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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated December 7, 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 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 - Cruikshank Trail

Cruikshank Trail

Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Postby gfelsman on Mon May 21, 2018 3:36 pm

Date Hiked: May 19, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Volunteer Rangers working with the VWA have cleared the first 0.9 miles of trail in preparation for a late summer opening. The trail beyond is easy to follow with brushy and non-brushy spots for the next half mile. Once you get to the redwood trees it is a nice pleasant walk to Upper Cruickshank Camp.

The trail down to Villa Creek Camp has also been worked on removing trail duff and leaves all the way to camp. Unfortunately when we got to Villa Creek Camp we found a good example of how not to leave a campsite. The fire pit was filled with TP, trash, foil and glass. The camp is now clean thanks to the VWA Rangers.
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Villa Creek Camp Trash.jpg
Trash and TP left in Fire Ring. Please pack it out.
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gfelsman
 
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sat May 12, 2018 9:23 am

Date Hiked: May 11, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I had a chance to hike this trail to the Buckeye Junction and down to Villa Creek.

The trail is in good condition except for encroaching brush on the first mile of trail. Right at the beginning and after you reach the top of the switchbacks. The work done by the VWA has really helped this trail. Lack of use has allowed the brush to be more prevalent.

There are two hazard trees along the trail. One about 0.1 mile before Upper Cruickshank Camp, the root ball has broken off and the tree has fallen into the next tree being held up by branches once it falls it will be in the trail. The other is right at Upper Cruickshank Camp Trail Junction. The tree has fallen away from camp and is snagged in the near by redwoods. It too will fall along or in the trail once it decides to.

Still plenty of flowers out.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:57 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Silver Peak Use Trail to Buckeye Trail junction.

(I did this a part of a long day hike from Villa Creek Camp to Silver Peak and back, a little over 10 miles. Up the Buckeye Trail to the Soda Wildtrail; to Silver Peak and beyond on the Silver Peak Use Trail; then then back via Cruikshank. Reports on use trails area beyond the scope of this forum. Suffice to say I made it and had to deal with some brush along the way.)

This section of the Cruikshank trail looks pretty good, with one important caveat.

The 3/4 mile or so below the Silver Peak use Trail would qualify as clear. It degrades some after that. There's more PO and more places where you have to duck a but, but it’s still straightforward hiking. There’s a step over or two. Below Silver Camp –- stove, wood furniture, and lots of flat space -– it’s clear again. So, for the most part, a clear-to-passable route.

The caveat. There is one stretch of this trail that runs more-or-less north-south along a sometimes-fairly-steep west-facing slope. The stretch is only a third to a half mile long. Its south end is about 1/4 mile from Silver Camp. Some of the slopes are moderate; some are steeper; but none is a cliff face. Some are well consolidated; some are loose. Those few stretches with steep, loose slopes take extra attention. Most seemed quite safely do-able when taken slowly. However, I noted one short stretch near the Silver Camp end that required two or three very iffy steps. I did some gentle testing with my hiking poles before placing my feet, but I was really thinking about what was going to happen next if the ground gave way when I transferred my weight. I did so gingerly. Still, it's anybody’s guess what exactly how a fall would play out. You might stop right away. You might slide a ways down the hill. A full backpack that raised your center of gravity could make things worse. This section definitely needs some trail re-engineering.

All that makes this trail very hard to rate. It has 2-1/2 miles of clear-to-easily passable trail, a few hundred feet where you have to watch your step, and two or three steps where there’s some real serious concern.

Not too many wildflowers higher up but it gets better on the descent. Most interesting to me was one serpentine hillside just north of the steep section I described above. It was full of pale pink, but nicely marked, spring beauty (Claytonia exigua, I think). In fairness, spring beauties probably fall in the "interesting" wildflower category, not the "beautiful" category, but there's nothing wrong with interesting. If you pass by that section, you may see a lime green fabric lens pouch that I dropped. I don’t need it -– it’s easily replaceable -– but I feel badly about littering the wilderness. If you see it, please clean up my mess. It’s yours if you want it.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby toejam on Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:41 pm

Date Hiked: February 23, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Still some really skinny tread followed by a long brush tunnel above Silver Camp. About the same as it's been for years. If you've hiked this trail before, it's probably no worse.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby jdoelman on Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:50 am

Date Hiked: February 21, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From the coast ridge road to the Silver peak trail turnoff is easy to follow and clear of obstructions. The trail from the Cruikshank trail to Silver peak is also clear.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:19 pm

Date Hiked: February 17, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Had a chance to check out the lower Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp, then on to Villa Creek Camp.

