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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated May 24, 2021

No Campfires!  Until further notice, CAMPFIRES are NOT permitted at backcountry camps in the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas. 

Highway One is Open. 

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is Closed -- This 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. Please remember: No campfires!

Virtualy all trails and backcountry camps in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest are open. One exception is the Kirk Creek Trail from Highway 1 to Vicente Flat Camp. It will be closed until late July.  

Roads closed to vehicular traffic: Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, South Coast Ridge Road to Prewitt Ridge, Cone Peak Road, Arroyo Seco - Indians Road from Memorial Park to Escondido Camp

Know Before You Go: Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Call the U. S. Forest Service, Monterey Ranger District office if you need more information: 831-385-5434.  

Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires are not permited. A permit is required for stove use. 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), Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Closed: John Little State Natural Reserve

Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:44 am

Date Hiked: April 18, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

14 of us Hiked from Salmon Creek Trailhead on Hwy 1 to Dutra Flat. The weather was perfect. Lots of flowers, including Iris, Hounds Tongue, California Buttercups, Shooting Stars and more.

The trail from Spruce Creek Junction is passable. As the trail is easy to follow but lots of poison oak encroaching on the trail for the first mile up this trail. Once at the switchback poison oak decreases, But still lots of encroaching brush. From the saddle to Dutra Flat the green hills were a delight to traverse.

There were a total of four trees across the trail. Two before the Spruce Creek slide area. All were easy to step over. Two after the Spruce Creek Slide and before the switchbacks. these you had to duck under. Again relatively easy on this day.

We had a pleasant lunch at Dutra Flat under the shade of many trees.
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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jbl on Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:40 pm

Date Hiked: March 8, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

SECTION HIKED: FROM JUNCTION OF SALMON CREEK TRAIL TO DUTRA FLAT CAMP [with continuation on Murray Mine Road and beyond to Mount Mars]

Section: Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce/Dutra Saddle: Clear. Spruce Creek is flowing nicely now (compared to October when it was bone dry); increased moisture has translated into increased, aggressive PO; there's an 8" or so madrone down about 1/2 mile from the top, we cut the branches that were blocking the way so it's now an easy stepover of the trunk:

madrone.JPG
New Downed Madrone

The grass in the Dutra drainage is finally turning green as shown in this picture taken at the saddle:

at saddle.JPG
At the Spruce/Dutra Saddle

Section: Saddle to Dutra Flat Camp: Wilderness Freeway

Water was flowing from the pipe at Dutra Flat:

water.JPG
Water Flowing at Dutra Flat

I spotted some PO growing in a holly bush in the middle of camp:

PO.JPG
PO growing in the middle of Dutra Flat Camp


at dutra.JPG
The Group at Dutra Flat Camp


We headed out on the Murray Mine Road and found that Dutra Creek was flowing at the crossing:

Dutra Creek Flowing.JPG
Dutra Creek Flowing

The old outhouse along the Murray Mine Road has deteriorated further and will not be of much use:

Murray Mine Road Outhouse.JPG
Outhouse on Murray Mine Road

Once we got up onto the coastal ridge, the view was spectacular:

On Coastal Ridge.jpeg
At Coastal Ridge

We got to the summit of Mount Mars and enjoyed the inland views towards the South Coast Ridge:

On Mount Mars.JPG
On Summit of Mount Mars

As always, the view to the ocean from the face of Mount Mars was unbeatable:

On Face of Mount Mars.jpeg
On the Face of Mount Mars

We reluctantly headed down the face of Mount Mars to the end of a great dayhike. The face was very green, making for much easier walking on the very steep incline:

Headed down.jpeg
On the way down
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby body942 on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:45 pm

gfelsman wrote:Date Hiked: September 28, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked this trail on Saturday, the weather was great, very few bugs on our trip to Dutra Flat and back.

The trail is fair shape and easy to follow, with encroaching brush and a couple of downed trees near Spruce Creek. The one tree that used to hang over the trail about 1/10th mile past the Salmon Creek Junction has been cleared. Thanks to the folks that removed this tree. Still a few trees left, but a much nicer hike.


Check out the link in my post below, it has video of me clearing those trees. Fun physical challenge. Glad somebody noticed. :)
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:43 pm

Date Hiked: September 28, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked this trail on Saturday, the weather was great, very few bugs on our trip to Dutra Flat and back.

The trail is fair shape and easy to follow, with encroaching brush and a couple of downed trees near Spruce Creek. The one tree that used to hang over the trail about 1/10th mile past the Salmon Creek Junction has been cleared. Thanks to the folks that removed this tree. Still a few trees left, but a much nicer hike.

