Stone Ridge Trail

sangeetkhalsa

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by sangeetkhalsa »

Date Hiked: January 28, 2024
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Vicente Flat to Middle Fork Camp. The first section through the oaks was clear and easy to follow, occasional poison oak on the edges but avoidable. When the trail climbs up into the open scrub the tread progressively becomes narrower and off-kilter, with occasional small blowouts and encroaching deerweed. Long pants advised. Continuing on to the section on the west facing slope there are quite a few brushy deadfalls and fallen tree trunks of various sizes, but easy enough to navigate over, under or around. More poison oak along the trail here, but not too much other shrub encroachment/overgrowth. The creek was flowing well and temp was relatively warm (ie--not freezing!). Otter-hopped up to a big beautiful waterfall further up the creek from Middle Fork Camp!
driggsy
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:22 am

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by driggsy »

Date Hiked: January 13, 2024
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We "ran" this section from Vicente Flat to the Stone Ridge Firebreak/Spine. For about half of a mile, the trail was a little brushy but solid. Then it was very brushy for awhile, ripping up our shins at a running pace and in shorts. On the descent to Limekiln Creek, it got a little less brushy but there were a lot more trees down, ranging from small diameter but very branchy trees to maybe 12 inch diameter trees. Probably 5-10 downed trees in total. One in particular made following the trail hard for about a minute, but the GPS and general looking around helped solve the puzzle. Overall, tough but not horrible to the creek.

The west side of the creek was a different story. The trail wasn't too hard to follow, but there were so many branchy trees over it that we decided it was more efficient to cut uphill off trail and meet back up with the trail later. So that was what we did, and the last 0.7 of the trail before Stone Ridge was pretty solid and clear. We're not sure if we made the right call or not, but we didn't regret it.

Overall, kind of awful but definitely beautiful and worth it (once, or at least until it gets maintained again, if it does ever).
Danny DeGeorge
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2022 8:14 am

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by Danny DeGeorge »

Date Hiked: October 28, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Twitchel Use Trail to Ojito Camp. Use trail was easily passable.

Stone Ridge Trail to Goat Camp: Passable as well, did some lopping and removed a couple dead falls to make the trail more pleasant.

Goat Camp to Ojito Camp Trail intersection: Passable, Lopped encroaching brush and removed deadfall. This section has a couple bad washouts towards the top that can make finding the trail a little difficult but definitely passable.

Trail to Ojito Camp: was pretty much impassible, however we did a rough cut down to the camp so it is now passable
klucas

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by klucas »

Date Hiked: June 21, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Vicente Flats to the Middle Fork of Limekiln Creek. My intent was to get to the Sea to Sky junction and camp there, but I turned back at the Middle Fork of Limekiln Creek due to poor trail conditions.

From Vicente Flats to the ridge between Hare Canyon and the Middle Limekiln---clear to passable.

There is a ton of encroaching deerweed, often you have to walk on top of it. It appears some hikers have gone before me, because it was stomped down in many places. The tread is starting to wear out on the downslope side in many places, but it is almost always very clear where it is. There is a lot of encroaching branches that are more of an annoyance than a real obstacle. Poison oak in many places. There are a number of fallen trees, mostly small, that should be removed. Hand saw and loppers could suffice for most of it, but a big saw might be helpful on a couple of them. Just outside of Vicente Flats there is a big fallen oak over the trail with branches everywhere. In this section of trail, all the treefalls had pathways around them.

From the ridge between Hare Canyon and the Middle Limekiln---passable to difficult/impassable.

I emphatically recommend using GPX if you dare to connect between the Middle Fork and Sea to Sky junction. Going east to west, the tread is visible and easy to follow at first, but as you descend, it gets brushier, and there are more treefalls, all of which require climbing, ducking, or crawling. There are false game trails that can easily divert you off trail. Exercise patience and routefinding. The ground is steep, slippery, brushy, burned logs can break underfoot, etc. Switchbacks become faint as you approach the bottom of the canyon where there are redwoods and tanoaks. The bottom of the gorge has a lot of burn damage and fallen trees. A large treefall that covers two switchbacks can be circumnavigated, but be warned, soon after that there is a switchback with visible tread that seemingly fades into nothing. The trail apparently dissolves about 100 ft above the creek. I descended to the creek in search of the lost tread, but there were many false paths, natural benches, eroded slopes. The combination of Dolan Fire and the rainy winter has made crossing the Middle Fork of Limekiln Creek trecherous. I was unfamiliar with this location, and I did not upload GPX before going, so I did not know where the old trail was. It may still be there, and I simply missed it from all the brush, etc. Nevertheless, I recommend only attempting this section if you have plenty of experience in the Ventana backcountry, have plenty of daylight, GPX, and understand the importance of being able to self-rescue in the event something goes wrong. After an hour of searching, I turned back and camped on the ridge between Middle Limekiln and Hare Canyon.

