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 kz464 on Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:24 pm

Date Hiked: December 2, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We hiked from the old Salmon Creek Ranger Station via the Buckeye Trail to Villa Creek camp. Trail was clear and easily passable. We went by a VWA crew with AmeriCorps volunteers maintaining the trail and clearing brush, so any encroaching brush was being taken care of by that group (thank you)!!! No other issues along the trail. Very beautiful, we had great weather. We camped at Villa Creek and enjoyed the solitude. Lots of ticks this season, so be wary.

Buckeye Trail

Postby jbl on Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:51 am

Date Hiked: December 2, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section Hiked: Salmon Creek Ranger Station to Buckeye Camp

[In the 13 years since I first hiked this trail I never imagined it in such awesome condition]

The only problem along this entire section are the deep hoofprints from the stock that's been assisting the trailworkers.

All of the fallen-away sections and slid-away sections (of which there have historically been MANY) are repaired and the tread is wide and without the severe undulations that were the bane of backpackers and dayhikers alike.

Thanks much to Mike Heard and the VWA and the ACE crews who've done such a fantastic job of restoring this beautiful trail.
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Buckeye Trail from Alder Creek Camp

Postby jhlee912 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:55 pm

Date Hiked: November 24, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Due to the closure on the 1 preventing car access to the Cruikshank trailhead and the rest, I drove up Willow Creek Road to Alder Creek Road to Alder Creek Camp to start my journey. I hiked down the Buckeye trail from Alder Creek Camp to Villa Creek Campground to Buckeye Campground and then hiked back. I'll report the road and trail conditions in segments:

Willow Creek Road to Alder Creek Road: No recent rains so completely dry and relatively even. Steep with occasional rocks that would scrape the underside of my car. Very scenic as well.

Alder Creek Road: A little worse than Willow Creek Road. More rock obstacles. Still, I was able to navigate both roads fine in my Honda Civic so I wouldn't say they're prohibitively back country in dry conditions.

Buckeye trail from Alder Creek Campground to Villa Creek Campground: I was told that this trail hasn't been maintained in quite a while and it does show. There's brush overgrowth for most of the way. The trail has lost its tread in parts and I lost the trail on numerous occasions due to faint tread and overgrowth. There are some minor trail wash outs as well along the ridge. The final decline into Villa Creek is where the trail is most degraded. The only major stream crossing is at Villa Creek but it was trivial when I did it. There's also a fallen redwood at the crossing if you prefer natural bridges. Despite these challenges I found this section of the trail to be very rewarding. Alder Creek is very lush and the views from the ridge are classic Big Sur. Villa Creek Campground with its redwood grove and babbling creek is very serene.

Buckeye trail from Villa Creek Campground to Buckeye Campground: Very well maintained, clear tread throughout. I met a friendly forest dept volunteer doing trail maintenance on this section. He was mentioned that they were trying to fill in holes left by horses, but I didn't find them to be much of a hazard.

Re: Buckeye Trail from Salmon Creek to Buckeye Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:01 pm

Date Hiked: September 23, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I had a chance to hike the Buckeye Trail from the Salmon Creek Station to Buckeye Camp and back. I started early to stay cool. This trail has great views of the Big Sur Coast and is well worth the trip. Up and back is 7 miles with 2300 foot elevation gain and loss.

Trail conditions are as follows.

1. Leaving the Salmon Creek Station the trail is clear and steep for the first half mile. Very little encroaching brush on this section
2. Traversing the slope to the Soda Springs/Buckeye Junction, the trail is clear and well maintained.
3. Heading to Soda Springs Creek, the fir 1/3 is clear as it was recently brushed. The rest of the way the tread is in fair condition with a few slippery sections.
4. Leaving Soda Springs Creek, the trail narrows and become much more uneven. One really needs to watch there footing heading up the trail.
5. Breaking out into the grasslands, the tread is still narrow and uneven.
6. Once you round the first ridge crossing the valley before descending to Buckeye Camp, the tread is a bit better and a little wider.

Luckily the encroaching brush as trees are minimal making it easy to see the tread to place ones feet. There are four trees across the trail. Two before Soda Springs Creek, one most of the way to Buckeye Camp. The last is right at Buckeye Camp. All are easily negotiable with out much effort.

Buckeye Camp was clean and clear, the water was flowing nicely at the nearby spring.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby mmellea on Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:38 pm

Date Hiked: August 5, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from intersection of Cruikshank Trail to HWY 1 (near the Salmon Creek Guard Station).

The first couple miles (almost to Buckeye Camp) have some poison oak and are mostly through forest/scrubland. Buckeye Camp has a small stream of quickly flowing water and so is suitable for a refill.

