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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated October 10, 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 6 PM on 9/21/2020, Highway 1 is fully open along the Big Sur coast. 

Most other roads in the region are closed.   

US Forest Service Managed Lands - Though 98% contained as of this date, the Dolan Fire continues to burn in the Ventana Wilderness and its trails and backcountry camps are closed. The Silver Peak Wilderness remains 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.    

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, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (go online or call to find out if their campgrounds are open) 

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park, Point Sur State Historic 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 - Cruikshank Trail

Cruikshank Trail

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:44 am

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.

Description:

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 Highway 1 to Upper Cruickshank Camp. They cleaned Lower and Upper Cruickshank Camp. They made sure there were no smoldering or recent fires at each camp. Water is still trickling at both camps.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Highway 1 to to top of Switchbacks. - Clear with no obstacles

Top of Switchbacks to Upper Cruickshank Camp - Clear with encroaching brush.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:03 pm

Date Hiked: October 26, 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.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Highway 1 to Upper Cruickshank Camp. They cleaned Lower and Upper Cruickshank Camps. Made sure there were no smoldering or recent fires at each camp. They removed a large oak that had fallen across the trail about a mile in and another small tree just before Upper Cruickshank Camp. Water is still trickling at both camps.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Highway 1 to top of Switchbacks - Clear with no obstacles

Switchbacks to Upper Cruickshank Camp - Clear with encroaching brush.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
Attachments
Sharol Tree 1.jpg
Tree across trail
sharol Tree 2.jpg
Tree across trail
Sharol Tree 3.jpg
Restored trail 1.25 miles in.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gregwin99 on Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:04 pm

Date Hiked: June 22, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Hiked from Lion Den Camp down to Villa Creek, to Buckeye Camp

Trail from Lion Den Camp to Villa Creek had a couple of treacherous parts due to landslides. Passable with some caution.

Clear Trail otherwise. Did not hit a water source until about a mile or 1.5 miles out. Ended up spending the day at the amazing pools by villa creek campground. Water was clear and cool!

Then went from Villa Creek to Buckeye Camp. Passed small water sources on the way. Spring at Buckeye camp was flowing. We hiked a bit farther past buckeye camp to a scenic campsite overlooking the ocean.
gregwin99
 

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Kris R on Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:11 am

Date Hiked: June 20, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked from Hwy 1 to Villa Creek Camp on 6/19. Trail was a bit over grown just past the sign for entering Silver Peak Wilderness. Certainly clear, but need to be a bit careful of encroaching poison oak.

Hiked from Villa Creek Camp/Upper Cruikshank up to the ridge and back on 6/20. Trail was clear and in good shape. Water was available at Silver Creek Camp (not a ton, but certainly enough coming from small creek and white pvc pipe) and Lion Den Camp (creek near camp). There is small landslide just past (above) Silver Creek Camp. Caused you to slow down and be careful, but not too sketchy.

Overall, great condition! Lots of people out!
Kris R
 

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:31 pm

Date Hiked: March 3, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from the South Coast Road down to the Lower Cruikshank Camp. Except for the slide area (read on), the trail is open. It is, however, a little too rocky in some spots (especially on a steep section just west of the junction with the Silver Peak use trail) and a little too narrow in others to warrant a Wilderness Freeway designation. Still no problem.

The slide area ¼ mile or so east of Silver Camp has four short (20 foot-ish) stretches that will slow the hiker down, but there’s nothing particularly difficult. The northern two of these have loose gravel above and below but good footing on the level, if narrow and gravelly, trail bed. The next involves some careful steps on exposed solid rock. There are good places to put your feet and I didn’t in any way feel unsafe, but you do have step in the right places. There’s not going to be wider, smoother trail in that spot until somebody brings in the dynamite. The final iffy stretch is probably the worst: a modestly angled trail bed across a gravel slide. It requires awareness, but I didn’t worry about the ground slipping out under my feet as I passed. The exposure is less here than on the earlier stretches too. The hillside slope isn’t quite as steep as at the others, and it is less far to bottom.

