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Prewitt Loop Trail

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:00 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***


We have a report that the North Prewitt Loop Trail is recovering nicely from the Dolan Fire. As of this writing a little over 2 miles of the trail has be cleared making for a nice journey. There are a few small slides to contend with. Most of the redwoods survived.

Trail conditions are as follows:

Highway 1 to Fire Fighters Trail Jct./Prewitt Ridge Use Trail - Clear, with minor encroaching brush

Fire fighters Trail Jct./Prewitt Ridge Use Trail to Prewitt Ridge Use Trail Jct. - Clear, with encroaching brush, there are a few small slides along this section.

Prewitt Ridge Use Trail to Cattle Trough Spring. - Difficult, no good information to report.

Cattle Trough Spring to Stag Camp. - Difficult, no good information to report.
Cleared to here.jpg
Trail is mostly clear to the pinned location
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby BobE on Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:36 am

Date Hiked: March 28, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

These photos go with BobE's report from 3/28/2020
Annotation 2020-04-03 195322.jpg
Our route. Turned on tracking a bit late
On the way down. View of Plaskett Rock and SD Beach
Lupine covered hillside after Stag
Smashed sign at Stag Camp
Seasonal pool between Kelly and Stag
Climbing out of a ravine between Kelly and Stag
Deadfall on the way to Kelly Camp
The Erlach Bothers start out
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby David Stone on Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:44 am

Date Hiked: March 28, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked in to Kelly Camp from the southern start of the Prewitt Loop Trail about 12 hours behind BobE's venture, it would seem.

In a solo bid to get some air while in this lockdown, I made a last second decision to hike a lesser known trail and, after consulting this forum and a topo, landed on the Prewitt Loop Trail.

I left the fire station at 18.05 and reached Kelly Camp around 20.45-- so around 2.5 hours to the camp. About half of that was in the dark by headlamp. The tread of the trail was followable and I only lost it once in a gully and reacquired the trail by consulting my elevation with that shown on the topo map I had. As reported by BobE, the tread is disintegrating in sections and sloping down into the hillside. The deadfall was passable but required some climbing and maneuvering. There are numerous places where there is oak scrub that infringes on the trail but can be punched through with sufficient gusto.

The real stinger for me was the PO-- I went in with bottom protection but left my arms exposed (bad idea). The PO was avoidable for the first 1.5 miles or so, and at first I tried to hack it away with my trekking poles and a machete I brought along. Eventually this became impracticable, given its ubiquity, and I just tried to protect my arms and face while pushing through their nascent spring growth. I purged my clothing at camp into my backup set but the PO got the better of me and I have the next two weeks in lockdown to consider if the outing was worth the break in quarantine-- I certainly didn't have to worry about social distancing! At any rate, the trail certainly could use some love, with clearing brush and re-establishing the tread more firmly on loose soiled, steep hillsides.

I descended the next day via the S. Fork of Prewitt Creek drainage (more fun than it sounds if you have caving/climbing/bouldering skills a plenty, and a lot less PO once you hit the redwood groves) and enjoyed a lovely sunny day down along creek bed.
David Stone

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby BobE on Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:10 pm

Date Hiked: March 28, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Sit Ye in comfort and read my tale:

My twin brother, Dave, and I anticipated the Prewitt Loop "Hell Hike" and would be not disappointed. Our friend, John, had been on this route before and has an affinity for trails less traveled. Sadly, due to COVID-19 Social Distancing, he could only do the hike virtually from his Carmel Highlands Command Center via GPS messaging.

Dave and I set out 0830 from the Pacific Valley Fire Station parking lot and took the South portion of the loop towards Kelly Camp. The trail joins the Willett Trail (a dirt road) for the first mile until it branched off to the left on a single track. I forgot how to use my GPS tracking, so the tracked route does not start until we were about 1.25 miles into it. After leaving the "road", the trail was passable with frequent deadfalls and poison oak. At this point we were careful to avoid the PO as much as possible. Several seasonal steams on the way to Kelly Camp. Kelly camp is minimal, and we rested there after making about 2 mph for the first 4.5 miles.

Leaving Kelly Camp towards Stag, the trail was between faint and invisible. John had warned us of a switchback to take about a half a mile past Kelly Camp, but we missed it and ended up crashing and stumbling through a poison oak nursery about 500 ft. vertical until I luckily spotted a redwood log that had been cut years ago. Dave soon found the delightful trail nearby and we plodded off on our way to Stag. Over the next 4 miles, we walked, climbed and bumbled forward past the point of no return. About ½-1 mph on this section. The toughest part about the hike was walking the constant steep slope. More a traverse than a trail. Hard on the ankles! My weaker identical twin, Dave, got some blisters but took the pain without complaint.

