Cruikshank Trail

whispersiren

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by whispersiren »

Date Hiked: May 30, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We backpacked the Buckeye Trail as part of a loop around Silver Peak Wilderness. We started at Alder Creek Camp taking the Buckeye to Cruikshank, then up Cruikshank to Salmon, down Salmon to the highway, then recapturing the Buckeye taking it back to Alder Camp. Making it about a 22 mile backpacking loop. We chose to camp at Spruce Creek Camp.

The section of Buckeye from Alder Creek to Villa Camp/Cruikshank is definitely in need of maintenance, though is passable. As the trail descends below Alder Creek, through the forest paralelling the creek, there is much poison oak that is difficult to avoid. Once the trail crosses Alder Creek and begins making a climbing traverse up beautiful grass and floral slopes, the trail is invisible in some places. Worse as it drops down to meet the Cruikshank Trail/Villa Creek, it is often overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes, making the trail thin and precarious and it was easy to slip off the trail on the down slope.

The Buckeye merges with the Cruikshank for a bit at Alder Creek, crosses it and then splits off near Upper Cruikchank camp. We headed up the Cruikshank which is obviously more used and wasn't as bad at least up to Silver Camp, beyond it is overgrown with poison oak and brush in some places, with a few low branches to duck under but isn't too bad. Beyond Lion's Den the trail gets far more brushy with thick chaparral to weave through, particularly near The Coast Ridge Road. Easier for a day hiker than someone carrying a larger backpack.

From the Coast Road down Salmon Creek to about 2100 ft or about where the chaparral zone is replaced with oaks we were hiking through very dense brush, well above our heads and required keeping the arms tucked in. A group coming the other direction suggested wearing long sleeves for this part, which was a good idea (though it was too hot the day we hiked it to do this). The poison oak was also bad in some places. The trail narrows very thinly in some places, particularly over what looked like an old mud slide. Fortunately, enough hikers have gone across the slope that a use trail has formed. Beyond Estrella camp the trail is wide and well used. There was one tree to climb over at the Spruce Creek Trail junction, but the trail was otherwise is excellent condition.

From Old Salmon Station at Hwy 1, the Buckeye trail is passable with occasional sections, like the the Alder Creek portion, where the trail, particularly when traversing in the sun, is overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes and is eroding on the down slope. Watch out for poison oak in the shadier parts. Overall its in far better condition than the Alder creek part . The views are striking, as far as the Channel Islands on a clear day and Buckeye Camp has a nice spring.

The junction where Buckeye breaks away from the Cruikshank and heads back up to Alder really needs a trail sign. It is very faint and can easily be missed. We only knew it was there because we had come the other direction and recognized it.

Overall we really enjoyed all three trails, despite the overgrown and obvious neglect. It was far slower and much harder going than if the trail was in better condition. So keep that in mind when deciding your itinerary. We also saw two baby rattle snakes and heard one.
Guest

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by Guest »

Date Hiked: May 30, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We backpacked the Buckeye Trail as part of a loop around Silver Peak Wilderness. We started at Alder Creek Camp taking the Buckeye to Cruikshank, then up Cruikshank to Salmon, down Salmon to the highway, then recapturing the Buckeye taking it back to Alder Camp. Making it about a 22 mile backpacking loop. We chose to camp at Spruce Creek Camp.

The section of Buckeye from Alder Creek to Villa Camp/Cruikshank is definitely in need of maintenance, though is passable. As the trail descends below Alder Creek, through the forest paralelling the creek, there is much poison oak that is difficult to avoid. Once the trail crosses Alder Creek and begins making a climbing traverse up beautiful grass and floral slopes, the trail is invisible in some places. Worse as it drops down to meet the Cruikshank Trail/Villa Creek, it is often overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes, making the trail thin and precarious and it was easy to slip off the trail on the down slope.

The Buckeye merges with the Cruikshank for a bit at Alder Creek, crosses it and then splits off near Upper Cruikchank camp. We headed up the Cruikshank which is obviously more used and wasn't as bad at least up to Silver Camp, beyond it is overgrown with poison oak and brush in some places, with a few low branches to duck under but isn't too bad. The trail is also razor thin in some places. Beyond Lion's Den the trail gets far more brushy with thick chaparral to weave through, particularly near The Coast Ridge Road. Easier for a day hiker than someone carrying a larger backpack.