Dutra Flat Camp itself was relatively clean except for the trash piled in the fire pit and two full fuel canisters we found at the camp. We packed all the trash and fuel canisters out.

Water at Dutra Flat is now questionable. The cattle trough was full when we were there, but the pipe filing the tank was barely dripping. maybe one drip every 3-5 seconds.

Hope it rains soon.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby KMacVicar on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: June 6, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We set out from Salmon Creek and the trail was nice and clear until the turn off to Spruce Creek Trail. Noticed a few slides, but footing was solid. Very overgrown with poison oak until we hit the flats, however, trail was defined. 2 fallen trees in this section of path. Path disappeared after first cowboy gate, at first clearing (beginning of the flats). The "trail" isn't defined at all in places from the flats onwards. Often, my group would have to explore, then backtrack a mile or so to try and find different "path". Frustrating. Very little trend. Finally made it to Dutra Flat Camp. The site is very nice. Attempted to find Turkey Springs/Dutra Creek but failed horribly. Trail is nearly impossible to find and keep, mostly random cow paths that lead to dead ends. Lots of poison oak along the way. Make sure you
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby body942 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:22 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked solo in to Dutra Flat Camp on a last minute whim. I'd never been before, but have read about it here. I've been to Spruce a bunch, and was surprised how dense the vegetation became. I've read about the old slide area, and footing was a little dicey. There were two major trail obstacles I encountered on my way up, I cleared them both on the way down. I put a detailed trip report https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=75002 over at Hammock Forums if anyone is interested.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jack_glendening on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:16 pm

Date Hiked: June 19, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

For the trail south/east of Dutra Camp to San Carpoforo Camp

Amid the "clear/passable" trail reports (often for the trail north/west of Dutra Camp), I'm putting this "difficult" report to warn hikers unfamiliar with this trail that the tread often disappears in the grassy sections, so previous experience or good map reading skills or a GPS (or being lucky) is necessary to negotiate those areas. Intersecting the San Carpoforo trail from off-trail near the old Dutra homestead (not the Dutra campsite), neither Paul Danielson or myself could see any indication of where the "trail" was and had to rely upon experience (for him) and a GPS having a trail track (for me) to continue from the homestead meadow to higher terrain, where tread then appeared.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby Virginia jensen on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Date Hiked: April 20, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hike up the Salmon Creek Trail to the Dutra Camp, well actually we didn't make it all the way to the camp. Salmon Creek Trail is a wilderness freeway. Very nice to hike on. the Spruce Trail has a few fallen trees, nothing too difficult to get over, and there is the usual brush and poison oak. The tread was lost in meadow but by looking ahead you can find your way. We encounter Steve Benoit and Esperanza, from the Ventana Sierra Club,leading a group of 4 backpackers making a loop ending up at Ragged Point. The wild flowers were abundant, the weather was beautiful. this was a perfect hike. Hikers: Virginia Jensen, Judy West, Claudia Anderson, Wanda McDonnald
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San Carpóforo Trail(aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)-to Dutra

Postby jbl on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:14 pm

Date Hiked: April 6, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

1. Section from Salmon Creek Trail Junction to Spruce/Dutra Saddle: Clear, a couple of stepovers, minor brush encroachment (including PO). The historic slide (with the nasty uphill diversion) that's about halfway up this section remains; it would be a lot of work to fix this, but that's a project that should really be done sometime.

2. Section from Saddle to Dutra Flat Camp: Wilderness Freeway. There is much erosion on the sidehill parts of this section, and due to cow activity there are sometimes several parallel sidehill tracks, but they always reconverge. The bog crossing just before Dutra Flat camp is the boggiest I've ever seen it, such that I was unable to cross without actually sinking in at a few spots. The pipe was flowing above Dutra Flat camp, and I had some (untreated) water from the pipe, which tasted quite refreshing and I've had no bad consequences. There was a group of cows grazing out on the first big meadow a few hundred yards past camp. Nobody was camped at Dutra Flat, but on the way out I came across a solo backpacker headed in who was going to stay at either Dutra Flat or Turkey Springs.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby khammer8280 on Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:41 am

Date Hiked: March 12, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)


san carpoforo trail from dutra flat campground to end of trail at salmon creek trail junction.
dutra flat campground is fenced off but accessible to keep livestock out. water is available just across from the camp in a trough behind another fence. the trail out of here initially has some muddy cow crossings. multiple cow paths can make keeping on the right trail tricky. once you come out of the dutra creek and into the spruce creek watershed, the trail is much easier to follow as it steeply winds down to salmon creek. a few steep narrow sections exist on this section where the trail has almost washed off the ridge.
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