Ventana Wilderness Forums • Gamboa Trail
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Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2023 9:41 pm
by karsten
Date Hiked: October 22, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This report concerns the Gamboa Trail from the Carrizo Springs Trail to the Trail Spring Camp. The trail is almost completely missing in major sections coming down from the North Coast Ridge Road, such that it is easier to walk cross country, as the vegetation is pretty open here (though the terrain is steep). Later, the trail is heavily overgrown, with many fallen trees, making progress difficult. In the downhill direction, it is not too bad, but uphill I recommend taking the Cone Peak Trail and North Coast Ridge Trail when trying to get from Cone Peak to the Carrizo Trail.
There was plenty of water at Trail Spring Camp in October 2023 (before the rainy season started, though it was a wet year).

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2023 11:36 pm
by evanswa0606
Date Hiked: August 11, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Did this trail on a day trip via carrizo to access cone peak country/devil's canyon. From NCRT to the first drainage crossing, the tread is in generally OK condition. Yerba santa in some parts reaches 4ft high and is on top of the trail. Best way to follow the trail without GPS(which is, in my opinion, necessary for this trail) is to follow the trampled segments of yerba santa and another shrub that is widespread throughout the burned areas both on gamboa and carrizo (I'm not quite sure of the name but it has a fragile yellow stem, grows to about 6 ft, and disperses 100s of seeds that stick to clothes when moved in the slightest). From the 1st drainage to trail springs, the yerba santa and the other plant generally grow taller, and combine with widespread deadfall to make it miserable. What I found particularly annoying was when the overgrown brush obscured deadfall that made me trip a couple of times. At this point, the tread is not really visible at all and I would consider a GPS or prior knowledge of the trail/area necessary. At trail springs water is in low flow, I'd expect a trickle by the start of September. From trail springs on, PO is everywhere, often reaching into/across the trail. While the tread to Ojito Saddle is always defined, PO is, in some places, unavoidable. In places, ceanothus conceals PO that encroaches across the trail at head height amidst deadfall, making it hard to combat all 3 annoyances at once. In other parts, however, the tread is well-defined and clear of any brush/deadfall at all. Approaching Ojito saddle, there is a mild brush tunnel, but nothing impassible by any means. Overall, while the trail does pass through a beautiful area of old-growth sugar pines and santa lucia firs, I found myself trying to fight the brush and avoid PO more often than I was able to appreciate the remarkable forest.

Gamboa Trail - Good Tread and Mostly Clear (Except for PO XD)

Posted: Tue May 30, 2023 2:22 pm
by veganhredder
Date Hiked: May 27, 2023
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked this as a connection from Carrizo Trail to Ojito Camp on the first day of a backpacking trip. Everything Zac mentioned below is still true.
- First section of Gamboa Trail E to W is a bit brushy, and you have to head off trail to get around some blowdowns.
- Next section through the switchbacks is recovering from the Dolan Fire, so tons of fire following wildflowers and shrubs. Yerba Santa is doing it's best to reclaim the trail so we did our best to stomp it out lol.
- 50+ yards before Trail Springs Camp there are several brushy blowdowns that force you off trail and upslope. Fairly simple to navigate around, just follow your GPS to get back onto trail.
- MOUNTAIN LION SITING NEAR TRAIL SPRINGS CAMP - when we were hiking back up Gamboa, my buddy startled a mountain lion that was likely resting upslope. He saw the lion lunge away and then quiet down. This is likely a resident lion to this area since a friend saw lion prints along Cone Peak Road along the SE side of cone Peak. Only water source in the area is at Trail Springs so that makes sense.
- Trail Springs to Ojito Saddle - tread was in great condition, a couple minor blowdowns, and plenty of poison oak. Definitely recommend full coverage, sticks to push it out the way (or machete), and plenty of soap for Camp. The connection to the Ojito Saddle is filled with big brushy blowdowns so stay close to the GPS and try to fight your way through the brush.
- The trailhead of Ojito Trail is obscured by several blowdowns, so you'll need to hop over and climb through some thickets to connect to the trail, which is in fairly "good" condition despite the entrance. Definitely better than bushwacking your way to Ojito Camp.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2023 3:11 pm
by zacdalton
Date Hiked: April 21, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

North Coast Ridge Trail to Trail Spring Camp:

First 100 yards or so is really thick, had to bypass to the left. Lost the trail a couple times going down the switchbacks because it’s been overtaken by Yerba Santa in some parts. Rest of this section is fairly clear except for a 50 yard section a third mile before camp — we bypassed it pretty easily above the trail.

