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Salmon Creek Trail

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby frank on Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:26 pm

Date Hiked: July 1, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Over the July 4th weekend, four of us hiked the Salmon Creek -> Cruikshank -> Buckeye Loop from the Salmon Creek Ranger Station in the counter-clockwise direction. Jack Glendenings’s GPS tracks accurately matched our route.

Starting out the Salmon Creek Trail was clear and easy to follow. We stayed at Spruce Creek, which had 2 nice sites close to the creek junction. Water was plentiful, but the streams were easy to cross by hopping between stones. The table at the first site was a pleasant surprise.

On day 2, we continued up Salmon Creek to Estrella Camp. The trail is clear and easy to follow and the camp is in good condition, with several large sites and easy access to plentiful water.

Continuing on from Estrella the trend is evident, but I would rate the trail difficult due to some narrow sections across slides with loose scree and heavy overgrowth. We navigated the slides without much trouble, but trekking poles certainly added extra confidence. About a mile past Estrella the trail narrows and heads into dense head-high to over-head chamise with poison oak growing over the top. The trend is evident, but we had to swim/plow through the encroaching brush. We cleared some of the worst spots mentioned below, so crawling and dragging packs is no longer needed. This section of trail could be greatly improved in a good days work by a small team with loppers and hedge shears.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:00 pm

Date Hiked: June 18, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

22 of us hiked the section from Hwy 1 to Spruce Creek Junction, Trail is clear only minor encroaching brush. Tread had been worked a bit, nice and flat.

Ran into a couple of backpackers coming down from Coast Ridge Road. Heavy brush near the upper portions of the trail.

Lots of flowers on this hike, we had cool weather with no bugs.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby sambieni on Mon May 02, 2011 9:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 26, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I did a 3 day trip from 4/26 - 4/28 starting at Salmon Falls Trailhead, hiking up Salmon Creek Trail for a night at Lion's Den. Following down down Cruikshank to Buckeye Trail and camped at Buckeye Camp with a quick out the final day.

Weather was glorious all three days.

The first 3 miles to Estrella from the trailhead were fine. What was expected - some narrow bits, but totally passable and good conditions. We did find the lack of clear signage when arriving at a makeshift camp 1 mile in, Spruce Camp, and Estrella Camp a bit frusrating forcing us to wander to figure out how to meet the trail on the other side. It was not a trail condition concern as much as bad sign posting or rather lack thereof.

Above Estrella was a great challenge. There were a few washouts and quite steep bits throughout that gave good pause. There was only one creek with water about 1/2 mile north of th4e campsite. No other water until Lion's Den. So water up at Estrella if you head north as past that is not reliable. The trail overall was VERY overgrown ranging from brush when exposed to LOTS of poison oak all around in the shaded areas. Two areas were so overgrown we had to crawl and drag our packs up behind us. Trail can be passed, but makes for very frustrating hiking.

Ridge road to Lion's den and South to Cruikshank intersection is perfectly clear and easy to follow. Only one really steep stretch just north of Silver camp. Limited poison oak on this stretch even. Buckeye trail from the intersection has some poison oak, but manageable and not terribly overgrown . Relatively avoidable. Trail is good condition.

If you are coming from the North to Buckeye be aware that it is spread over two meadows. This was not clear to us. The first camp site clearing is a suitable site with water, but 5 minutes north is larger clearing with the more clearly labeled Buckeye camp. We did not stay at this one since we found the prior site that worked well and camp with a rickety table and a firepit. But it was certainly not clear if this was the actual Buckeye site or not.

From Buckeye to trailhead was clear and passable the entire way. Some slightly overgrown areas and narrow points, but overall fine. Quite steep at points.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:59 am

Date Hiked: March 27, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

posted by Scooperd on 29-Mar-2011
(ed. separated report into respective trails)

I just trekked the Salmon Creek to Upper Cruickshank to Buckeye trail this past weekend, and even in the rain it was glorious! The Salmon Creek trail had a very gnarly river crossing at Spruce Creek. It was either very adventurous or very dumb for me to have crossed it (I had to off-trail it for a bit to find a place to cross, and it was not easy!). Luckily it was the most difficult obstacle of the whole trip. The upper part of the Salmon Creek trail was not in horrible shape, but there were some pretty good washouts and it was a bit overgrown. Camped the first night at Estrella and it was beautiful. Great campsite! I even was lucky enough to encounter a small bobcat who didn't spot me until he was about 15 feet away on the opposite side of the creek. Saturday was definitely the challenge. It was pretty rainy and the part of the trail past Estrella is very very overgrown and there were a couple of medium-sized washouts.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby Chad on Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:57 pm

Date Hiked: February 20, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Out to Estrella for the night, then back home. We postponed for a day due to the storm that left some snow on the peaks above Salmon Creek. The trail is in decent condition. There are some wash-outs at the edges of the trail where hikers have gotten too close to the edge. Spruce camp was very soggy. We waded through Spruce Creek with chilly water up to our knees. The sites on the far side of the creek were not as wet as the site with part of a table. The slide just past Spruce Camp has gotten more use and the trail there is more easily passable than it was a few months ago. Estrella was damp, but very nice after the rain. We stayed in the upper camp due to the creek noise in the lower camp.

