Manuel Peak Trail

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VWA_Ranger
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by VWA_Ranger »

Date Hiked: October 14, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: CLOSED, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is closed per Forest Order 05-07-51-20-22
Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires, No Stoves in backcountry. Cold Camping Only.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Big Sur State Park up the first 3 miles of the Mt. Manuel Trail. They maintained a few signs and did some spot brushing along the trail. They met a few visitors on their journey as well.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Big Sur State Park to USFS Wilderness Boundary. - Clear with no obstacles

USFS Wilderness Boundary for the next mile - The trail deteriorates with lots of uneven and off camber tread. Brush is encroaching along the trail.

Note: Per the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and LPNF USFS Websites this trail is still closed to the general public at this time.

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DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
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jdoelman
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: April 18, 2020
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Followed the trail from its intersection with the Little Sur trail. The sign is gone at that location, but the roll of chicken wire that has been there for decades is still there. I followed the trail for maybe a mile toward Launtz before I gave up.
ptfleischman
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:36 pm

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by ptfleischman »

Date Hiked: March 6, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I went three miles up. Beautifully graded. Narrow but no major poison oak problems, though would recommend long pants and sleeves. Ticks present. No water in creekbeds. Water has eroded the trail in places. Virtually empty on a weekday morning. Highway noise fades once the trail turns north. Lovely swaths of purple ceanothus. The trail steepens and is said to be more overgrown beyond the Ventana Wilderness border, but the first three miles were great.
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jdoelman
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: February 8, 2020
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I followed the historic portion of the Manuel trail from the approximate location of the old Tin House trail junction (the sign advertising 3-miles to Vado is still there). This section of trail is in better than anticipated condition, it was followable with some care until reaching the grassy minor ridgeline just above Vado. It is expedient to descend the grassy ridgeline to a point where the dense brush gives way to some marble outcroppings and an easy grassy slope leads northward down the regain the trail.
Along the way I noted several Cairns and some old flagging (though no flagging or cairns were noted in the area where the trail was lost above Vado).
Proceeding from Vado north toward Launtz camp I was not able to locate where the trail leaves the Little Sur River ascending towards Launtz. Maybe I will try again someday.
seagoat1724
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by seagoat1724 »

Date Hiked: December 2, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Editor's Note: this report describes conditions from December, 2018.

Between Little Sur Trail and Launtz and Vado
Trail is impassable or does not exist anymore. Hike becomes more of a creekbed walk, as the ridges are overgrown, steep, with lots of tree falls so is best to walking the creek for fastest going.
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jdoelman
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Fancy image of Manuel Trail
ToVado.png
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jdoelman
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: January 27, 2019
General Condition: Difficult

This report is for the "historic" portion of trail from the Mt Manuel firebreak down to Vado. Heading northward from where the trail leaves the firebreak(at elev 3554), down to elevation 2600 feet where the trail crosses a minor drainage, I found very little sign of the original trail. In this area the hillside is sparsely treed and no dense brush, so it was easy to traverse without the trail.
From 2600 ft northward, the trail is usable with some difficulties when crossing each of the 3 redwood side-canyons. At these canyons I failed to follow the old footbed and descended down to the water, then up the other side to regain the trail. Each of these trail bypasses was no more than 100 yards (I think).
When approaching Vado, I found it necessary to descent the minor ridge west of Vado, rather than follow the trail. I followed the crest of the ridge downhill toward Vado (about 300ft) while keeping the dense brush just to my left. When the brush ended, I headed down and west along a canopied slope to regain the trail.
A short foray north from Vado toward Launtz was not successful as the Little Sur river was not easily crossable and I was not up for the challenge.
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jack_glendening
Posts: 703
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: September 14, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I'd heard a firecrew had worked on the trail but no details, such as how far they'd gotten, so went out to see for myself. This report covers the trail up to the ridgeline. [This was also a foot testing hike for me, since I've been trying to recover from foot problems for over 2 months - in fact, I tried to do this hike just last week but had to turn around after only 2 miles due to foot pain. Since I'm able to make this report today shows progress is being made!]