Trail Spring to (just before) Ojito Saddle:

Few blowdowns along this section but nothing too crazy. Cleared some pretty thick stuff by hand. Tread is in pretty good shape for most of this stretch.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:29 am
by pantilat
Date Hiked: November 13, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Gamboa Trail in its entirety is passable.

From the junction with the North Coast Ridge Trail (NCRT), the upper switchbacks pass through an area that was severely burned in the Dolan Fire with a lot of the vegetation burned to the ground. This area was previously notorious for falling snags onto the trail but those snags were largely incinerated in the fire. The tread is still very evident although yerba santa is growing vigorously in the tread in some spots. Lower down toward Trail Spring Camp the fire burned less hot although very little survived until one makes the final approach to Trail Spring Camp. Closer to Trail Spring there are a couple trees down over the trail and some brush skeletons curled onto the trail.

After the recent rains Trail Spring is flowing strong. After Trail Spring toward Ojito Gap the tread is always evident. There are a couple burned logs over the trail and also some curled brush skeletons. On this section the fire pattern is a mosaic with a few strips of severe burn but also a lot of lightly burned areas with many Sugar Pines and Santa Lucia Firs that survived. In all, I would estimate 80%+ of Sugar Pines and Santa Lucia Firs in the Cone Peak region survived the fire. In many areas the fire was beneficial to the trees clearing out accumulation of deadfall and brush under the forest canopy.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:05 pm
by geoffvirtue
Date Hiked: September 26, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We took a small group through the cone peak lollipop this weekend.

Cone Peak down to trail camp is difficult. There are multiple washouts and 3-6 foot diameter redwoods down on the switchbacks. Be prepared to scramble up, down, under, and around. The tread needs to be rerouted around the larger trees or cut with a large band saw. The spring is flowing at Trail Spring but the camp could use some TLC.

Trail Spring to the Ojai Camp sign is passable. No tread is evident from Ojai Camp sign to the camp itself, I would mark that as impassable.

Note about further on: Stone Ridge Trail from Ojai Camp sign to Goat camp is impassable. There is a major washout on the descent of the switchbacks down into goat camp and the tread is not evident. Be careful of the false tread leading in the wrong direction down the wash. You absolutely need an accurate GPX to get through here. The entire descent is overgrown once you do find tread and stinging nettle is out in force. It's going to take a lot of effort to reroute this section and you will need experience building tread. The entire ridge-side burned and the ground is loose and prone to mudslides since nothing has regrown in the burn scar yet. Need someone to put flagging on the trail before I think it can be marked difficult. Highly concerned folks will get lost or hurt out here. Please do not attempt without accurate GPX and significant knowledge of Ventana/route finding.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:37 pm
by snwy
Date Hiked: August 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Yikes, this trail is going to need some work before it’s fun to hike again, it’s easy enough to see where it goes but the tread has been damaged and obstructed by burned up downfall in numerous places. Laborious, dirty hiking. No water at Trail Spring.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:21 pm
by awbell
Date Hiked: June 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from North Coast Ridge Trail down to Trail Spring and the Cone Peak Trail junction. Quite a bit of encroaching brush, but all can be pushed through without too much trouble. Some poison oak but it was easy to avoid. Plenty of water at Trail Spring.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:59 pm
by AaronP
Date Hiked: March 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The tunnel of bushes after goat camp towards gamboa is a little bit of a mess. Can be cleared with loppers and a small handsaw. Camped at trail springs camp during a storm last weekend and had 2 trees fall into the camp during the night. Think I slept for only a couple hours that night and was praying the rest. That’ll be the last time I decide to camp at the bottom of a canyon with 35 mph winds during a rain/snow storm. The two trees that fell into camp can be cleared with a longer handsaw. No crosscut required. There’s one larger downed tree on the way up to the saddle from there that will require a crosscut.

Re: Gamboa Trail

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:11 pm
by amburnj
Date Hiked: February 2, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trail from Goat camp climbing the ridge on Gamboa to Trail Camp is very hard to pass. There is one over growth were we had to take our packs off and crawl under the limbs. Other sections are extremely low hanging.