Past Buckeye, poison oak begins to thin out and you start to get those views of the Pacific ocean. Be sure to take some of the usetrails that detour to a vantage point--you'll find the best panoramas there.

The last mile of the trail (after leaving Silver Peak wilderness) was nice in the morning, with a cool ocean mist descending toward the highway.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby at_scott on Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:48 am

Date Hiked: June 3, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from the intersection of the Cruikshank Trail to Buckeye Camp where I spent the night. The trail has sections where tall grass is growing in it but was otherwise easy to follow.

Water is seeping in the trough at camp but nothing was coming out of the pipe. I got my water from the creek about 2/10s of a mile north of camp.

Buckeye Camp was very nice. The meadow is full of 4-5 foot tall grass but was really very nice. Owls were hooting most of the night. We didn't see anybody else all weekend.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Jeff Cannon on Sat May 06, 2017 6:35 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Today was an epic day! Started at Ragged Point and made it to the top of Silver Peak by way of Dutra Flat, the Ridge Road and Lions Den camp. The use trail from North of Lions Den alternates between Passable and Difficult all the way over Silver Peak and down to where it intersects the Buckeye Trail about 1/2 mile south of Buckeye Camp. From the peak register, it appears virtually no one has been in this area since PCH closed in the winter storms. I was the first to sign the peak register since December! From Buckeye Camp to Salmon Creek, the trail is very difficult to follow whenever it is out from under the trees. There was surprisingly little dead fall, maybe three trees in all, but the grasses are so thick the trail is rarely visible in the open areas. It gets a bit dicey in spots where the tread is eroded, and still not visible. At one spot I had to search for a good twenty minutes to find it. Had I not hiked this route a number of times, I doubt I could have stayed on it at all. The last slope down to the old ranger station at Salmon Creek is really bad with tons of thistle, po, and all manner of other grasses obscuring a rutted and rocky track. I walked PCH back to Ragged Point, having had enough fun for one day!
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby westwardian on Sun May 22, 2016 8:59 pm

Date Hiked: May 21, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

My wife and I along with one other couple planned a single night trip along the Buckeye Trail with no real plans for exactly where we would want to camp that night. We started off at the trailhead at Salmon Creek Station on a wide, well-groomed trail. We helped a day hiker who had taken a 40+ foot fall into a dry creek bed at the first gulch after slipping on steep, loose rocks. Other than the many cuts and possible fractured ribs he seemed OK. We helped him out of the dry creek and back down to his car where he was able to drive to the hospital near his house in SLO.

After we got the hiker to safety we were able to continue our trip along Buckeye. There are many places with loose soil and overgrown plants once you get past the Soda Springs Creek, which was flowing well. One thing we ignored from previous posters was the amount of poison oak along the trail, at some places it seems impossible to avoid, but we definitely got covered while helping the injured hiker.

Buckeye Camp was clean and we didn't see any trash or human waste around the site. As the previous poster noted, the picnic table has seen much better days. As a 210+ man I was afraid that I may finish it off every time I sat down. There was hair and a rock ring from the dead horse that other posters stated before, but no noticeable smells. I too am curious about how it died up there. The spring looked fine to me although there was a hose sitting next to it that looked like it had broken off of the concrete box. We went to the restroom far away and packed out all of our trash, hopefully leaving the site as nice as possible.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby billomansiek on Sun May 22, 2016 4:52 pm

Date Hiked: May 15, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Buckeye Trail was in pretty good condition coming out of Salmon Creek Station all the way to Buckeye Camp. There has been a lot of work done on this trail since I used it last seven years ago. CHEERS to those who have done trailwork recently there!!!! Buckeye camp is in good shape. There is plenty of water flowing now, but the old catch basin is in need of work and a better system was there 7 years ago for getting water. The picnic table has seen better days. It is wobbly, but adequate for use.

The Buckeye Trail from Buckeye Camp to the Cruikshank Trail is also in good condition and easy to follow. Make sure that when leaving the Buckeye camp where the picnic table is, that you head toward the left through the small meadow to pick up the trail on the other end. If you cut straight across the meadow, you will pick up a trail that is not what you are looking for...

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby gfelsman on Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:05 pm

Date Hiked: April 25, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Darlene and I hiked the Buckeye Trail from Upper Cruikshank Camp to the ridge overlooking the Pacific and Buckeye Camp itself.

The trail was in great shape all the way to the saddle. We removed one medium sized lid that had fallen into the trail. Views from the ridge was fantastic. We could see our car 2000 feet below. Many flowers were along this route. There is some encroaching poison oak, but is easily avoided.

We thank Mike, ACE Crews and the VWA for restoring this trail to Buckeye Camp and the lower portion of the Cruikshank Trail this year. It makes for nice pleasant hiking.
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