At 1:00 pm we stopped for lunch on a rare flat spot and choked down our sandwiches and cookies. Water gone, but there was plenty in the seasonal streams. Filled up our bottles again and added iodine tabs from a rusted shut bottle I had from the Army 15 years ago. Moving forward, we must have lost the trail 10-15 times but pressed on boldly. As beat up and overgrown as the trail is, it was not much better than nothing. There must be a hundred trees fallen over the trail with no sign of trail work for many years. Saw some quail and a dear, who fled when they saw two fools coming their way. Dropped into Stag Camp, where the sign has been knocked over by a fallen Oak Tree. The picnic table provided by Troop 67 still sits proud, so we rested our bones there and fed our bellies.

The hike out of Stag for the first half mile was more of the same poor "trail". Then the hillsides opened into green grass covered with Lupine and sprinkled with poppies. The view of Sand Dollar Beach and Plaskett Rock were wonderful. Easy hiking, although fatigue and madness were setting it. We joined up with the Prewitt Ridge Bike Route, which is well marked without any perils. This takes you the last three miles. Dave's bum knee was bothering him, but instead of shooting him like a lame mule, we descended 1700' Vertical until we hit Hwy 1. About 1/2-mile walk on the side of the highway until we shed our poison oak laden clothes and climbed into Dave's truck. We had about an hour of daylight to spare and returned to Sunshine Alley up Plaskett Ridge Road to shower, pull a cork and tell our tale of woe.

My bones still creak as I put finger to keyboard.
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Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby Jdubb on Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:30 pm

Date Hiked: March 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Set out from the ranger station from the Southern trailhead. Beautiful day with clouds, fog and quite a bit of wetness, but no rain. The trail up the switchbacks is very clear with no washouts, encroaching brush or deadfall.
Once the trail left the ridge for the long traverse through the forest, the downed trees became more numerous. Most trees were easily navigated over, but a few required some extra effort. The downed trees became a bit arduous for me and I was a bit fatigued so I decided to stop for lunch and head back just prior to reaching Kelly Camp. I kind of wish I would have pushed on to the camp, but I was done for the day.
I tried to clear what I could along the way without tools, but this section will need some saw action to make it less of a grunt.
Didn't see another human out on the trail today and the fog, clouds and wetness made for a surreal, moody day.

Re: North Prewitt Trail Entrance

Postby gfelsman on Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:39 pm

Date Hiked: June 7, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Passing on a report from a friend.

The northern entrance has been made passable to the use trail to the ridge (Approx. 2.5 miles). Still some encroaching brush. But it is much better than it was.
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby cberryh2o on Sun May 19, 2019 5:11 pm

Date Hiked: May 18, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the first third-ish in from the south side and - while there were not many deadfalls -the poison oak was a bit thick shortly after you turn into the Prewitt watershed. There were no human footprints, which was a bonus :D ...Someone cut a logjam out of the first stream crossing. I have a hard time understanding why that would be necessary and is contrary to the concept of wilderness, but there must have been a reason for such effort to be expended. Perhaps this was done to make it an easier crossing for horses? As with the poison oak, the trail was also covered in ticks (can you say "Big Sur in spring"?!)...
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby Hoser on Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:37 am

Date Hiked: August 31, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

North Entrance;

The first few hundred yards of the North entrance has a lot of brush. The worst sections have been cleared enough to be passable now. There is a lot of poison oak so wear appropriate clothing.
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby Hoser on Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:02 am

Date Hiked: August 25, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

North to just past the cattle gate;

The trail starts out extremely choked with brush and small trees to the point I would label it impassible. When I got to the first bend in the trail, I opted to take the use trail up to the point that it meets up with the original trail further up the mountain.

The trail enters a forested section which has moderate brush encroachment but the majority of the brush is poison oak. The tread was evident the whole way so there was no confusion about being off trail. There were no deadfalls. I went just past the cattle gate, then opted to hike to the ridge and take the use trail back down.

The use trail is a wilderness freeway but it is steeper in sections that the original trail. There was fog, so I avoided any unpleasant heat. I never made it to the water source, so I can't report on that.

Wonderful trail, hoping it gets more maintenance!
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Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:37 pm

Date Hiked: October 21, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

South trailhead to Kelly Camp

The trail begins as a Wilderness Freeway. The opening sections have recently been brushed out and the edges even appear to have been manicured with a weed-whacker. It doesn't last. As the climb continues, the recent work becomes more hit and miss and shortly before leaving the ridge and beginning the long traverse, the work reaches a decisive end. From this point forward, poison oak becomes unavoidable, there are frequent (though easily passed) deadfalls, branches must often be pushed aside, and the tread becomes increasingly narrow. Just before reaching Kelly Camp the tread becomes so degraded that the final 100 yards probably deserve to be rated "difficult." Kelly Camp (which has a nice ocean view through the trees, but little else to recommend it) is dry, but there are several water sources along the trail in the final two miles before the camp and another water source just beyond.
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