From the Coast Road down Salmon Creek to about 2100 ft or about where the chaparral zone is replaced with oaks we were hiking through very dense brush, well above our heads and required keeping the arms tucked in. A group coming the other direction suggested wearing long sleeves for this part, which was a good idea (though it was too hot the day we hiked it to do this). The poison oak was also bad in some places. The trail narrows very thinly in some places, particularly over what looked like an old mud slide. Fortunately, enough hikers have gone across the slope that a use trail has formed. Beyond Estrella camp the trail is wide and well used. There was one tree to climb over at the Spruce Creek Trail junction, but the trail was otherwise is excellent condition.

From Old Salmon Station at Hwy 1, the Buckeye trail is passable with occasional sections, like the the Alder Creek portion, where the trail, particularly when traversing in the sun, is overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes and is eroding on the down slope. Watch out for poison oak in the shadier parts. Overall its in far better condition than the Alder creek part . The views are striking, as far as the Channel Islands on a clear day and Buckeye Camp has a nice spring.

The junction where Buckeye breaks away from the Cruikshank and heads back up to Alder really needs a trail sign. It is very faint and can easily be missed. We only knew it was there because we had come the other direction and recognized it.

Overall we really enjoyed all three trails, despite the overgrown and obvious neglect. It was far slower and much harder going than if the trail was in better condition. So keep that in mind when deciding your itinerary. We also saw two baby rattle snakes and heard one.
ChasWill51
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:42 pm

Cruikshank Trail

Post by ChasWill51 »

Date Hiked: May 28, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Cruickshank Trail, May 28, 2010, from Hwy 1 TH to Ridge Rd. The from Hwy 1 to Cruikshank Camp is a freeway with good tread, and open of vegetation. PO is rare but present, generally below knee height and very avoidable. There are some soft sections of trail in the grassy area at the top of the first mile or so just before you enter the "permanent" tree cover. Here, the trail is slumping on the steep slope. Looks like it will need some shovel work soon.

Between Cruickshank and Silver, it is a cross between wilderness highway and clear.

After Silver the trail is passable as the tread remains evident all the way to the ridge road. However, just past Silver, the trail narrows as it contours around a steep ravine. There is a section where the trail is beginning to slump. Fine to pass now but with the near vertical slope, the repair will take a little engineering.

Beginning about a half mile past Silver and ending about half a mile or so before Lion Den, the vegetation is closing in at many places requiring stooping and use of hands to push the bushes out of the way. Difficulty of travel is compounded by PO. It is knee high, waist high, chest high, over your head, crossing over the trail and interlaced in seemingly innocuous plants. Once you hit the chaparral and reach the top of the ridge that leads to Lion Den, the brush pulls back and most of the PO disappears (though there is a bit on the trail near Lion Den). The brush between Lion Den and the Ridge Rd is thick, over head high and takes some arm work to penetrate.
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: March 27, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

12 of hiked the Cruikshank Trail from HWY 1 to Lion Den and back. It was a beautiful day with great view, plenty of water and some wildflowers. On this day there were no flies and very few ticks on our 12 mile 3000 foot trek up and back.

Trail conditions are as follows;

HWY 1 to Upper Cruikshank Camp, Clear, some encroching brush and poison oak along the trail

Upper Cruikshank to Buckeye Junction, Clear, meadow is filling in with scrub oaks.

Buckeye Junction to Silver Camp Clear. Poison oak is present and some encraoching brush. However, it is much better than in past years. Lots of trimming has been done along this section of trail

Silver Camp to Rocky Outcropping. Clear, One tree down just past Silver Camp, easily stepped over. After you cross what I call Silver Creek. The tread is in poor shape for several hundred yards. as you emerge onto the grass slopes the tread improves with encroaching brush to the rocky outcropping.

Rocky outcropping to Silver Peak Road, then on to Lion Den, passable to clear would be the best description. A lot of brush has been removed to minimize the ducking and weaving. Being over 6 feet I had to duck more than others. There is plenty of poison oak ready to sprout and cross the trail. There are only two or three trees down along the trail. All are easily stepped over. The tread is in fair conditon lots of off camber tread and a few slip outs. All the small tributaries are running at this time. Once you hit the road it is an easy walk to Lion Den Camp. Some brush is encroaching on the trail.

