Danish Camp Trail

jessicam

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by jessicam »

Date Hiked: February 24, 2024
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail with my dad for the first time in 2004 when I was a kid and we decided to hike to Danish Camp again this past weekend almost exactly 20 years later, despite the lack of recent information about trail conditions online.

We parked at the dam parking lot at around 10am on a sunny Saturday and there were only two other cars there. We knew about the slide detour and were pleased to see that it was extremely clearly marked and all in all a solid trail to walk on. There were some patches where the ground was loose where we had to cling to the cliff side where it was more solid and one fallen tree on this stretch to get over. It was exposed and steep for about the first mile and I imagine it would be rough in the summer heat.

Once we connected back with the original trail, it was relatively flat for another half mile or so until we got to the junction of the Carmel River Trail and the Big Pines Trail. We took the BPT to to right and immediately began climbing. Within five minutes walking on this section of the trail, I found ten ticks on me. I am not exaggerating when I say I found over one hundred ticks on me in total. I just tucked my socks into my pants, tucked my shirt into my waistband, and was stopping every minute or so to check and flick. The the climb from the junction up to the ridge and the descent from the ridge to Danish were the tickiest sections for sure, which is expected this time of year.

The trail in general was overgrown but passable for anyone comfortable with the constant tick and unavoidable poison oak situation. There were a few small fallen trees to get over and overgrowth nearly the whole way. Around 3/4 of the way up from the junction to the ridge, there is a section that is fairly difficult to manage. There is a large fallen tree in the trail that is almost too big to climb over and must be maneuvered around. We got around it by going up and around it on the right but we had to be careful with our footing. Directly after that, there is a section of fallen manzanita trees that have to be weaved through. These fallen trees had to be ducked under and I got caught and stuck a couple of times. I think some might have turned around at that point, as the trail appears quite impassable. With patience and a slight sense of humor, this section shouldn't stop anyone from continuing.

After getting around that issue and passing a small beehive on the left, the ridge is only a few minutes away. It's one of the most gorgeous viewpoints in the area and a definite highlight of the hike. When I hiked this trail in the summertime of 2004, I had my only close encounter with a rattlesnake ever up there on the ridge but luckily wasn't treated to the same experience this time around. There were flags indicating the trail and it was never an issue knowing which path to follow even when tread was not extremely evident.

After walking for about 1/2 mile on the ridge, the turnoff to Danish Creek Trail is clearly marked with a metal sign. The trail down to camp is a bit less than a mile and very overgrown in parts. There were several sections where all we could do was cover our heads with our forearms and push through. I picked up many ticks in this part as well. After all the recent rains, there was water flowing on the trail as well which was interesting to see. Shortly before arriving to camp, there was another fallen tree which we were actually able to pick up between the two of us and move off the trail.

The camp itself was in good condition. We camped at the site that emerges right as the trail ends with the fire pit and rake. There is another camp off to the left under an enormous ancient oak that also has a fire pit and grill. Tons of flat spaces to put a tent. No issues with flies or mosquitos but many spiders and a couple more ticks. The creek was high and flowing rapidly. Access to the creek was slightly overgrown albeit very close to the campsite. Lots of wood to start a fire. We didn't sleep well because of the cold but the sound of the water was lovely to hear at night.

Overall this trail is definitely doable, and I hope more people give it a go in the near future. My 57 year old father made it no problem while carrying heavy ham radio gear which he set up at camp and was able to get connected on. I'm not in the best shape in the world either but we didn't have any issues with it. Hope to visit again soon!
Tony Gonella

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by Tony Gonella »

Date Hiked: April 30, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Did a one-nighter out to Danish Camp on 4/29-4/30. Was able to park at the Los Padres Reservoir lot. The dirt road from Cachagua Park was a little rutted out from rain, but easily passable. Even saw a Prius in the lot, so pretty much anything can make it to the lot.

The first section past the reservoir is easy--basically a well maintained fire road. The fence to the trailhead was not open, but you can easily go around the gate. The first mile or so is strenuous due to the detour around a recent slide. Trail is easy to follow. Poison oak and narrow trail/steep drop-offs are the main cautions to be aware of. Miles 2 and 3 are beautiful meandering single track with slight poison oak overgrowth and heavy Chemise. Just before the summit and descent down toward Danish Creek there is one section about 75 feet long that is heavily overgrown with Chemise and Poison Oak. The Poison Oak is unavoidable through this stretch. Recommend wrapping yourself in a tarp or similar, putting head down, and charging through it. You'll be rewarded with a stunning view of the valley and surrounding ranges. Also mostly downhill from here. There are a couple smaller creeks in this section to fill water up. Danish Creek is not much further though and is a much better spot.

Our group found the main camp right off the trail as you descend toward the creek. Not sure if this was the "official" Danish Camp or not. GPS shows Danish Camp as another hundred yards or so up stream, but we found this location to be unmaintained and basically at the coordinates of Rattlesnake and Danish Creeks converging. There was no camp here as far as we could see, but possible we missed it or it's overgrown. There were trail markers at the convergence which might carry on to Rattlesnake Camp. We did not go further than the junction of Danish and Rattlesnake Creeks. Newts were abundant. Watch your step by the water.

Danish Camp had a rock fire pit with grill grate. There is some rock seating as well. The beauty in the evening is stunning.

Moderate ticks throughout most of the trail and mosquitos were fairly heavy at camp. Bring insect repellant and check for ticks regularly.
Gmeyer

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by Gmeyer »

Date Hiked: April 15, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Our group hiked up the Big Pines Trail from the dam and found that section passable but in places near the saddle, heavily overgrown with poison oak. At the junction to the Danish Creek Trail I was thrilled to see a very sturdy and well-placed METAL sign marking the trail. In a forest with frequent fires, metal signs make sense and that is why the Southern Los Padres has been using them for years. Three cheers for the VWA Rangers that put that in place.

