Skinner Ridge Trail

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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:51 am

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by sfrake »

Date Hiked: May 14, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This is an update of the report below. From the Turner Creek Trail junction to Devil's Peak, the trail is now clear. What a contrast from two months ago! The rest of the report below is still generally apt. Thanks so much to whoever did the trail work!

The short section that I mentioned below up to Pat Springs is technically part of the VDC Trail, and I'd consider it now passable, but there's heavy chaparral to push through.
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:51 am

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by sfrake »

Date Hiked: March 26, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

My son and I attempted a hike to VDC from The Hoist on 3/26, but the going was so slow that we ended up turning around well short (the base of Uncle Sam Mountain).

The Skinner Ridge Trail was passable-difficult up to Devils Peak, with a number of blowdowns (on our return, we opted to go straight down the old fire wasn't much faster, but we were tired of negotiating fallen trees by that point).

It was passable-clear from Devils Peak to the junction with the Big Pines Trail. From there it got slower. Up to Pat Springs, which also includes a short section of the Ventana Double Cone Trail, it was passable-difficult (see the VDC Trail report).
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: April 3, 2022
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Turner Creek Junction to the Pat Springs area the trail is clear. The tread in the grassy areas is a little uneven with grass growing in it.

Note that the set of switchbacks on the north side of the ridge between Devils Peak and the Pine Creek Trail/Comings Camp junction (which was the original tread) is no longer in use and presumed to have a lot of deadfall and brush growth. The "trail" now heads straight down the firebreak ridgeline in a short but steep pitch.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by geoffvirtue »

Date Hiked: February 6, 2022
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Bumped into John trail running back here on Sunday. Was a beautiful weekend to summit VDC and the trail is in great shape.

[Wilderness Freeway] Turner Creek to Pat Springs via Skinner Ridge - Trail is wilderness freeway from where Skinner Ridge picks up from Turner Creek. Tread was recently cleared by locals and was a pleasure to walk. Coming up into Devil's Peak is a hard ascent so be prepared, the reward on a clear day is beautiful though.

Last water we encountered on trail was following Turner Creek though if you cut down to Comings Cabin you'd be able to grab some additional.

Very little PO on the trail, though 1 or 2 patches, so make sure you have long pants on. No ticks present in this section.

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by willlma »

Date Hiked: April 18, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked from the Hoist on Palo Colorado Road to Pat Springs campsite via Long Ridge Road, Turner Creek trail, and Skinner Ridge trail. When we arrived on Skinner Ridge trail, looking toward Botcher's gap, the trail had little tread. Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) volunteers cleared sections of the Turner Creek trail and the portion of Skinner Ridge trail up to Devil's peak, which is now clear and easy to follow. The ridge after Devil's Peak was clear (and beautiful). The final section after the Big Pines intersection was also passable, and looked like it had been recently cleared.

Trails that led off our route all looked difficult. Big Pines didn't really have a defined tread and Comings Camp looked a little overgrown (though that's just grass so other than ticks I don't think it would be hard to follow).
Alan Harder

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by Alan Harder »

Date Hiked: February 8, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Turner Creek Trail junction to Ventana Double Cone Trail junction.

Heading up Devil's Peak I didn't see much tread, but just followed the ridge and got there fine; shows trail left of the ridge line with a switchback on the way up, so looks like I was off trail for this part.

From here all the way to VDC Trail the trail is well defined and mostly clear. I only had trouble when heading down towards the junction with Big Pines Trail, and back on up the way out; there are several branches and it is unclear which is the actual trail.
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Skinner Ridge Trail from Bottchers Gap

Post by MarkMoeh »

Date Hiked: June 12, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Went out to check the condition of Bottchers Gap, Skinner Ridge Trail, and if it was possible to get to Mt. Carmel, Pat Springs, etc from that direction.
Palo Colorado Road is closed about 3.5 miles before Bottchers Gap. There are several washouts along the road, so it will still take a while to repair. No evidence of road work done in some time.
The first 0.5 mile along the Skinner Ridge trail was waist-high brush, passable. Encountered 2 major downed trees and about 5 spots where tread needs minor work. Minor brushing needed along this section. Fortunately, not much PO.
After about that first 0.5 mile, the trail turned into ceanothus forest. I cleared 100 yards or so (haphazardly, was just trying to make it passable for now!). After that, I totally lost the trail. Need someone who knows the trail and has GPS tracks to flag the route for future trail work.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail to Pat Springs

