Highway One Closure: Due to a washout at Rat Creek, Highway 1 is closed from just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north to Big Creek Vista Point in the south. Expect this closure to be in place until late April, 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road -- which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge -- is significantly damaged and will be closed indefinitely. 

What's Open: NEW: The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp IS OPEN effective April 13, 2021. 

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness trails inland can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) and from Tassajara Road off or Carmel Valley Road). Along the coast, Wilderness trails may be accessed via the Pine Ridge Trail at Big Sur Station, the North Coast Ridge Road, the Boronda Trail, and the De Angulo Trail on Highway One.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are open. 

What's Closed: Click here for a map that shows the current fire closure boundaries

Road Closures: Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Cone Peak, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge Roads remain closed.

Know Before You Go: Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever. 

Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and stoves are currently permitted in the backcountry. Click here for a permit and take it with you

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 
Open for day use: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Cruikshank Trail

Cruikshank Trail

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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Jim Ringland
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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.

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.
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.

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby rcmd8418 on Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:13 pm

Date Hiked: October 12, 2019
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Hiked from Ridge Road to the Buckeye Trail junction. Most of the section above Silver Camp has been recently maintained and widened (you could almost walk side-by-side). Starting ~0.5mi before we reached Silver, the trail condition degraded to clear/passable with some challenging scree sections. Overall, trail was clear and easy to follow. Some poison oak on the sides of the trail, but generally easily avoidable.

Water was stagnant at Lion's Den Camp, but flowing well at Silver Camp.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby meb379 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:54 pm

Date Hiked: September 15, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Traveled from USFS ridge road until intersection with Buckeye trail. Lion Den camp was in great condition, though with relatively large numbers of flies/gnats. Water was stagnant in the nearby creek both at Lion Den and Silver Camp. Large amounts of poison oak lining the trail and at Silver Camp (though the camp itself is well-cleared). Of the two camps, Lion Den seems to be the better campground--one campsite over the crest of the hill has a great view down to the ocean--though both were well-shaded and close to water sources. Unfortunately, LNT principles were not followed as well at Silver Camp; large quantities of toilet paper were strewn around. Even so, the trail was wonderful. Really enjoyed passing through several unique microclimates in a fairly short period, and enjoyed several sweeping views. Saw nobody else on the trail, even on a weekend.

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:20 am

Date Hiked: June 29, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This week two sets of VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers patrolled the Cruickshank Trail. The first group cleaned campsites and fixed the table at Lower Cruickshank Camp. The second group hiked to Villa Creek [Ed. note- Villa Creek Camp is on the Buckeye Trail] and back again cleaning campsites and posting flyer's in Camp Fire Pits as the Fire Restrictions have changed. No more campfires allowed in the backcountry. Stoves are permitted with a valid Campfire Permit. Which is free. Lastly, we cleared 25 yards of trail closer to the front of the Trail.

The trail is for the most part clear all the way to Villa Creek Camp with encroaching brush. Still lots of flowers out.

Remember, "Be Prepared and do your part to keep things nice".

Happy Trails.
Darlene at Upper Cruickshank Camp.jpg
Upper Cruickshank Camp
Lower Criuckshank Camp with Picnic Table Repaired by Steve and Beth.jpg
Lower Cruickshank Camp with repaired picnic table.
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