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 mack on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:53 am

Date Hiked: February 13, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Soda Springs Trailhead to Villa Creek Camp via the Buckeye Trail. Tread was in mostly good shape with a few slightly sketchy spots along ridges, but nothing too difficult to pass, though I did take a few spills on slippery tread, one where I gashed my knee open pretty badly. Trail was very brushy in many sections with lots of encroachment, but the biggest issue on the Buckeye trail was the out-of-control poison oak. The evil little plant lined nearly every step of the Buckeye Trail to Villa Creek Camp, with the exception of a few of the more exposed ridges. It was encroaching and completely unavoidable in many spots, so if you're very sensitive to its oils, you may want to consider another trail. Dead horse skeleton still at Buckeye camp, but at this point its just bones, no apparent odor.

Lots of water this time of year! Crossed quite a few beautiful little creeks and Villa Creek was flowing loud & heavy, which was really beautiful to camp next to.

Hopefully something can be done to help tame the poison oak situation, as its a beautiful and pleasant hike otherwise.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby al Normandin on Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:02 am

Date Hiked: January 28, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Cruickhank to Alder Camp. The trail was brushy with ticks and unavoidable poison oak, but easily passable with no possibility of getting lost.
al Normandin

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Hillary on Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:20 am

Date Hiked: December 18, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Cruickshank to Alder Creek Campground. Some minor washout that is very easy to negotiate as well as quite a bit of encroachment the higher up and further away from Villa Creek you get. No significant storm damage. At the Villa Creek crossing there is a very conveniently downed tree that serves as a bridge across the very fast moving creek (would have been a sketchy crossing without it). Lots of ticks once you get to around 1800' elevation and beyond. The hardest part was trying not to kill any ladybugs underfoot. They are everywhere.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby sbrown570 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:49 pm

Date Hiked: September 1, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We started at the highway 1 entrance just north of Salmon Creek and headed to the Buckeye camp ground for a day hike.

There was a couple of new tree falls since we hiked the trail last March. As well as a couple of sketchy wash outs, but nothing that could not be navigated if you took your time and were careful. There was poison oak present but seemed to be fairly dried out with a lot of pretty red leaves. There were some areas where it looked like horse tracks had done some damage to the trail as well as 4 or 5 instances of horse manure.

Which brings me to the point of this post. The dead horse is still at the camp site. Although it looked like the horse had been completely hollowed out, and all that seemed to be left were the hide, hair and bones, there is still a distinct smell of rotting carcass if your under the oaks or if you're down wind.

Other than the smell, just the site of the large dead animal is creepy to say the least. Someone has put large melon size rocks around the horse evenly spaced out in what seemed like a ceremonious fashion. My hiking partner and I were looking forward to having lunch under the oaks, and the dead horse completely ruined the vibe. We headed back towards highway 1 and opted to stop and eat at one of the vistas.

I know the moderators have noted that the owner of the dead horse has been contacted and will retrieve the carcass when possible. Personally I would love to know the backstory on how the horse ended up dead at the campsite. When the owner was contacted did he/she provide any explanation?

As for the campsite being unusable because of the horse, I suppose for an overnight you would have to be ok sleeping near a dead horse. Personally I couldn't do that, especially with a change of wind direction bringing the smell of death into your tent. I don't mean to sound dramatic but for me the dead horse is a deal breaker.

The spring at the site is flowing well with water coming out of a hose driven in the hill.

Hopefully the owner of the dead horse stays true to the their word and removes the carcass so the site can return to it's former pristine and magical state.
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Buckeye Trail+"Buckshank Ridge" route to Silver Peak Usetrai

Postby jbl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:43 am

Date Hiked: August 16, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)


I went out today with the intention of taking Buckshank Ridge (the main ridge separating Villa Creek and Redwood Gulch drainages) up to the Silver Peak Usetrail. I've heard that there is a track up this ridge and if so, it would be a great alternative to the Soda Ridge Usetrail up the ridge just south of Buckeye Camp.

When on the Buckeye Trail headed from Cruikshank to Buckeye, you climb out of the forest onto a grassy open ridge, which is the Buckshank Ridge. The trail turns left here, follows the ridge briefly then drops down slightly onto the right side of the ridge and goes down to a gully crossing. Before that gully crossing, look for an opening on the left that gets you back onto the ridge.

I found that a track had been established that generally followed the ridge, with some diversions around peaklets or rocky formations; in a few places there were alternative tracks but all generally went uphill on or near the ridge. The brush is relatively light for maybe the first 2/3 of the climb and clear openings have been cut wherever the brush gets heavier. I had very clear sailing until about the last 1/3 mile, when things got ugly. I was on what I believe to be the established track because there was evidence of cut brush, but the brush was very heavy and it is possible that there was an alternative (although the few times when things opened up slightly, I explored left and right to see if there was any alternative and didn't find anything). I had to push through a ton of tall brush along here, still trending uphill and generally slightly on the right side of the ridge; when I got close to the top, I intersected a more prominent (but still overgrown) track going from right to left, and I followed it left as it contoured uphill, parallel to and and slightly below the Silver Peak Usetrail until they intersected. Although this was more prominent and definitely "the" track, there was heavy manzanita growth that I had to push through. What a relief to get onto the Silver Peak Usetrail!!!!
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Re: Buckeye Trail from Upper Cruikshank to Soda Springs Trai

Postby gfelsman on Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:15 pm

Date Hiked: August 9, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

11 of us continued along the Buckeye Trail to Buckeye Camp, then down to the Soda Springs Trail. We had great views along this trail

Trail Conditions are as follows;

Upper Cruikshank to the First Ridge. Passable to clear, the tread is in fair condition and the brush has been cleared to the ridge.