Overall it was a nice overnight trip.

Upper Salmon Creek Trail

Postby DH on Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:32 pm

Date Hiked: February 13, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked down Salmon Creek from Ridge Road to hwy 1 today as part of loop from Salmon creek to Dutra Flats Camp to Three Peaks Camp to Lions Pk and back to Salmon Creek.
Salmon Crk trail from Ridge Road to Estrella Camp has a good tread overall, but encroaching brush with low head room made for extra bending over.
At 6'2 with a full size backpack, was a workout just getting under the brush, lost my hat to low overhead brush several times.
I was hiking in shorts all day, put on long pants just before heading down Salmon Crk trail to protect from poison oak and ticks was glad I did as there was a lot of both till reaching Estrella Camp.

I reached Estrella Camp at dusk, and had a bit of trouble finding the trail across the creek, ended up crossing near the fire ring where there are a couple large fallen trees across the creek and found the trail that heads up to the upper camp site.

From Estrella Creek to hwy 1 trail is clear of brush, with only minor poison oak that is just starting to leaf out.
There are several areas of the trail that are loose and very steep drops with several small sides and care must be taken in these areas.
Made for a tedious decent after a long day hiking, and I was tired. I took extra time on the decent to hwy 1 to ensure I made it without incident.

Happy trails,

Dan H.

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby B on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:04 pm

Date Hiked: February 11, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked in yesterday to Estrella camp about 9am. Trail and camps in great condition, just pay attention on those slopes. I was first in so picked up ticks climbing to Estrella... none on the way back. Really a beautiful trail, great wildflowers (Feb.), diverse ecological zones, and a great hillclimb workout (2 1/2 quarts barely enough).

Met a couple from New York, newly engaged on the trail that day (!?), headed east towards the Coast Ridge road through Estrella... saying they were headed back to their car on the coast... I said something to the effect of "Uh... (gesturing west), the ocean's thatta way..." and pointed them back the way they'd came... I was stunned and have no idea how they were so lost... I "ferried" them back to the junction below Spruce Creek for the coast and wished them the best in their married future. Nice people and thankful :)

One more reason to be pleasant and helpful on the trail - peace

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby rick bravo on Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:38 pm

Date Hiked: November 5, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

quick report from Highway One up to the slide area past Spruce Camp.

Quick day hike before the next storm rolls in. Trail clear, tread well defined and good maintenance. Appropriate growth and areas where someone had cleared off some overgrowth.

Spruce Camp in good shape, clean. Fire pits visible. Trail up to Estrella seemed fine up to slide.

Water abundant everywhere, beautiful swarms of lady bugs.

Overall a safe, well maintained trail. The sign designating the trail at the waterfall trail near Highway One was seen by me for the first time. Nice idea. For those who have never hiked this spot, look for the little sign on the right while on the brief waterfall trail. Thanks to whomever put that up.
rick bravo

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:49 pm

Date Hiked: September 18, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My wife and I and few others actually hiked this trail today and last weekend. Last weekend we went to Dutra Flat, then over to ragged point. It was a great trip. Today we just hiked to the slide after Spruce Camp.

I am happy to report the two trees that were once across the trail have been removed. One at the Spruce Creek Trail Junction, the other at the slide above Spruce Camp.

Both days were actually perfect for hiking and no real bugs to speak of.

Trail conditions are as follows.

HWY 1 to Spruce Creek Junction Clear. some encroahing brush.
Spruce Creek Junction to Dutra flat saddle clear, tread is easy to follow. Lots of poison oak along the trail hard to avoid. Wear long pants if you get poison oak. Where the trail reaches Spruce Creek Slide the vegetation has grown over the actuall tread making the short steep descent along the creek a bit more difficult than normal.
Saddle to Dutra Flat Clear, Tread well defined. Lots of tar weed along the trail
Dutral Flat Camp was in good shape, water was running into the trough.

Spruce Creek Junction to Spruce Camp, clear. Two groups were camped at Spruce Camp. a single person and a large group, the picnic table was moved to Spruce Camp proper about 50 yards, since my last visit.

Spruce Camp to the slide clear. We ran into a few hikers and one group of backpackers headed for Estrella Camp

A great trail to hike.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby chtrimble on Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

Date Hiked: July 26, 2010
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Actually I hike the creek bed quite frequently, even once or twice a week. It is amazing that at least once every other outing that I run into parties of fully laden backpackers in the canyon bottom who have missed the first right that puts you on the SCT. The use trail that goes up the canyon bottom being more inviting at this point. There is a maze of use paths that foolishly climb straight uphill past the falls where the poison oak encroaches and the tread becomes one foot wide. Some sort of signage is definitely needed where the main trail splits off from the more popular use trail to the falls. These people may seem silly, but some topos show the trail in the bottom. Hiking up and over boulders with a full backpack, inexperience, and wet boots is a recipe for a medivac.


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