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Salmon Creek Trail

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby Banks on Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:41 pm

Date Hiked: July 29, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked with kids back to Estrella camp. The mile between Spruce Creek campground and Estrella has some eroded parts, all currently passable. We met two people that came into Estrella from the coast road, and they said that the trail is still difficult and overgrown (as expected).

On the way out on Sunday, we learned that there was a yellowjacket nest on the trail halfway between Spruce Creek and Hwy 1. We (5 of us) were able to hike past it with no stings, but heard from at least two different groups that had been stung (bit) multiple times. Long clothes on the first few hikers really helped I think. As you are coming from highway 1, right after you peak and enter forested area (which starts to slope down), there is a 10' or so rock outcropping (almost a diving board) on your left. The nest is in the hillside on your right about 10 feet past that. There's no really good indicator when coming from the Spruce Creek side.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby mikesplain on Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:31 am

Date Hiked: July 3, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

(Ed. note- this was originally posted by heisenberg as part of a Buckeye trail report & the "passable" rating was inferred from the rest of that report)

Salmon Creek trail (south from Ridge Road): As reported previously, badly overgrown with desert brush for the first 2 miles, but fortunately no poison oak. A machete would have been useful (Ed. note- lopping at ground level produces a much more resilient trail, machetes are dangerous in the backcountry and their use often encourages jagged eye-level regrowth that can endanger other hikers). Would have been miserable to go uphill in the opposite direction. Estrella Camp was quite nice with lots of space and a flowing creek. Moderately crowded with others that were doing an overnight out-and-back from the Highway 1 trailhead. Spruce Creek Camp (skipped) seemed similar to Estrella Camp. On the way out, passed many day hikers between Estrella Camp and Highway 1.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby Guest on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:19 pm

Date Hiked: March 2, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

No difficulties. Trailhead to Estrella Camp and return.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby sinusf on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:47 pm

Date Hiked: February 11, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I headed out on Salmon Creek Trail towards Coast Ridge road with the eventual goal of Lion Den Camp. The first 3 1/2 miles to Estrella Camp were open and easy to follow. The next 3 ish miles to Coast Ridge Road were overgrown. I have a decent amount of scratches and enough ticks to last. Combining the overgrowth with a non-stop uphill climb, It took much longer to hike than anticipated. I made it to Coast Ridge Rd, headed north a few hundred yards and got back on another trail headed west to Lion Den Camp. The trail to Lion Den was decent, only a few overgrown bushes. The camp itself was amazing and had flowing water. Took me half the time to hike back down the following day than it did to hike up. Definitely earning the view when you get up to the top of SIlver Peak Wilderness.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby Peeps from Pismo on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:25 pm

Date Hiked: February 10, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Nice hike today to spruce camp. Couple wild iris' and only one down tree as described before.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:18 pm

Date Hiked: January 7, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Just a quick Note, Trail Conditions are the same as listed below, the large Oak along the trail has been removed. Great hiking weather today as 18 of us hiked to Dutra Flat. Saw a wild Iris today. The small snag 1 mile in is still there, easy to duck under, a small hand or folding saw will clear this one. The tree that was on the Spruce Creek Trail is also gone. Thanks to those that removed it. We did see a sleeping bag hanging from a tree at the second creek crossing on the Salmon Creek Trail. If it is yours please take it out. Burgundy cover duffle bag.
Last edited by gfelsman on Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby jbl on Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:09 pm

Date Hiked: December 10, 2011
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE SECTION FROM HIGHWAY 1 TO THE TURNOFF TO DUTRA FLAT CAMP

Jack Glendening and I hiked up the Salmon Creek Trail from Highway 1 to the turnoff for the Dutra Flat/San Carpoforo Trail, and it was virtually all Wilderness Highway; the only apparent damage from the recent wind event were:

1. Small diameter tree that's down at the 1 mile mark, easily stepped under; and

2. Oak tree down and blocking the trail about 1/10 mile before the turnoff to Dutra Flat; this is easily walked around on the downhill side. Here are pics:

oak-from downhill.jpg
Downed Oak, viewed from downtrail side

oak-from uphill.jpg
Downed oak, viewed from uptrail side
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:27 pm

Date Hiked: September 24, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Five of us had a chance to hike the Salmon Creek Trail from Hwy 1 to Dutra Flat, then over to the Baldwin Ranch Road, the weather was perfect for a long hke with 3000 foot elevation gain and loss over 10 miles or so. There were no bugs, ticks and posion oak was minimal at this time.