The trail into Danish Creek is "passably difficult" and the flagging by the VWA trail crew is very helpful so the route is manageable. The trail tread needs a lot of work and the sides of the trail are very overgrown thereby pushing hikers off the edge of the tread regularly. We were able to clear one downed tree off the trail and made it into camp with minor scratches.

The camp was beautiful as always, the meadow full of flowers.
dmw

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by dmw »

Date Hiked: January 23, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The signpost at the junction with Big Pines trail is evident on the ridgetop. The trail is clear down to the camp. There is a machete hanging on a tree in the camp.
seagoat1724
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by seagoat1724 »

Date Hiked: October 24, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Between Big Pines Trail and Danish Creek Camp
Trail is wilderness freeway. Steep and a little slippery sometimes. Some ticks.
User avatar
jack_glendening
Posts: 713
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: November 12, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The section from the ridge (Big Pines Trail) down to Danish Creek Camp is apparent and without significant obstructions, the "high grass" location mentioned by the previous report now having orange flags marking the route - but there can be some confusion there since a well-defined track (likely deer) leaves the trail to ascend there. I'd rate this section "clear".

From Danish Creek Camp to the Rattlesnake Creek Trail intersection, the trail basically follows the creek but without any real tread to follow, so should be considered "passable" if you know where the trail goes, "difficult" if you don't.

Based on above, am giving "passable" rating for the entire trail.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
Corpus

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by Corpus »

Date Hiked: July 8, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Tall grass inundates the trail. I lost the trail in an area where the trail ascends a narrow gully and the weeds on the trail are over head-high. Hap's chair remains, but only the cabin stove and bed frame remain of Hap's cabin (along the rattlesnake trail where it departs the Danish creek).
alanh

Danish Creek Falls

Post by alanh »

Date Hiked: July 6, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This is NOT a report for Danish Camp Trail, but rather for hiking up Danish Creek from its crossing on the Carmel River Trail to the waterfall bit over half a mile upstream. I thought some people might be interested in some info on this great side trip.

This is hiking right in the creek, scrambling over rocks, etc. It took me about 35 minutes each way, going at a pretty good pace. At the time I hiked, there was only one place where the creek depth all the way across would have been up to my waist. Fortunately it was easy to go on land for this short section, which was just a few minutes in from the start. The rest of the way the depth ranged from my ankles up to my knees. The pool at the waterfall is very nice; I'd estimate around 10 feet deep under the falls which is 15-20 feet high. There is a fallen tree underwater, so watch out for bumping that when swimming. It seems to have only a few branches, and one of them sticks up out of the water to warn you of what's underneath.

Editor (JG) note: the report reads as if he remained in/along the creek the entire time. Note that it is possible to circumvent the falls itself by climbing up and over a small ridge near the falls where the creek makes a horseshoe bend (requires a small backtrack to visit the falls and pool).
paultuff

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by paultuff »

Date Hiked: May 29, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Danish trail is in pretty good shape although you frequently have to wade through the growth growing over the trail. But my Difficult rating is for the old road that runs up to Big Pines Trail from the remains of the first cabin (mentioned in Larry's March report).

The old road, which starts off next to the cabin, forks not too far up. Larry said he had an easy time hiking up, so I'm assuming he took the right fork, which you can see next to the white line on the Google Earth image you can link to if you copy the address below. The left fork, which shows the route I took, is nearly impassable in places due to downed trees and thick growth. This trail used to be in great shape, like the time I hiked down it with (I think it was) the Sierra Club a decade or three ago. I still use this route, and it appears a few others do too, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. If anyone is interested in doing some trail work here, let me know! vwaatpauldavidtuffdotcom.

http://http://www.pauldavidtuff.com/ima ... Danish.jpg
Larry Parrish

Re: Danish Camp Trail

Post by Larry Parrish »

Date Hiked: March 12, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Taking a scouting hike before my Sierra Club hike on March 20, Stanley Dudek and myself took along hand clippers and a small saw to clip this trail that gets overgrown every year. I have been doing this hike every spring for a number of years, and each year it seems to get more overgrown. It was apparent that we were the first hikers of the season to take this trail as it was fairly impassable in places and there was no evidence of anyone whacking their way through the brush.

After leaving the Carmel River trail at the Big Pines turnoff, we encountered lots of poison oak, which we clipped down to about knee level. There was also some smallish deadfall, which we also cleared. Right before reaching the ridge was a 50' tunnel of poison oak and ceonothus, which we spent about 1/2 hour on before getting through to the open ridge. Very brushy along the ridge trail, but luckily very few ticks. Easy enough to get through, but not what I would call a clean trail.

After turning down the Danish Camp Trail, we once again clipped poison oak and removed what deadfall we could with limited tools. But, the trail is now easily passable and what deadfall remains can be easily skirted or climbed over. Once reaching the campsite and after lunch, we ventured upstream to the old cabin site. We didn't do much more clipping, and there was substantial deadfall between sites but the route can be managed without too much difficulty. The creek was too high to skirt along, so we had to scramble up a rocky slope about 30' and eventually reached what remains of the cabin - basically a pile of corrugated tin. We took the old road back up to the Big Pines Trail without much difficulty and then another road back down to the River Trail and back to the dam.

On the official Sierra Club hike the next week,there were 4 backpackers at Danish Camp - grateful that we had cleared the trail the week before, otherwise they would not have been able to get through. Hopefully this trail gets used a bunch this year and continues to be opened up. Like most things, use it or lose it.
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