Carmel River Trail

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jack_glendening
Posts: 712
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: November 25, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

A Big Sur Trailmap user reports two slides south of Buckskin Flat, the second one large enough that he lost the trail and turned around.

Jack
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
SBWaltz

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by SBWaltz »

Date Hiked: October 21, 2023
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

New route around the Los Padres Dam slide, the "hump," is a bit of a goat trail, but clear. In spots, upside of trail remains compacted while downside is soft and crumbling. Safe, but worth keeping an eye on your footing.

From Big Pines Trail intersection up to ridge, there is increasing weeds to deal with, but merely calf high. From ridgetop to Danish Camp intersection, the trail is less clear (though follow-able) and you will have to navigate around head shoulder high woody shrubs. I turned around at that point, returning back to Los Padres Dam parking lot.
Dillinger

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Dillinger »

Why will it take YEARS to obtain the easement from the forest service?

quote="Steve B" post_id=13064 time=1690585543 user_id=83]
Date Hiked: July 27, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The new route around the landslide at the Los Padres Dam has not been constructed yet, we are waiting for the forest service to do the paperwork to establish an easement to make the reroute a forest service trail through California American Water Company property. We have completed the Monterey County requirements for the biological, archeological surveys and the county grading plan. At this time the trail is a scratched in track that that is difficult to walk however the trail has been heavily used which has caused tread damage form hikers walking on the outside edge of the trail. We are ready to start work on the trail once the forest service easement is completed and the ground is damp which may take a couple of years. In my opinion the new route around the landslide at Los Padres Dam in not ready to be opened to the public until we are allowed to start the trail construction. If you do walk the reroute, please use caution and try not to walk on the outside edge of the trail. The reroute is difficult especially if hiking with a backpack. Once the trail is completed travel with stock is not recommended.

The trail beyond the slide to Bluff Camp is overgrown but passable.
[/quote]
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Steve B
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Del Rey Oaks, CA

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Steve B »

Date Hiked: July 27, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The new route around the landslide at the Los Padres Dam has not been constructed yet, we are waiting for the forest service to do the paperwork to establish an easement to make the reroute a forest service trail through California American Water Company property. We have completed the Monterey County requirements for the biological, archeological surveys and the county grading plan. At this time the trail is a scratched in track that that is difficult to walk however the trail has been heavily used which has caused tread damage form hikers walking on the outside edge of the trail. We are ready to start work on the trail once the forest service easement is completed and the ground is damp which may take a couple of years. In my opinion the new route around the landslide at Los Padres Dam in not ready to be opened to the public until we are allowed to start the trail construction. If you do walk the reroute, please use caution and try not to walk on the outside edge of the trail. The reroute is difficult especially if hiking with a backpack. Once the trail is completed travel with stock is not recommended.

The trail beyond the slide to Bluff Camp is overgrown but passable.
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Betsy M
Posts: 432
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Betsy M »

Date Hiked: May 7, 2023
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The section of the trail from Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley has very short brushy sections, and some narrow tread that would be difficult if you were a mule, but the average hiker should not have any problems. All the side creeks are easy to cross. The first side creek is only about 5-10 minutes down from the Divide, and is a great stop for water.

A VWA volunteer trail crew cleared all the trees in this section, including a couple of pines beyond Jack English's cabin so it is easy to get to the meadow.
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williegoat
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2023 10:28 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by williegoat »

Date Hiked: June 17, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Fun ramble down to a very popular backpacking spot with babbling clear waters and plenty of bugs.

Some difficulties. One small downed branch across the trail, several small feeder creek crossings and lots of brush encroaching the trail, at times fully over the trail. Plenty of poison oak.

Summary: I hiked in from Church Creek Divide around 10:30am on Saturday the 17th and made it to Pine Valley around 11:00am. I hiked out on Sunday the 18th from Pine Valley around 6:00am and made it back to Church Creek Divide around 6:40am.

The trail was OK and the tread was easy to follow. Water started just below the divide, and so did the bugs. The feeder creeks running down the hillside that crossed the trail were very easy to step across directly or over one or two sturdy rocks.There was a blowdown that had been cut and cleared (thank you!!). A small branch lay across the trail and was an easy step over for me. Once in the valley, the trail was easy to follow all the way to the junction with Bear Basin at the fence by the cabin.

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I did explore past the cabin a short way (less than a half mile) into the meadow. In the meadow proper the trail is much harder to follow as it is very overgrown with the meadow grasses.

