Cruikshank Trail

Guest

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by Guest »

Date Hiked: June 1, 2022
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Water is flowing at Lions den.
runcyclegirl
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by runcyclegirl »

Date Hiked: May 14, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Cruikshank Trail from the South Coast Ridge Road to the junction with Buckeye is clear except for three issues- a tree hanging ~5 ft above the trail west of Silver Peak use trail junction, landslide east of Silver Public Camp, and a very large branch-jamy tree in Silver Public Camp. The latter is on the trail, just walk around it.

Water is available at Lion Den. I was able to fill 2 liters in 30 seconds. Walk a little upstream of the flow and there is a very nice spot where water spills over a short rise. Don't know how reliable this will be in late summer. Water is also flowing in Silver Public Camp. Look a little upstream of the ground flow and you'll see the PVC pipe. Water is also available at Upper Cruikshank Camp. Take Buckeye Trail toward Villa Creek Camp and you'll see the spring fed stream near the big tree. It's not far.
Lion Den campsite.
Lion Den campsite.
Water at Lion Den.
Water at Lion Den.
Water at Silver Public Camp.
Water at Silver Public Camp.
Buckeye Junction
Buckeye Junction
shane9
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2022 7:56 am

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by shane9 »

Date Hiked: April 9, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Upper Cruikshank Camp to Estrella Camp. Only one place was slippery and we had to tread carefully. Found a tick latched on to the clothes and did a tick check among the group. Both Silva Camp and Lion Den Camp have a little stream of water running but probably hard to gather and filter.
driggsy
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:22 am

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by driggsy »

Date Hiked: March 19, 2022
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

0.5 miles of brushy trail from the wilderness sign up towards Cruikshank Camp. Otherwise in great condition. Super beautiful and diverse trail.
tbliss

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by tbliss »

Date Hiked: February 5, 2022
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We hiked Cruikshank to its junction with the Buckeye Trail. Cruikshank is in very good condition. One small downed tree on trail, easily stepped over.
runcyclegirl
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by runcyclegirl »

Date Hiked: November 10, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We hiked up from Highway 1 on Wednesday and stayed two nights at Villa Creek Camp. Our original plan was to stay at Upper Cruikshank but, to our surprise, a group of three had already pitched their tent when we arrived. So, we hiked the half mile down to Villa Creek Camp and it was lovely. The creek was running good and loud and we got there just in time to see the sunlight setting through the trees.

Cruikshank Trail from the highway to Lion Den is in remarkable shape. With the exception of a debris slide described in an earlier post and a down tree, the trail is surprisingly clear. Tender growth flank close to the trail and there is a need to clear the backslope in many places but, honestly, we were happy to walk for hours without trail issues. The down oak tree we encountered is ~18 inches and located east of the slide. It fell high over the trail allowing ~5ft clearance near the inside edge before most people need to duck.

We had a gorgeous three days. Silver Public Camp and Lion Den Camp deserve a return visit.
Water at Silver Public Camp
Water at Silver Public Camp
Tree over trail
Tree over trail
Water at Lion Den Camp
Water at Lion Den Camp
Lovely fall colors
Lovely fall colors
User avatar
VWA_Ranger
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by VWA_Ranger »

Date Hiked: September 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

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

Description:
Today VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers patrolled from Highway 1 to the Buckeye Jct. just past Upper Cruickshank Camp. They cleaned camps, removed two oak snags that had fallen across the trail about 1.5 miles in. There is a small trickle at Lower Cruickshank Camp. A trickle of water is flowing at Upper Cruickshank Camp just down the trail to Villa Creek Camp.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Highway 1 to Top of Switchbacks. - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Top of Switchbacks to Upper Cruickshank Camp - Clear, there is lots of encroaching brush for the first 1/3 mile past the sign. The trail is easy to follow. Once past that section, the trail is clear with minor encroaching brush.

Upper Cruickshank Camp to Silver Camp - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Silver Camp to Rocky Outcropping - Passable, as there is still the slide past Silver Creek which is narrow in many places. Be careful when crossing the slide areas.

Rocky Outcropping to Silver Peak Use Trail Road - Clear, with encroaching brush.

Silver Peak Use Trail Road to Lion Den Camp - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Lion Den to SCRR - Clear.
Attachments
Oak snag before removal.
Oak snag before removal.
Oak snag after removal.
Oak snag after removal.
User avatar
VWA_Ranger
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by VWA_Ranger »

Date Hiked: June 30, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

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

Description:
Today VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers patrolled from Highway 1 to Upper Cruickshank Camp, then down to Villa Creek Camp. They cleaned camps, removed a downed tree about 3/4 mile past the wilderness sign and brushed a few sections of trail that were forcing folks off the trail. A trickle of water is flowing at Upper Cruickshank Camp. Villa Creek Camp the water is flowing well.

Trail conditions are as follows:

Highway 1 to Top of Switchbacks. - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Top of Switchbacks to Upper Cruickshank Camp - Clear, there is lots of encroaching brush for the first 1/3 mile past the sign. The trail is easy to follow. Once past that section, the trail is clear with minor encroaching brush.

Upper Cruickshank Camp to Silver Camp - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Silver Camp to Rocky Outcropping - Passable, as there is still the slide past Silver Creek which is narrow in many places. Be careful when crossing the slide areas.

