I was terrified. I rarely lose my cool backpacking. My husband had to guide my every move to get me across. Somehow my little sister popped over it like it was no big deal. I wouldn't have chosen against this trail because of it, but that part was not enjoyable for me. After that the trail is thin with sheer cliffs on your left for a while, but nothing crazy.

We were thinking about bringing the dogs but decided against it because of the PO. VERY happy with that choice, also that one cliff part may have caused me to turn back if I had them in tow.

We didn't go longer than about 2 miles without seeing creeks, springs, or falls with plenty of water. This would of course be much different at other times of the year. We slept at Lions Den the second night, and there is a small creek up there we were able to fill up at. Also plenty of water at Buckeye camp, silver peak camp, and Estrella. Didn't stop of Cruikshank but I think there is water there too.

We did this starting Thursday afternoon and finished Sunday morning. We didn't see a single person until Saturday morning at Estrella Camp and then plenty of people beyond that the rest of the way down.

Highly recommend this hike.

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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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:22 am

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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Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby cwuflestad on Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:48 pm

Date Hiked: August 15, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Final leg of Salmon Creek -> Lion's Den -> Buckeye -> Salmon Creek Station

A lot more poison oak on Buckeye Trail. More people too, given it was a Saturday.
Incredible views on the way down so make time to soak them in. We had originally planned to camp at Buckeye but we made it there by noon and decided to head back to our car and enjoy some time at the Falls.
Amazing hike and many different biomes. Highly recommend if you're up for the hike.

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)


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