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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated December 7, 2020

Despite the closure of public lands, many Big Sur businesses (including private campgrounds) are open for business. Call the business you wish to visit ahead of travel for hours of operation. 

As of 12/07/2020, Highway 1 is open along the Big Sur coast. 

Most other roads in the region are closed.   

US Forest Service Managed Lands - The US Forest Service continues to maintain a closure of the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas. Trails and backcountry camps are closed. Effectively, the entire Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest is closed.  Click here for the Forest Closure Order dated 10/09/2020.  This link includes a Forest Closure Map.  Call the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest for more information: 831-385-5434.  

Fines for entering closed areas can be up to $10,000.  

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 Hisoric 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 ammodramus on Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:51 pm

Date Hiked: March 16, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the Buckeye Trail as part of the Buckeye-Salmon-Creek-Cruickshank loop this weekend. Buckeye Trail was almost entirely clear, just a few easily navigable deadfalls. Water was abundant after the recent rains.
ammodramus
 

Re: Buckeye Trail - Cruickshank to Alder Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:28 am

Date Hiked: December 8, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From a friend of mine:

Carlos, Jerry and I had a great hike to Alder camp yesterday. As you know, the weather was perfect, the vegetation not dripping wet, and the trails not mushy after the last rain storm. We did a lot of brush trimming as we went and cut a few low hanging limbs that had fallen over the trail. The tread was mostly in good shape, but some areas could use work, and the brush was thickly growing into the trail where we got closer to Alder Creek. Both Villa and Alder Creeks were flowing well and could easily be crossed.
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Re: Buckeye Trail - Villa Creek to Alder Creek

Postby Inga on Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:28 am

Date Hiked: September 9, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Very brushy and overgrown. Lots of poison oak. Parts of the trail have collapsed. Difficult to see trail (with multiple branching trails) at times but still passable. Stay alert.
Inga
 

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby leahforeman on Fri May 11, 2018 10:52 am

Date Hiked: April 30, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

no difficulties other than some dead trees. wild flowers were out and the only wildlife we saw was a small cute newt. :) great time for this hike!
leahforeman
 

Re: Buckeye Trail North Villa Creek to Alder Creek CG

Postby mmaki on Sat May 05, 2018 9:50 pm

Date Hiked: April 29, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Amazing how quickly this trail deteriorates once leaving Villa Creek heading north to Alder Creek CG. Very brushy and moderate poison oak. Difficult to find and follow at times, but with patience it is followable and passable. Condor Trail section hike.
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Re: Buckeye Trail North to Villa Creek

Postby mmaki on Sat May 05, 2018 9:47 pm

Date Hiked: April 29, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail easy to follow and clear from Salmon Creek Trailhead to Villa Creek. After Villa Creek a different story and seperate post. All creeks and water sources flowing. Condor Trail section hike.
Last edited by mmaki on Sat May 05, 2018 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:26 pm

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

Section: Cruikshank Junction to the ridge south of Buckeye Camp.

I did this as part of a long dayhike without a full pack.

This segment is in fine shape, really on the line between clear and wilderness freeway: very different from the Alder Creek to Crickshank segment I reported on in a different post. I’ve opted to call this "clear" because there’s just enough poison oak waiting along the margins and sometimes leaning a bit in to slow the hiker down from freeway speeds. Nonetheless, poison oak contact is totally avoidable with just a little attention. Nice woodland plants climbing out the Villa Creek drainage: lots of iris plus violets, mission bells, and others. California peonies (Paeonia californica) on the sunny decent into the headwaters of Redwood Gulch were beyond flowering but were growing fruit. This is the north end of their range. I really associate them with points farther south. (I also saw these on the sunny south-facing descent into the Villa Creek canyon from Alder Camp too, but without either flowers or fruit.) No trail slumping here.

Both sites at Buckeye Camp were clean and nice. The east side one, under a huge bay, has a table and a nearby pipe spring, but the one on the west side of the meadow is fully recommendable too.

From Buckeye Camp, I climbed to the ridge south to where Jack Glendening’s map (http://bigsurtrailmap.net/) shows the Soda Wildtrail taking off, although there's no trail junction to find. The Wildtrail at this point is just that, a route through the grass. You can see the Mud Creek slide from up here.