Post by BP22 »

Date Hiked: June 2, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I Accessed the Turner Creek trail from Long Ridge Road. Trail is heavily overgrown with several deadfalls, and after Apple Tree camp, the trail disappears in heavy overgrowth sometimes six feet tall with lots of poison oak. The heavy rains this winter have proliferated the brush especially after the 2016 fire. From Skinner Ridge to Devils peak, The trail is apparent but is becoming heavily overgrown at times. The large path is still easy to follow. Devil's Peak to Comings camp has a very faint trail tread, but is relatively clear. From Coming's Camp to Big Pines trail junction, the trail is much better with no deadfalls and at times, ribbon marking the path. From there to Pat Springs the trail is quite clear and apparent. Overall it was pretty good with the exception of the Turner Creek/Apple tree camp trail, and the devil's peak trail.
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Jim Ringland
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Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by Jim Ringland »

Date Hiked: April 16, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

(Originally posted to the VDC Trail thread. Various reports assume different places for where the Skinner Ridge Trail ends and the Ventana Double Cone Trail begins. The definition in very first entry in this thread, for instance, puts the break point at the Turner Creek Saddle. Moved here based on ... ssion/1797.)

I hiked from the Turner Creek Trail junction to the Comings Camp junction on the 16th. On the 17th, a long dayhike that took me over to Pat Spring. Out from Comings Camp to Turner Creek on the 18th.

Section: Turner Creek Trail junction to Devil’s Peak: Passable

The situation is much as Genea wrote in March, but there are enough minor issues that I think his “Clear” is now just a little too optimistic. The brushy section has grown beyond “sparse”, although it’s not difficult to get though and there are no route-finding issues. There are several blowdows to work through/around as one heads up. About half way up, where the trail gets close the spine of the ridge but doesn’t quite reach it, the trail but makes a sharp switchback turn, about 150 degrees. I managed to miss the turn *both* times, eastbound on the 16th and westbound on the 18th. The junction is just slightly brushy and there is a false trail ahead from the switchback. Not a huge problem, but the second time I went a ways before I even realized I had made a mistake.

It’s still early for flowers, but there are lots and lots of baby blue eyes out on the some of the hillsides.

Section: Devils Peak to Pat Spring: Clear

Beyond Devil’s Peak the route is either well-defined trail or a quite follow-able gentle rut in the grass.

About 1/2 mile east of Devil’s Peak the trail once dipped into the oak-and-madrone forest, switchbacking down under the trees rather than heading straight down a steep grassy bank. As YNVNE_1 noted, that forest section is blocked by brush and the steep grassy slope is the route of choice right now. Those switchbacks only went in sometime in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, so I think this is just a return to an earlier trail routing. On the 18th, I explored that switchback section a bit more. The lower entrance is blocked by about 50’ of not-too-large (chest high) Ceanothus. It’s not that difficult to work through it. Behind, the old trail is present and in reasonably good shape. I followed the switchbacks up. It’s a mess up top, though, with a very brushy deadfall mixed in the more of that chest-high Ceanothus, all on a fairly steep slope. I made it around the deadfall and through the bushes, but it was slow. The good news is that, as at the bottom, the brushy stretch was short: only 50 – 75 feet. This switchback section certainly could be reopened with the appropriate trailwork on the ends.

East of the Comings junction there are some signs of recent trailwork: new flagging, recent saw cuts on some of the larger deadfalls. Some step-over or walk-around deadfalls remain but I don’t remember anything that required much thought.

Pat Spring Camp remains nice place, but it has taken some hits. The pines right on the spine of the ridge are intact. There’s an open camp about half way up from the spring to the highest point that remains nice too. The table has migrated up there. Below that, the place still feels forested but there are more dead and down trees. For example, the fire grate at the lower camp, where the table had been for years, is now partially under deadfall. Pat Spring itself is still pumping out water and looks pretty much as always. On all my hiking, the Pat Spring Camp area was the one place I saw pine seedlings.
gene a
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Post by gene a »

Date Hiked: March 11, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This trail between the junctions with the Turner Creek Trail and the Mount Carmel Trail is clear and has a well-defined tread. There is a minimal amount of sparse, waist-high brush in one section. A short distance uphill from the Turner Creek Trail junction the trail departs the fire break and is marked by a small cairn and some orange flagging. There was an inch of snow on the trail on the north face of Devil's Peak.
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