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 meg1784 on Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:23 pm

Date Hiked: February 27, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked buckeye trail to villa creek camp. Trail was pretty good at the beginning, gets a little narrow while approaching buckeye camp. The section from buckeye camp to cruickshank junction had some fallen trees/bushes and gets very steep and muddy in one section, but not dangerous and very doable. Trail is clear from cruickshank junction to villa creek. The stream was flowing in full force at villa creek but still passable.

Buckeye Trail

Postby jbl on Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:39 pm

Date Hiked: February 14, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I did an overnighter to Buckeye Camp on President's weekend, this report covers the section from the Soda Springs Trail junction to the Cruikshank Trail junction at Upper Cruikshank Camp.

SECTION: SODA SPRINGS TRAIL JUNCTION TO BUCKEYE CAMP: Clear to Passable. Tread is evident, brush is generally off the trail (there's lots of PO at thigh level and below but generally off the trail), there are no trees or branches down, what brings this section down to the "Passable" range is the substantial erosion on the steep sidehill (until the spot where you emerge onto the high open ridge about a mile from Buckeye Camp) which narrows the trail in places with a steep dropoff on the side (i.e. just as this section of trail has been for years). Water is flowing nicely at the 2nd creek crossing:


BUCKEYE CAMP REPORT: The old hose that has been at the water source for many years is gone, someone has put a flimsier hose there, water is flowing steadily. Someone has constructed a giant rock ring (I hope to god that they didn't use it for a fire!) near the main site under the giant bay tree, people shouldn't do things like this. The meadow is very green and beautiful. Off across the meadow we came across the bones of the horse which had died at Buckeye Camp a year or 2 ago and which had originally been left near the main campsite before finally being dragged off:

Dead Horse Bones

SECTION: BUCKEYE CAMP TO THE CRUIKSHANK TRAIL JUNCTION AND CRUIKSHANK CAMP: The VWA-organized ACE trail crew (with Mike Heard as overseer) has been working the Buckeye Trail out of Cruikshank Camp for a while and as of last weekend they were within 1/4 mile of so of the Redwood Gulch crossing just below Buckeye Camp, they were going to work through yesterday or today so I'll assume that they got pretty close to the Redwood Gulch crossing.

Mike Heard Working Solo to Remove a Nasty PO Thicket

Trail Crew working just above Redwood Gulch crossing

The section of trail that they've worked on so far (which is about 90% of the trail between Cruikshank and Buckeye camps) is CLEAR to WILDERNESS HIGHWAY, anyone whose memory (like mine) is filled with recollections of the horrific, narrow, slid away, overgrown route that's been there for many years owes it to themselves to hike this section, they will be blown away by how much it has been improved. Here's a picture of the section of trail between Buckshank Ridge and Redwood Gulch taken from near Buckeye Camp which shows how nice the trail now is (you could barely see it before from this spot, and what you did see meandered up and down due to the slide-prone nature of the hillside where it is located):

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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby toejam on Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:07 am

Date Hiked: January 30, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Ran into Mike Heard and a trail crew making significant improvements to the trail between Buckeye Meadow & Upper Cruikshank yesterday. Bushes removed from the tread and switchbacks cleaned up between Buckeye & saddle. Tread widened in the knee-high PO section on the hillside above Cruikshank.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Al Normandin on Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:57 am

Date Hiked: December 20, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the Buckeye trail from the Forest Service building on Highway 1 to Upper Cruikshank campground. The trail is 6 or 7 miles depending on which trail sign you read. The trail was easy to follow at all times, except leaving Buckeye camp where you must take a sharp left turn leaving the camp rather than the wider trail that goes straight and ends in a few minutes. The water pipe at the camp had a good water flow from the spring. The trail was good most of the time but there are some brushy areas to Buckeye camp. There were a couple of dangerous areas in steep hillsides where the trail cut was severely eroded. The trail is much worse from Buckeye camp to the Cruickshank trail with even more dangerous hill side trail cuts that have eroded away and many more brushy areas. There is a lot of poison oak, but it is mostly avoidable if you are careful. The small stream at Upper Cruickshank did have an anemic flow of water, but it may be a temporary runoff from the previous day's rain and might not be a continuous flow of groundwater. Like most trails that are not wide open in Big Sur, the grasses and low plants right on the trail provide an excellent launching pad for ticks in the spring. Since it was mid-December with cold temperatures, I only saw one tick.
Al Normandin