(I next took the Soda Wildtrail and the Silver Peak Use Trail up to Silver Peak. Reports on use trails are beyond the scope of this forum. Suffice to say, I made it. There were some brushy sections.)
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:13 pm

Date Hiked: April 17, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Alder Camp to Cruikshank Trail Junction

I hiked down from Alder Camp to the Villa Creek Camp on the 17th. I hiked back up on the 19th.

Alder Camp itself is a nice spot, under large trees, including a few big bays, sycamores, and Ponderosa pines (not Coulter) as well as the eponymous alders. There are some Douglas firs in the area although none that I saw right by camp. It’s next to Alder Creek and has three sites and three tables.

Heading south from Alder Camp, the first mile or so is under trees, dipping down to Alder Creek at an easy crossing and up the east bank. There were few huge red-flowering currants (Ribes sangiuneum) in bloom by the creek. This section has a few step-overs and more than few places where it gets lightly brushy, although there’s nothing that really requires a hard push though. Still, on the 19th, after a modest overnight rain shower, I got rather wet from sliding past all the wet branches. Thin branches of poison oak reach into the trail, sometimes densely. Contact is unavoidable, but for the most part it’s a matter of brushing against it, not clawing through it.

The middle mile or so (really a bit less) is on a grassy ridge with scattered shrubby or wooded sections. Southbound was easy going. Northbound on the 19th, I got off the trail a few times, either by missing a turn or not being sure where to go on short brushy sections. It was quickly obvious I was off trail, so while there was some disorientation, the lost time wasn’t large. There’s some poison oak up here too, but not as much as in the first section. Stupendous views.

Next comes a long descent on a mostly open south-facing slope down to Villa Creek. Small shrubs (deerweed, black sage, some PO, and others) lean into the trail. There’s lots of slumped trail bed. There are a few detours around larger shrubs. Here too I made a few wrong turns on the way back on the 19th and had one head-scratcher on the way down on the 17th. I enjoyed the few patches of California four-o-clock's (Mirabilis laevis) in this section. The flowers were just beginning to open up at 4:30 when I passed on the 17th -- they must not observe on daylight savings time -- but were fully out when I passed on the morning of the 19th.

Villa Creek Camp, off a short spur maybe 500 yards north of the Villa Creek crossing, is a pretty spot under redwoods with a table. There’s room for more than one party: there were two of us on the 17th. The junction is signed.

The trail from Villa Creek Camp down to the creek crossing (easy on rocks) and then back up to the Cruikshank junction is clear. This stretch seems to have been worked recently. Many dying tanoaks; it’s rather disheartening.

Upper Cruikshank Camp is in a clearing a bit short of the junction. It has a grill and some wood “furniture” but no table. While a comfortable enough camp, I think Villa Creek had a prettier setting.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby acturk on Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:40 pm

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

Hiked the Buckeye trail from the Salmon Creek Ranger station to Villa Creek Camp and back. Trail was clear and well-defined, no major obstacles. There was a trickle of water in the creek next to Buckeye camp. Not much, but enough to filter if you are staying there. Villa Creek had a LOT of water; we camped slightly downstream of the actual campsite, since another group was already there. It was a great trip!
acturk
 

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:35 pm

Date Hiked: January 13, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

13 of us hiked the Buckeye Trail to Buckeye Camp and back. It was a beautiful day with the trail getting lots of use by hikers and backpackers on this Holiday Weekend.

I would like to thank the Ventana Wilderness Alliance for coordinating the ACE Crews to restore and clear this trail. The trail is in great shape and worth the hike. The goal now is to find a way to continue maintaining this trail well into the future. The trail maybe in great shape now, but trails do not maintain themselves.

Trail Conditions are as follows:

    * Salmon Creek Station first climb to the saddle, Clear with some encroaching brush. Found Star Lillies and Blue Dicks along this section.
    * From the Saddle to the Soda Springs Junction, Clear.
    * Soda Springs Junction to Buckeye Camp, Clear.
    * Water is flowing at Buckeye Camp.
The tread survived the first two storms of the season very well.

Remember we are still in level III Fire Restrictions until further notice. Only camp stoves are allowed for use in the backcountry with a valid fire permit.
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