The good news is that the trail is in the best shape its been since the 2016 fires. Brush has been cleared along the entire route, though the corridor is narrow at times. The tread is in decent shape to the wilderness boundary but then starts to deteriorate, becoming rough and tricky to negotiate in spots. It is thin (boot width) at times, often sloped, and sometimes two layered. Beyond the seasonal spring (which I marked with a green ribbon to keep from being forgotten, since the use trail leading to it is now indistinguishable) I had to continually watch where I placed my feet. The worst section was from where the trail turns north, with the VDC being visible, to the ridgeline.

In many places the tread created by the firecrew departs from the smooth ascent of the old trail, instead dropping down then having to awkwardly ascend to get back to the old trail. Don't know whether they were following small usetails which had been created when there was a lot of brush on the trail or whether they simply followed the path of least resistance. In places the current tread is very un-trail-like, with relatively steep ascents/descents and sometimes has had steps kicked into it, like a ladder. Just below the ridgeline, new tread has been created to reach the ridgeline earlier, and more steeply, than the old trail. Interestingly, the old trail tread was _also_ cleared but then later blocked with brush on both ends - for some reason they seem to have decided to divert people to the new tread instead.

I found a pole _very_ useful in helping to deal with the rough sections, particularly on descent. There are no dangerous slide sections, as there have been in the past and may be again if we get strong rains, but a mis-step can easily cause a fall at many, many spots. So you do have to keep your eyes on the trail. Since the views along the trail are often wonderful, I found myself stopping so I could enjoy them and then pushing on again.

Jack

PS: I saw a condor on the hike, circling in a more stately manner than vultures do - so keep an eye out for them.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
Jpdoelman

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Jpdoelman »

Date Hiked: May 13, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Descended from Post summit by Manuel saddle to the Manuel trail then followed it to Vado camp. The trail was hard to follow in places. I missed some parts of the trail but always managed to find it again to proceed. Above the switchchbacks near Vado I did some x-country but gained the trail again in 1/4 mile. Put up some flagging so I can find the trail easier next time
Todd Perkins
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:58 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Todd Perkins »

Date Hiked: April 22, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)
View from false summit of Manuel Peak trail as it reaches bulldozed ridge with low brush.
View from false summit of Manuel Peak trail as it reaches bulldozed ridge with low brush.
Described route: Up East Molera -> Post Summit -> Cabezon Preto Ridge -> Manuel Peak -> Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. If you are hiking up Molera Peak from Pfeiffer Big Sur, read this report from bottom to top.

Trail to Post Summit is wilderness freeway up past the Redwoods and the Golden Staircase. The left turn cutoff to the saddle to Post Summit is indistinct. The trail up Post Summit is similar to prior years. It was previously bulldozed and has many gravel sections easy to slip on coming back down.

The trail to Cabezo Prieto Ridge and across to Manuel Peak has been bulldozed and has ankle to waist high brush in patches, easy to get past for now. It likely will fill in and become difficult.

From Manuel Peak false summit down the west side of the ridge the trail passes 50 yards of brush tunnel followed by open trail. Hikers are cutting the switchbacks and creating erosion by descending directly down the steep face of false summit. There are a few more areas of brush, one detour around a tree, and some sections of narrow trail with steep drop-offs descending the east, then south side of the ridge. Two miles down from Manuel down to Pfeiffer State Park the trail widens to freeway width with passing lanes thanks to recent VWA trail work.

Enjoy this trail before the brush fills in the ridges at the top!
Attachments
Cabezo Preito Ridge showing bulldozed trail and ankle to waist high brush, easily passable.
Cabezo Preito Ridge showing bulldozed trail and ankle to waist high brush, easily passable.
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