Re: Buckeye Trail from Upper Cruikshank to Villa Creek Camp

Postby gfelsman on Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:00 pm

Date Hiked: September 28, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My wife and I hiked this trail today, and it is in great shape from Upper Cruikshank to Villa Creek Camp. Unfotunately, the pond for soaking one's feet is the lowest I have ever seen. In 2011 one could take a nice dip. Today, you can barely soak a pair of feet or to. The VWA Trail Crew under the guidance of Mike Heard did a great job. Can't wait to see and help with additional work when it happens.
Villa Creek Camp Pool No More..jpg
Villa Creek Camp 2015.jpg
Reworked Trail to Villa Creek Camp.jpg
Reworked Trail to Villa Creek Camp 1.jpg
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Buckeye to Upper Cruickshank out to HWY 1

Postby teedub on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:59 am

Date Hiked: August 7, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Buckeye Camp to Upper Cruikshank was a nice change in that the elevation gain was less and the trail was clearer of poison oak than the trial from Salmon Creek to Buckeye. The spring in the campground at Upper Cruikshank was flowing nicely, and filtering water was no problem. I walked down to Villa Creek just to check it out and the creek plenty of water in it - very beautiful.

On our way out, the spring at lower Cruikshank also was flowing and the trail was the best maintained leg of the trip; clear, free of poison oak.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby teedub on Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:54 am

Date Hiked: August 6, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We backpacked in from The Salmon Creek Ranger Station on Thursday Aug 6 , 2015. There was A LOT of poison oak that in places was impossible to avoid. Trail was well marked and easy to follow. Buckeye Campground was in decent shape, but there was some garbage left by previous campers - I was able to pack some out but not well prepared to do a major clean up. The spring at Buckeye was running nicely and filtering water was no problem.
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Buckeye Trail

Postby jbl on Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:52 am

Date Hiked: July 5, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)


On our July 5 hike to Silver Peak my group of 8 went via the Buckeye Trail to Buckshank Ridge and then went straight up Buckshank Ridge to the Silver Peak Use Trail.

This section of the Buckeye Trail is clear, the tread is in relatively good shape (I know from prior experience that it quickly deteriorates once you cross Buckshank Ridge and do the contour through Redwood Gulch) and poison oak (and other spreading brush) is encroaching on the trail in the forested section on the climb up to Buckshank Ridge. Can't wait to see how this trail will look after the Sean Parker Settlement trailwork is done!

PS--the Buckshank Ridge route up to the Silver Peak Usetrail (which it hits about 1/4 mile SW of Silver Peak) is quite steep in places and very overgrown in its final 1/3, not recommended unless you have confidence in your routefinding skills and are willing to push through lots of brush.
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Buckeye Trail Upper Cruickshank to Alder Creek

Postby mbrown on Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:35 pm

Date Hiked: March 31, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Boy Scout Troop 26 of Santa Barbara hiked the trail from Cruickshank to Alder Creek Campground. Enjoyed meeting Mike Heard and a number of volunteers working the section between Upper Cruickshank: it is clear and well-maintained from the Cruickshank Trailhead to Villa Creek Camp (though Upper Cruickshank Camp was heavy with poison oak – we camped there any way and loved the easy access to water from a Spring about 100 ft. up the Buckeye to Villa Creek). Like earlier reports, the trail from Villa Creek Camp to Alder Creek (we didn’t go to Alder Creek Camp) was barely discernible in spots (faint tread) with brush encroachment and dead branches lying across the trail in a few spots (no fallen trees though). There was LOTS of poison oak, high (head level) and low – and unavoidable through out. The trail offers beautiful views throughout, including Pacific Ocean views above Villa Creek Camp. The Scouts loved Alder Creek and the pools and the Mugwort – to preventatively address exposure to poison oak.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:47 pm

Date Hiked: February 18, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Soda Springs Trail Junction to Buckeye Camp

The previous report pretty much sums it up. Narrow trail with deteriorating tread, minor brush encroachment, and a lot of poison oak. The poison oak does not attain the world class proportions it does on the infamous Big Pines and Turner Creek Trails, though. You only have to brush through it a little, not swim in it. The only change from the previous report is that the famous dead horse, which had been making formerly popular Buckeye Camp repellent to all classes and conditions of backcountry travelers for most of a year, has been removed from the vicinity of the camp (dragged up the trail a bit and tossed into the woods). Not much left but bones anyway. The main camp, after many months of little to no use, is now in great condition and pleasing to both eyes and noses. There are even some really stupendous shooting star blooms in progress near the camp (not to mention paintbrush, silver lupine, fiesta flower, blue dicks, tufted poppies, morning glories, clematis, and much more in bloom along the trail). Only saw one tick.
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