Trail Conditions are as follows:

Salmon Creek Trail from Hwy 1 ot Spruce Creek junction:

Clear ocassional Wildermess Freeway. Some work has been done on this 2 mile section of trail making it very pleasant. Tread is in good shape

Spruce Creek Trail to Dutra Flat:

This trail was muched improved over my last visit. A lot of the poison oak had been cleared from the trail so one does not have to duck and weave as much along the trail. Some of the heavy brush was also cleared. The tread was in fair shape. Once at the saddle, the tread is in good condition all the way to Dutra Flat. The camp it self was well maintained. Not sure when the last campfire was lit there a good sign. Water is still flowing into the trough on the hill above tha camp. The slide at Spruce creek is easily passable but is the worst part of this trail at present. Someone had brought stock up this trail, but I would not recommend it unless you are an experienced backcountry enthusiast who can traverse some narrow and falling away sections of trail
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Postby hoosierferg on Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:32 am

Date Hiked: June 12, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I did Salmon Creek-Cruickshank-Buckeye loop hike in about 48 hours over three days (4 p.m.-4 p.m.), two nights, from the Salmon Creek Trailhead. The trail is very nice with good campsites at Spruce Creek and Estrella (recommended, especially if more than 2 or 3 people in group, many large areas). The portion of the trail between Estrella and the Ridge Road is not something I would do again (especially for us taller people, I'm 6-3). If the previous poster really cleared the most difficult points, that's great, namely a spot I had to crawl on all fours to squeeze under an arch about 3 feet over trail formed by a significant limb (3 inch diameter that couldn't be bent) of a small tree/bush. In retrospect, I wish I had dragged my pack. It was nice to have poles for the thin tread and scree/slide areas (some that the forest service told me had been fixed since winter). The upper area, about a mile or two in significant stretches is either choked by oak woodland brush and some pretty extreme poison oak (takes time and work to avoid). The last mile begins a stretch of desert brush about 8 to 10 feet tall in stretches that has overgrown the trail but will bend. You just have to power through long stretches pushing branches from knee to head for 100-foot stretches at a time. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend this stretch to anyone until it is cleared; trails like this are not why I hit the great outdoors (it might be fun if you're getting ready for basic training). If I've logged roughly 1,500 miles of trails in the last 10 years (from ages 40 to 50), this was one of the worst stretches I recall. It's badly in need of a trail crew (enter from the high side on Coast Ridge Road). Although I didn't find any of the trails too pleasant to hike between pretty extreme flies (you might want a head net and rain gear in camp even if weather's not threatening) and the poison oak and the narrow tracks (a pain if you're bigger, recommend poles), there is some beautiful country and all the campsites are nicely set and primitively, but nicely, developed since it's Forest Service and not "leave no trace." The rest of the rail from Ridge Road to Upper Cruickshank and down the Buckeye is not choked like the portion of Salmon Creek, however, like several significant stretches from Estrella to Ridge Road and the stretch from going up the mountain on Buckeye trail from Upper Cruickshank Camp, there is prolific poison oak, and the stretch on Buckeye is difficult to dance around but doable. Kids who don't know it would be hard pressed to avoid it going up that hill, so educate them well and wash up after day of hiking (I still got some, but not bad). There are also a lot of spots on the high part of the Buckeye trail (sometimes crumbly and collapsing in small stretches) where it's hard to avoid the poison oak because its hard to step around it on the narrow trails perched on steep hillsides. Also, last couple hundred yards above the trailhead it's just impossible to avoid poison oak. There were some faint spots along the Buckeye, especially high stretch after the pass coming up from Cruickshank, several divergences but all seem to end up back at the trail (I went high and to the left over rocky outcropping heading south, very steep area). There is a neat trickle of a water fall along a mossy rocky cliff near Soda Springs area (?), but it may be dry later in summer. It's a different kind of hiking than on well-established and better maintained state or national park trails, not as easy. Matter of preference, I guess. I'm a little torn because the first day and evening were nice, bug-free and warm, just perfect camping at Estrella, great experience.

I'd recommend the hike to Estrella as an out and back, and the hike from the Cruickshank trail head as far as Lion Den camp (nicely perched at a high spot with a view, but the variety of flies -- horse, deer, house that could have been temporary -- were brutal midday when I passed through and checked it out). Also recommend out and back, even just an overnight to Upper Cruickshank or Villa, which were also very nice camps. Buckeye Camp has two sites in a high open meadow (probably least appealing of the camps I saw), both under oaks, but the first one heading heading north by the spring is probably in better shape (second is across the meadow after coming out of the forest). Silver, also nothing special, but on a nice bug-free warm evening, any site would be delightful.
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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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