Meadow.jpeg

Plenty of shade. I enjoyed the rock formations on the north side of the trail. Lots of people hanging out by the creek. Looks like a lot of work goes into maintaining this trail. Thank you!!
Firefly
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 5:07 pm

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Firefly »

Date Hiked: May 18, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From Pine Valley to Round Rock and back: this was my day hike goal. I got about halfway before I decided I really didn't want to go through once now and then again on the way back. Trail is in pretty bad shape. It's possible to follow, but encroaching ceanothus in parts, tunnels of unavoidable poison oak in others, large fallen trees, and midway, a fallen brushy tree that makes the trail impassable unless you feel like crawling through its massive brush (my turnaround), makes this a way that isn't really a way anymore, until some work is done.

I hiked this section in 2020, 3 years ago, and remember the trail being clear and easy until close to Round Rock junction, where there was a slide significant enough to turn me around. A lot happens in 3 years!

I am sad to see so many trails disappearing so close to one of the most beautiful and accessible parts of the Ventana: Pine Valley. I spent most of my time out here wishing there were more people willing to do trail work here, as it is obviously an enormous task to maintain the existing trails from year to year, and I know volunteers are working hard every weekend. We need more hands!

What would it take to restore and maintain ALL the Ventana trails? Even the ones currently long lost?
Samuel

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Samuel »

Date Hiked: May 16, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

First off the connector trail [ED: from Los Padres Dam] - huge thanks to whoever worked on that. May add distance but now the watershed is safely accessible.

Next - as previously noted, trial is in great shape for first couple miles or so. Numerous dead-falls and wash-outs beyond this zone make it slow going compared to last time I was here in 2018 / 2019. Even under normal conditions it's easy to loose the tread, but now it definitely gets lost in several places completely. Save for the flagging, also previously mentioned, it would be difficult to follow. Wanted to get to Hiding canyon but due to time constraints only got about 75% of the way there. On the return I opted to wade / swim in the river as opposed to re-experiencing the overgrowth and dead-fall on a length of trail between Buckskin and Sulfur Springs. A couple washouts in this area and beyond look potentially dangerous.

Every camp I saw was in good shape.
Guest

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Guest »

Date Hiked: April 29, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Coming from China Camp, went to Pine Valley. From the Church Creek divide to Pine Valley there was some dead fall on the trail and in some parts it was brushy. You could see where the trail is at all times. The trail intersects parts of where the river rose to. On the way out we saw some VWA volunteers clearing the trail. Also saw two people with their two pack horses clearing the trees. Thank you for all the good work! It was hot enough to see a rattlesnake about 2m from the trail. He was hissing and about 1.5-2m long. River had some flow, but nothing exaggerated. Beautiful place!
Michael H

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Michael H »

Date Hiked: April 10, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

As part of a loop hike I hiked up the river from Carmel River Camp to Church creek divide. I'll have to reiterate what others have said. From Carmel river camp to Buckskin flat the trail is a bit faint sometimes but is an easy hike. The water was high and fast moving at spots so I'd recommend a few weeks wait for shorter folks to try this. There was much evidence of extreme flooding and logjams along the hike but the trail was mostly intact and the camps mostly unscathed. South of Buckskin the trail is much more faint, though there are generally flags to show the way and all the river crossings are flagged. The trail from Hiding Camp to the intersection to the trail to Round Rock Camp is about the same. A little faint with some encroaching brush but not that bad. South of that the brush gets thicker all the way down to hiding creek, but is still passable. The trail along hiding creek has very evident tread along most of the way but the thick growth is encroaching and the trail meanders back and forth across the creek in this thick growth. There are lots of flags so it's hard to get lost but there are fallen trees everywhere and the undergrowth sometimes makes turns hard to see. I cut a lot of fallen trees (birch?) out of the way but there is soooo much more. Two years ago I hiked this trail in the same direction and was relived to find a well maintained trail after climbing most of the way out of hiding creek canyon but this year that section of trail was so overgrown that I had to crawl under chamise for a long time. The most I've ever had to crawl on a hike. It was horrible after the exhausting hike along the creek. I had the most ticks on me that I'd ever seen.

There are a few slides on the trail a bit south of the intersection to Round Rock Camp that are very dangerous and steep. Two years ago I tamped a path across with a log but this time I was more in a rush. They're pretty sketchy IMO.
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