Otherwise, the trail was golden and purple and pink and white with flowers. Deerweed in massive bloom and many flower blooms have been unseasonably prolonged thanks to the cool spring.

Stone Ridge Trail is truly a gem. I want to echo the previous report user Hoser, it deserves trail crew love. Probably 40+ man-hours on the deerweed and more than that on the treefalls and missing tread.
Hoser
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 3:12 pm

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by Hoser »

Date Hiked: July 2, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats. There is a very large redwood over the trail but it is not difficult to duck under. Removing this redwood would cause more damage than leaving it. From Vicente Flats out to Hare Ridge there are no dead falls on the trail.

There is a lot of plant growth on the uphill side of the trail causing people to walk beside the original trail. The original trail is much flatter than the new off trail paths most of the time. This trail is in serious need of some trail crew love. Still, a wonderful hike as usual!
Todd Perkins
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:58 am

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by Todd Perkins »

Date Hiked: March 16, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

In the Limekiln Creek drainage between the "apex" (intersection with Stone Ridge Firebreak Usetrail) and the ridge above Vicente Flat Camp there were ~10 large trees down that had relatively easily passable use trails around them. Good, easy to follow, often rocky tread except a few minor washouts also easily passed, with no dangerous spots. Bushes and much poison oak beginning to encroach upon trail, but not requiring "pushing through." Generous water flow in Limekiln Creek.
Sammich

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by Sammich »

Date Hiked: January 17, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Between the intersection with the Stone Ridge Firebreak and Vicente Flat Campground, the tread is almost always evident, however there are many deadfalls, and the trail is overgrown in some areas. Pretty much all of the deadfalls have some kind of use trail that skirts them. I did this portion in the dark and managed to find my without too much difficulty. The only part where we really lost the trail for a bit was shortly after getting on the trail from the firebreak when the trail enters into the woods from the meadows.

After Vicente Flat, it was difficult to stay on trail and we were scrambling through the creek bed until it being unsustainable and we realized that we were off-trail at a certain point.
geoffvirtue
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:10 pm

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by geoffvirtue »

Date Hiked: September 26, 2021
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We took a small group through here on 9/27 after finishing cone peak lollipop. Conditions are bad post Dolan Fire.

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

Goat Camp to West Fork Limekiln Creek is passable. There is a lot of overgrowth but tread is still evident. Trail is washing out in multiple locations but can be navigated carefully. Need significant tread work for the trail to be back to clear. Expecting a lot of deadfall is going to come down during storms this winter.

Limekiln Creek to Stone Ridge Firebreak is clear. Tread is evident the entire way with some encroaching overgrowth and a lot of PO.

Stone Ridge Firebreak to East Fork Limekiln Creek is passable. Tread in good order with little overgrowth.

East Fork Limekiln Creek to Middle Fork Use Camp is impassable - the tread is completely lost in the Oak area. If you are coming from Goat look for the patch of ferns, the trail is directly to the left of it and hugs it to the right. Highly recommend someone bring flags in here to help folks. There's some deadfall near here that a 20 - 30" saw could get through as well.

Middle Fork Use Camp to Vicente Flat is passable.
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jack_glendening
Posts: 714
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: August 10, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From trail info reported emailed by the pair of backpackers I met on the east end of the Stone Peak Trail:

Between Vicente Flat Camp and the "apex" (intersection with Stone Ridge
Firebreak Usetrail) there is much downfall, scattered debris, and faint tread making the route difficult to follow, requires much exertion, and is slow. They lost the trail several times. And of course much PO.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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jack_glendening
Posts: 714
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: August 10, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hearing from someone outbound from Vicente Camp that he had tried to go up the Stone Ridge Trail but failed to find it, so gave up, I went up the first 1/4 mile to the meadow. Indeed, I lost the trail (finding an old fence post, but not the trail) in a large debris area. Used GPS to get back on, from there on trail was evident, though with frequent downfall. Met 2 hikers coming up after me, who also lost the trail then re-found it. Their plan was to ascend Cone Peak and overnight at Trail Spring Camp, a grand traverse, so hope to hear a report from them on trail conditions they found (which I encouraged) after they return.

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