Lion Den Camp was clean, the picnic table is now just a bench on two of the concrete blocks at the camp. Views were great to the ocean and Mt. Mars.

All and it was a great day for a hike, lots of tired folks when we reached the botto,
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: March 14, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Darlene and I hike this trail on Sunday, March 14th, 2010. It was a beautiful day. There are plenty of flowers and great views. No bugs or flies to speak of this trip. We then took the Buckeye Trail the north ridge above Buckeye Camp for a wonderful lunch spot overlooking the ocean and Cruikshank Trails.

Trail Condiitions;

Hwy 1 to Buckeye Trail junction is clear. The two trees that fell over the winter have been removed. There is some encroahing brush. However no ducking or real weaving along this section of trail. Tread is well worn and easy to follow. Some poison oak as always along the trail. The Bee nest appears to be dormant as they have moved on. all creeks are running making a wonderful sound.
PhillyH

Cruikshank to Lion's Den

Post by PhillyH »

Date Hiked: November 28, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail was easy to follow and for the most part easily passable. There were some spots where the trail gets very narrow and you are hiking along a steep drop-off. You shouldn't have any problems, but just be cautious of where you step.

Water at Silver Camp was low, but enough if you need to fill up. A group of 4 guys had camped there and didn't have any problems accessing water. It's an uphill hike up to Lion's Den and if you have time, take some time to hike out towards Lion's Peak. Some of the views along the trail up to Lion's Peak from Lion's Den were beautiful. It was pretty windy the weekend we were out there, but still worth a short side trip. We camped at Lion's Den. The wind made it hard to camp out on the bluff where there's a spot, but on a less windy day, this campsite would have been perfect. Really nice views.

Small spring with water at Lion's Den. There was plenty to fill our water packs and to boil.
bmiller

Trail between Upper Cruickshank & Lion's Den

Post by bmiller »

Date Hiked: August 20, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

For the most part this trail was in decent shape, just a few minor deadfalls that could easily be stepped over. Lots of places with poison oak so be careful and some encroaching brush that cover the trail in a few spots. The elevation gain was roughly 1300 ft but thankfully there is shade until you reach the top near the Lion's Den Garden.

Silver camp was in decent condition with the spring still running which is good since thats your only place to stop and refill your water until you reach Lion's Den Camp. There is no picnic table but the fire pit is still there and plenty of flat places for tents.

The sign at Upper Cruickshank said it was only 2 miles between Silver Camp and Lion's Den Camp, but the sign at Lion's Den said it was 3 miles between there and Silver Camp. Its not the first time that i've noticed the signs contradicting themselves..but oh well..

Lion's Den Camp was in ok shape, the bottom site just had the fire pit and grill. The upper site had another fire pit and some benches made from stone blocks and part of the leftover picnic table. Amazing views from the upper site! The flies were TERRIBLE at this camp, lots of little flies and some large flies that hurt when they bit us! The spring is still in ok shape, its flowing but you have to get your water from a small pool thats overrun by guess what?....FLIES! The flies were so bad that we couldnt go sleep until it cooled down at night and they went away, then in the morning they came out early so we didnt even eat breakfast..we just packed up and moved on.
Monkey boy

Cruikshank trail

Post by Monkey boy »

Date Hiked: July 19, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The trail for the most part is clear with not a lot of poison oak. However there are several parts above upper cruikshank camp where the trial is unstable and there is a fall risk. Water is available at both silver peak camp and Lions den. The flies and mosquitos are out so I would recommend a bug net.

Happy trials
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Cruikshank Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: June 28, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Seven of us hiked to Alder Camp via the Cruikshank Trail today. It was not as hot as we anticipatd so we had a nice but warm hike after we left Villa Creek.

Trail condidtions are as follows.

HWY 1 to top of Switchback, clear to Wilderness freeway. Tread has been repaired and brushed in many areas.

Top of Switchback to Upper Cruikshank Camp, Clear. Tread is well defined and most of the brush is clear of the trail, easy to follow. Afew spots where tread has broken down on outside of trail due to encroaching brush.

We saw three groups of backpackers on this trail on our way in. Flies were not bad.
Cassie

Post by Cassie »

Date Hiked: June 21, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This trail is in great condition up to Cruikshank camp, some encroaching poison oak, but no washouts or other obstacles. Great views!
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