The best way to describe the trail is clear with some encroaching brush. Upper, lower Cruikshank Camps were clean at the time we visited. Villa Creek Camp was also easy to get to and is clean at this time. Water is flowing at all the camps.

From a past hike on Dec. 15th, 2017 it was mostly clear to Silver Camp. The trail narrows and deteriorates after Silver Camp. Silver Camp was clean at that time

However, after all the people at the Salmon Creek Trailhead this weekend. Camp conditions will probably change at bit.

The VWA ACE Crews, volunteers and USFS have done a great job keeping this trail clear despite the Highway 1 closure at Salmon Creek.
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Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Postby gfelsman on Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:54 pm

Date Hiked: November 13, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Volunteer Crews hosted by the Ventana Wilderness Alliance have done a great job preparing the Cruikshank Trail for upcoming trail work.

The Switchbacks have been repaired, and the trail is mostly brush free all the way to Upper Cruikshank Camp.

The camps are clean and people have ad heard to the Level III Fire Restrictions.

Unfortunately this trailhead is still closed to the general public.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:31 pm

Date Hiked: September 8, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Darlene and I had a chance to explore the lower Cruikshank Trail from Hwy 1 to Villa Creek Camp and back. Luckily it was a cool and foggy day for this journey making for a pleasant hike. We encountered two backpackers on our trip who hiked in from Salman Creek Ranger Station.

I am happy to report the trail is basically clear all the way to Villa Creek Camp with many leaves across the trail for lack of use because Hwy 1 is closed at the Salmon Creek Ranger Station.

Below are the basic trail conditions.

1. From Hwy 1, brush encroaching to the start of the switchbacks.
2. Switchback to Wilderness Sign, Clear
3. Next half mile to the second redwood trees, clear with encroaching brush.
4. Remainder of trail is clear all the way to Upper Cruikshank Camp.

Both Upper and Lower Cruikshank Camps are clean and clear. Remember there are no campfires allowed anywhere in the backcountry. You may use a portable propane stove with a valid fire permit.
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IMG_2421.JPG
Upper Cruikshank Camlp
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby mmellea on Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:54 pm

Date Hiked: August 5, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked from South Coast Ridge Road to turnoff for Buckeye Trail.

Trail to Lion Den camp is clear, with a little water at Lion Den camp. From there, it gets more overgrown as previous posters have mentioned, with brush tunnels becoming fairly common.

The trail is thick with poison oak, including some areas where it overgrows on both sides and above the trail -- it just seemed to keep coming. About a mile or so upstream of Silver Camp the train seemed to open up and get less poison-oaky. Lots of bugs, especially near the streams/trickles of water (which there are a handful of along the trail).

Information about washed out areas upstream of Silver Camp is still accurate:
at_scott wrote:Two of these sections were sketchy while the third seemed downright dangerous to me. One of these sections seems to be a recent slide of pretty loose sandy material and was pretty difficult to get across. Another section has a very narrow, loose, bench cut over a rocky cliff. A fall here would be serious.


We lost the trail at what I think is the third slide (trail ends, steep gravel slope and then creek with water) and spent about 20 min looking for it, getting scraped up descending a super-steep face as a result. Of course, it was more obvious than we realized--but if others have trouble, the trail continues on the other side of the creek downhill of where it ends.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby at_scott on Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:41 am

Date Hiked: June 3, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked with my dog from South Coast Ridge Road to Upper Cruikshank Camp. The trail was mostly clear with the exception of a couple of brush tunnels that were difficult to get low enough to get through with a pack. I would have rated the trail passable if it were not for three pretty sketchy sections about a 1/4 mile east (up hill) of Silver Camp. Two of these sections were sketchy while the third seemed downright dangerous to me. One of these sections seems to be a recent slide of pretty loose sandy material and was pretty difficult to get across. Another section has a very narrow, loose, bench cut over a rocky cliff. A fall here would be serious.

There was good water flowing at Lion Den Camp and Silver Camp.

We didn't see another person all weekend.
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