All the camps I passed were in good shape. Lion’s Den Camp has two areas, one up on a little rise with a partial view down the Salmon Creek drainage, a second closer to the trail, lower down, and more protected from wind. No tables. Fire rings and grills at both. The spring is flowing. Silver Camp is just an enclosed grill, a few logs, and a large flat area. The pipe spring is running. Upper Cruikshank Camp has a fire ring, grill, logs, a tree stump seat(!), and a new table. It’s just an opening in the trees. The water source is a small creek a few hundred feet below camp. It was running but not gushing. To avoid silt, I thought it best to put my water bottle in a spot where water was pouring over a little lip. Collecting a liter of water took maybe 10-15 seconds. Lower Cruikshank Camp is a dark, even gloomy, spot under redwoods with an old table, another tree-stump seat, but no obvious fire site. It has a very small stream for water. (While I didn’t go down, Villa Creek Camp is a half mile down the trail from Upper Cruikshank and, at least in 2017, was very nice.)

Not many flowers on this trail. I saw some Indian warrior about 5/8 mile below the Silver Peak Use trail junction. (There are several Santa Lucia firs in that general area too.) Some shooting stars a bit lower. No spring beauties (Claytonia exigua) which in past years were all over some of the rocky hillsides.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby svaller on Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:41 am

Date Hiked: February 9, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from the South Coast Ridge Road trail head down to the Buckeye Trail intersection and then out Buckeye to the overlook and back.

Cruikshank trail was in great shape. There was one section where the trail was cut into some loose material and for a few feet it required careful stepping. Nothing super sketchy or anything. Just had to be careful.

There were lots of streams flowing along the trail and water at Lions Den, Silver Camp and the Cruikshank camp just to the west of the Cruikshank and Buckeye trail intersection.

There was room for two hammocks at Lions Den. Didn't really see a good place for a hammock at Silver Camp. Probably could force it if needed. The Cruikshank camp just to the west of the Cruikshank and Buckeye trail intersection sign can handle two hammocks if you have longish straps.

This was a great hike and the effort everyone puts in to maintain the trail is awesome, thank you.
svaller
 

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:51 pm

Date Hiked: January 26, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Buckeye Trail JCT to South Coast Ridge Road: Clear. This trail is in great shape. Water is flowing in all primary streams, including at Silver Camp and Lion Den Camp. Use caution at the steep, loose slope just past Silver Camp and Silver Creek where tread is narrow. This part has always been a bit sketchy. Some tread re-work has helped but it's an unstable slope so gravel tends to accumulate on the narrow tread.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:03 am

Date Hiked: January 18, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Today USFS/VWA Volunteer Rangers patrolled the lower Cruickshank Trail after many storms. We are happy to say the trail remains clear and easy to navigate. There is one step over just before Upper Cruickshank Camp.

On this day, Villa Creek was not crossable. Many people we talked who went down decided not to cross.

A few things to remember;

1. It is a new year. Be sure to get a updated Camp Fire/Stove Permit.
2. Be prepared and do your part to help keep things nice.
3. Pack out everything you bring in including trash.
4. Have fun and be courteous to others.

Lastly, we found a point and shoot camera. It was left on 1-17-2020. If you think it may be yours contact us via this forum or contact the VWA. Hopefully can get it to the owner.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:35 pm

Date Hiked: November 9, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Today USFS/VWA Volunteer Rangers patrolled from Highway 1 to Upper Cruickshank Camp. We cleared the huge oak that had fallen across the trail just past Upper Cruickshank Camp. Water is present at both lower and upper camps. The trail itself is clear at this time.

Remember a few tips.
1. No Camp Fires at this time.
2. Have a valid Camp Fire/Stove Permit.
3. Pack out all your trash and whatever else you bring in.
4. Be safe and have fun.
Attachments
After 3.jpg
Trail leaving U. Cruickshank Camp towards Lion Den Camp.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Ericb on Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:22 pm

Date Hiked: October 26, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked hwy 1 to villa camp. Trail great shape. Minor low poison oak. Trail crew rehabbing trail to Alder creek (buckeye trail?), went halfway and was great.
Ericb
 

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