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 to Silver Camp Slide, Impassable Beyond

Postby gfelsman on Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:07 pm

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

VWA Rangers Patrolled the Trail from Highway 1 to the Silver Camp Slide/Creek. We can say the trail is basically clear for hikers all the way to the Creek past Silver Camp. Once past the Creek, the trail is very difficult or impassable for the next 1/4 mile to the rocky outcropping.

If you choose to traverse this section of trail, be very careful. Hiking poles can be helpful with the terrible conditions in this area. We erred on the side of caution and did not cross the Silver Camp Slide Area on this trip.

Be safe, no fires, no stoves for the remainder of the fire season.

More details are in Trevor's report below.
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Re: Landslide on the Cruikshank Trail.

Postby Trevor W on Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:16 pm

Date Hiked: August 8, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Cruickshank Trail.jpg
Silver Camp Slide area in dark red shows impassable section of trail. Click image to enlarge.

On August 7th I hiked up the Cruickshank Trail from Highway 1 to conduct a detailed pre-work survey in preparation for a series of contracted professional trail crew hitches intended to restore the Upper Cruickshank Trail this fall and next winter/spring.
Because of a dated trail survey that’s about 2.5 years old and a few trail reports from various hikers I have been aware of a landslide on the Cruickshank Trail about .25 mile east of Silver Camp. But I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had a chance to see it with my own two boots.

There is a series of slope failures in this section that I’ve been calling the Silver Camp Slide. In some areas the trail has been buried in landslide debris and it’s a mild scramble to get past.
Other areas have slipped out to the point that the trail is indistinguishable from the naturally steep slope of the hillside and fine sediments have piled up to the angle of repose. Hiking over it feels like walking on a slope covered with ball bearings—and it’s a long way down to the creek bed, where one can find the nearest boulder that could break a fall…and a femur.

I ended up leaving by backpack at a safe spot where the trail still existed and very carefully traversed the slide area while recording data with my GPS unit.
slide with backpack.JPG

The length of the Silver Camp Slide area is just under 400 yards, and most of it is cliffed out on the uphill side and so steep on the downhill side that a slip/fall could result in tumbling all the way to the creek bed. For obvious reasons I decided not to measure that distance, but I estimate it to be between 70-100 feet down. There is no way to go around the slide on the uphill or downhill side. I highly recommend avoiding this area until we have a chance to realign and widen the trail. If you feel you must cross the slide, do so with extreme care and caution.
Silver Camp Slide.JPG

Yucca and slide.JPG

Please note that the rest of the Cruikshank Trail is passable. The section east of the junction with the Buckeye Trail needs a lot of work though. The good news is that this fall I will be working out there with a contracted trail crew from the American Conservation Experience, and we will do as much as we can without risking our own safety and wellbeing to restore the Cruickshank Trail between the junction with the Buckeye Trail and the South Coast Ridge Road.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail Hazard Tree Gone

Postby gfelsman on Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:05 pm

Date Hiked: August 12, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Just a quick update:
VWA Volunteer Rangers cleared the Hazard Tree at Upper Criuckshank Camp.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Villa Creek Camp

Postby gfelsman on Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:40 pm

Date Hiked: August 2, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We had a chance to patrol this section of trail and I am happy to report it is clear for the most part. The first mile is a Wilderness Freeway and the remaining sections could be considered clear with encroaching brush.

Water is flowing at Lower, Upper Cruickshank Camp and Villa Creek Camp in the usual places. If it is warm the bugs will come out.

The Hazard Tree at Upper Cruickshank is on the verge of coming down. It has dropped about a foot since our last visit.

One of our biggest issues on this trail is the White Flower Garden known as TP that seems to crop up at the camps as they are quite small. We ask that people pack their TP out, or at least bury it properly. Carrying a gallon Ziploc Bag make the job much easier. Stashing your TP in the fire pit is not an option this time of year as no campfires are allowed in the backcountry.

There is nothing worse than coming into camp finding it litered with TP as some recent backpackers mentioned on this day. We all need to do our part keeping thr backcountry in good condition. Happy Trekking where ever your travels take you.
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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.
Villa Creek Camp Trash.jpg
Trash and TP left in Fire Ring. Please pack it out.
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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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