Salmon Creek Trail

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Jim Ringland
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by Jim Ringland »

Date Hiked: March 2, 2020
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Not much change from the recent reports. The trail is in great shape bottom to top except for the blowdown between Spruce Camp and Estrella Camps. The detour is a straightforward short scramble down to a dry streambed and back, although I can imagine more difficulty if the stream had been running energetically.

The two camps, Spruce Creek and Estrella, are in fine shape.

Spruce Creek has two camp areas, one on each side of the creek. The southern camp is larger, in a big flat under bays and oaks. No table but a large and small fire ring. The north camp is smaller, perhaps a little prettier, has a table, but no fire ring. It’s a little close to Salmon Creek, although there’s really no other option. There’s not much flat ground elsewhere. Easy crossing of Spruce Creek between the two.

Estrella too has camps on both sides of a small creek. The one on the south side is well up the hill. It has a table, fire ring, and a huge oak. There’s a nice overflow site maybe 100 yards farther to the south (farther from the stream). The north camp is a little nearer to the stream. It has a table, fire ring, grill, and even the remains of an old ice-maker stove. Lots of room too. Both Estrella camps have another amenity that I’ve not seen elsewhere in the Santa Lucias but which is common down in the San Rafael Wilderness: a full size shovel. That strikes me as a good addition for fire safety.

Flowers are scattered, mainly lower down, but many types are out: chocolate lilies, padre’s shooting stars (P. clevelandii), blue dicks, woolly paintbrush, milkmaids, western hound’s tongue, poppies (both E. californica and E. caespitosa), and what I have tentatively identified as the canyon sunflower, Venegasia carpesioides. I’m probably forgetting some.
pantilat
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: January 26, 2020
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The entire length of the trail is "Wilderness Freeway" except for the blowdown noted in the report below at the small creek between Spruce Camp and Estrella Camp which requires cutting across. The highest 1.5 miles of the trail is now a very pleasant and clear path through the chaparral, gray pines and coulter pines with excellent views down Salmon Creek and to Silver Peak (this used to be heavily overgrown).
svlaller

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by svlaller »

Date Hiked: January 11, 2020
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

We hiked to about a mile north of Estrella camp. Both Estrella and Spruce creek camps were in great condition. There were multiple fire rings and a picnic table at both camps. The trail was very easy to follow and in great shape. We hammocked at both campsites.

There was a cluster of trees that came down on one of the hairpin turns at 35.832005, -121.340036. These trees completely blocked the trail and you had to scramble across to get passed them.

Saw a good amount of poison oak in the damp areas. Nothing right on the trail and what I did see was easily avoidable.

Water was readily available at Spruce and Estrella camps.

No bugs, beautiful hike, and will be back again.
Tim

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by Tim »

Date Hiked: December 15, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Spectacular 16 mile loop today. Went Salmon Creek Trail to Ridge Road to Cruikshank Trail to Buckeye Trail.

Had ideal conditions:
- Fantastic sunny, mild weather
- Creeks flowing
- No bugs
- Clear trails
- Very little poison oak
- Very few people (saw 3 hikers & 2 backpackers)

Got a lot of great photos. Soul is fortified!
jesbrank

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by jesbrank »

Date Hiked: December 1, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail was clear and fairly easy to follow. Campsites were wide open with almost no one out on the trail and campsite since it was rainy and windy this weekend. Streams were flowing quite well with plenty of water if needed.
User avatar
gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: November 23, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Over the past few weeks VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers have been on the Salmon Creek Trail. They have removed a downed tree, hauled out the old picnic table frame at Spruce Camp, cleaned fire rings, checked the trail conditions and talked to many hikers and backpackers.

As of this writing the trail is clear to Spruce Camp. The Trail is also clear up to the slide on the Spruce Creek Trail. With the upcoming storms Spruce Creek may rise quickly making for a difficult crossing at Spruce Camp. Please plan accordingly.

Remember a few things.

1. No Campfire or Stoves in the backcountry at this time even with the recent rains.
2. Pack out all your trash.
3. Be courteous to others.
4. Have fun and take lots of pictures.

Happy Travels.
Attachments
Tree before removal.
Tree before removal.
Tree removed across the trail
Tree removed across the trail
rcmd8418
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:19 pm

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by rcmd8418 »

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

Hiked from the Salmon Creek trailhead to Estrella and camped, then hiked through to Ridge Road the following day. Trail was clear and easy to follow. As noted in a previous post, the correct path from Estrella Camp is marked with a pink ribbon. The trail was narrow the entire way and had a couple trickier scree sections, particularly between Spruce Creek and Estrella. Signs of significant and recent trail maintenance between Estrella and Ridge Road.

There was some poison oak on the sides of the trail, but generally avoidable (particularly since the leaves were changing to red).

One note if you want to visit Upper Salmon Creek Falls (a real delight) -- once you can see the falls, continue on the trail for ~150ft to find the spur down to the falls. We were initially fooled by what looked like the spur as soon as we spotted the falls, but it was impassable and dangerous.

Water was flowing well at both Spruce Creek and Estrella, but didn't encounter any water above Estrella.
meb379

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by meb379 »

Date Hiked: September 14, 2019
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

From Salmon Creek trailhead to the Forest Service ridge road: trail was in great condition with several day hikers up to Spruce Creek. Had access to flowing water up until Estrella campground. Temporarily lost the trail at the campground (several side trails leading to various bathroom spots), but the correct one was marked with a pink flag hanging on a branch. The trail was otherwise easy to follow and well-cleared all the way to the road. Some poison oak on the sides of the trail. Later ran into Forest Service workers who were performing trail maintenance down from the ridge road to Estrella.
seagoat1724
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by seagoat1724 »

Date Hiked: December 7, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Between Salmon Creek Trailhead and Spruce Creek Trail Junction:
Trail is well hiked and maintained. Multiple day hikers seen on this portion.
User avatar
gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: September 7, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers patrolled the Salmon Creek Trail today from Hwy 1 to Spruce Camp. The trail is clear with some encroaching brush. The hanging tree after the second canyon crossing has fallen making the trail a bit safer. You can easily walk under the tree. Spruce Camp was very clean.

As always do your part to keep things nice.

Have a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.
No fires are allowed at this time.
Pack out all your trash
Be courteous to others.
Attachments
Spruce Camp, Picnic table has been moved to the other side of Salmon Creek.
Spruce Camp, Picnic table has been moved to the other side of Salmon Creek.
The fallen limb still above the trail
The fallen limb still above the trail
New Report