Rocky Outcropping to Silver Peak Use Trail Road - Clear, with encroaching brush.

Silver Peak Use Trail Road to Lion Den Camp - Clear, with minor encroaching brush.

Lion Den to SCRR - Clear.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attachments
Sample of brush that may be encountered for 1/3 mile past the wilderness boundary sign.
Sample of brush that may be encountered for 1/3 mile past the wilderness boundary sign.
Tree that was removed by VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers.
Tree that was removed by VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers.
Lonhart
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 12:38 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by Lonhart »

Date Hiked: May 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)
View from Silver Peak summit, 26 May 2021.
View from Silver Peak summit, 26 May 2021.
Date Hiked: May 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

25 May 2021. Headed up Cruikshank trail from Highway 1 trailhead. Wilderness Freeway up to the Silver Peak Wilderness sign (30 min). Next 15 min the trail is easy to follow but encroaching grass and flowering plants, some poison oak, and so “clear”. I removed two crawling ticks, but I was also first person through this area for the day.

I walked through Lower Cruikshank camp 80 min in to the trek, and there is a trickle of water running through the camp. Table is in ok shape. Plenty of options to pitch a tent in the general area, shaded, but also right on the trail.

Upper Cruikshank camp is 8 min up the trail, it has a table in good shape, metal fire grill (not in the fire ring at the moment). There is a trickle of water further along the Buckeye Trail down to Villa Creek. Shaded area, and likely some better spots to camp further south on right spur trail that forks off of the Cruikshank trail about 50 m beyond camp.

Upper Cruikshank to Villa Camp: I headed down the Buckeye Trail to Villa Creek (8 min) down a steep trail with a few switchbacks, then crossed the creek, and headed down to Villa Creek camp (5 min), which has a metal sign tacked onto a tree trunk pointing down to the camp and up to Buckeye Trail heading up to the Alder Creek area.

Villa Camp: I had it all to myself, two obvious tent sites near the fire ring, and obviously this area can be popular on the weekends, since there were makeshift camps all over the place, some barely large enough to fit a tent. Water was cold but not frigid, and a couple of trout are in a pool below the camp that is deep enough for a full dunking. Brisk but refreshing. Bugs were active at noon, but by 4 PM the area was cooling and they were not an issue. Besides two day hikers, never saw another person.

26 May 2021. Left Villa Camp, stashed my pack at Upper Cruikshank, then day hiked Cruikshank trail to Silver Peak use trail (0800 hr). Wilderness Freeway from Upper Cruikshank to Silver Peak use trail junction. As you depart Upper camp, trail forks—stay left and quickly you’ll encounter a new sign at the junction of Cruikshank and Buckeye trails. Head up switchbacks for 30 min to Silver Camp.

Silver Camp was empty, and there was a trickle of water coming out of the PVC pipe at camp. Wide, flat area, and shaded. Running water a little further up the trail, just prior to the area with the slide. This is a steep section of terrain, and the rock is fragmented and loose. The trail across the slide is mildly difficult—just go slowly and it will be fine.

There were two other source of running water on this section, but usually only accessible below the trail. I was struck by the junipers (?) as you approach the crest of the ridge (1005 hr). This was a dramatic change from the redwoods in Villa Cr and the oaks on the last 1.5 miles of trail. The last 100 m or so of trail has lots of loose rock—looks like this part of the trail acts as a sluice during rain events. A large outcrop of white and red rock on north side of the trail mark the crest of the ridge, and a white plastic sign that says “trail” is standing in a pile of rocks. This sign is likely to keep folks heading down from Lion Den mistakenly taking the Silver Peak use trail.

Silver Peak use trail: this looks like it used to be a fire break and is at times Wilderness Freeway. Generally it is Passable, but one section about midway up is through a tunnel of manzanita that requires crouching in sections. Recent trimming has improved most of the use trail, and there are flags in certain areas to ensure you are on the right path. I missed the short turn off to the summit, which is marked by a large pile of rocks and a spur trail that ascends the last 5 m to the peak. If you see a rocky, red-colored outcrop with Yucca plants, that’s not the peak. Do not descend and then ascend to that outcrop. I almost did.

Silver Peak summit is more of a tiny knoll, with only a few places of bare, rocky ground, and a USGS marker and an ammo box that has a log in it, placed there in 2002. The log book is basically full, but it is cool to leaf through it. The views are spectacular, from seeing the ocean, to Pico Blanco, out towards Ft Hunter Liggett. Well worth the trek up. The flies precluded having lunch there, but glad I summited nevertheless. Headed back down 1245 hr and arrived back at Upper Cruikshank at 1515, saw my first person of the day while having lunch, and then back down to trailhead by 1700 hr. Epic trip!
Lonhart
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 12:38 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by Lonhart »

Here are some photos from along the trail May 25-26, 2021.
Attachments
Silver Peak use trail beginning, 26 May 2021.
Silver Peak use trail beginning, 26 May 2021.
Villa Creek, 25 May 2021.
Villa Creek, 25 May 2021.
Villa Creek camp, 25 May 2021.
Villa Creek camp, 25 May 2021.
Upper Cruikshank camp, 25 May 2021.
Upper Cruikshank camp, 25 May 2021.
Lower Cruikshank camp, 25 May 2021.
Lower Cruikshank camp, 25 May 2021.
Last edited by Lonhart on Thu May 27, 2021 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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