Buckeye Traverse to Buckeye Camp. Passable-, tread is in poor condition significantly. Mostly out-sloped after being rebuilt many years ago. Many sections are falling or have fallen away making travel difficult. As you reach redwood Gulch the trail gets better. A hiking stick(s) is definitely recommended on this section of trail.

Buckeye Camp to Soda Springs Trail, Passable. As you leave Buckeye Camp, the trail is in fair condition for the first 3/4 mile. But once you start your descent, the trail goes to poor condition. lots of slip outs, uneven tread and significant brush can be found along the trail. Some section below Soda Springs Creek have been worked to make it a bit better. This trail could use lots of work.

Water can be found at Buckeye Camp, and at Soda Springs Creek.

The Horse is still there at Buckeye Camp about 30 feet from the fire pit under the bay tree. It has popped open. Still has some significant smell if you are down wind.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Golden Family on Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:01 pm

Date Hiked: July 15, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Part 3 of our 3 day hike. On the 14th of July we hiked From Villa Creek up to Buckeye camp. This was tough... Another HOT day and we had Came down from Lions Den. Rested at Villa Creek and then Continued on to Buckeye camp. After resting and Hydrating and relaxing for an hour at Villa Creek we started in on another uphill grind for a what seemed like 2 miles. the trail had a lot of encroaching brush and poison oak but still in much better condition than upper Salmon Creek Trail. there also was a lot of little slides across trial nothing big or impassable. We had read a report that there was a dead horse in buckeye camp, But we decided we had to risk it because we did not want a 7.5 mile hike out on the last day so we pushed on to Buckeye. We came to a clearing and a nice open space that was a camp with a fire pit with rocks and a nice place to put a few tents but there was no camp sign. We went down trail a few hundred yards and Found Buckeye camp... and it was big and under an oak grove and there was a dead Horse and it stunk BAD!! I took picture but thought it not appropriate to post. it makes it so you cannot stay in this Camp. we doubled back to the camp before and were lucky it was there. we stayed there for the night. there was a couple toilet paper piles around the camp. I wish people could respect and appreciate the wilderness. but it wasnt that bad just a little annoying. We stayed the night there and had a good dinner. The next morning on the 15th we headed out towards Salmon creek Trailhead and the Abandon Ranger station on Buckeye trail. The coastal layer was in... this was an easy hike out... no sun beating on us and it was raining under the groves of trees from the moisture dripping off them. Trail was overgrown at times and had a lot of little slides along the trail but passable. :D

Moderator's note: the information that the camp is unusable because of the stinking carcass has been forwarded to the Forest Service. Also, in the opinion of this moderator, piles of toilet paper around a camp are not just a little annoying; they are totally unacceptable! The people who did that should be ashamed!
Last edited by C M Heard on Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Note that stench from dead horse has been reported to the Forest Service
Golden Family
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby jabell on Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:42 am

Date Hiked: July 12, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked Buckeye Trail from Upper Cruickshank Camp south to Salmon Creek Sta. Spring at Upper Cruickshank still has water. Buckeye Trail was in fair shape, several places that had slid away, but make able. Creek just north of Buckeye Camp was bone dry, spring in Buckeye Camp still trickling. There is a dead horse in the camp. Looked like it had been there awhile. Well dried out and didn't smell, but it doesn't make you want to hang out to long. Trail south to Salmon Crk Sta was about the same as to the north.

[Moderator's note: the Forest Service informs us that the owner of the horse has been located and has promised to remove the carcass from the camp when he is able to do so.]
Last edited by C M Heard on Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Add update about the status of the dead horse
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby scott113341 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:37 am

Date Hiked: June 19, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked on Buckeye trail southbound from the Upper Cruikshank Camp junction down to Salmon Creek.

Trail was clear for the most part, with some encroaching poison oak in some of the cooler/damper sections. We found water along the trail at:

    pipe at Buckeye Camp
    Salmon Creek
    horse trough just northwest of the Salmon Creek Ranger Station (very low flow, much better to just go to Salmon Creek)

All of the other small stream crossings were dry, including Redwood Gulch and Soda Spring Creek.

One other small thing to note: there is a "decoy" split in the trail just south of Upper Cruikshank Camp BEFORE Buckeye Trail splits off of Cruikshank Trail. The split is in a little clearing; take the path that continues left/straight, NOT the path that goes right.

Saw just one other person on this section of trail: a man camping at Buckeye Camp with his horses.
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Bill Waycott on Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:31 pm

Date Hiked: May 26, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My wife and I hiked from the Hwy 1 Cruikshank trailhead to Alder Camp via Upper Cruikshank Camp and back. As reported on March 16, 2014 the portion of Buckeye trail from Upper Cruikshank Camp to Alder Camp "is clear save for a few minor blowdowns and some loose/eroded tread. Poison oak is encroaching and difficult to avoid in spots, especially on the descent to the crossing of Alder Creek about 1/2 mile below Alder Camp."
Bill Waycott


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