Santa Lucia Trail

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jdoelman
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: November 20, 2023
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The image shows my route in blue. The pin is placed where glebius lost the trail when coming from Arroyo Seco in 2022. I was apparently 500 ft from the endpoint of glebius hike, it seems possible the going may have got slightly easier if I had reached it. As it was I ran out of water and headed back toward Roosevelt creek from the northwestern end of my hike. When heading north from Roosevelt creek the going gets tough when entering the Eagle creek drainage, I did a lot of crawling.
Screenshot 2023-11-21 7.49.29 PM.png
Jackson browne

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by Jackson browne »

Date Hiked: October 24, 2023
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

From Memorial park to the JSP peak trail intersection the trail is clear.
Continuing north toward Arroyo Seco the trail is passable until a slide-out of the trail about 1/4 mile south of the Roosevelt-creek/Eagle-Creek divide, at this point it is necessary to scramble up above the slide are to proceed south.
From the aforementioned divide going north the trail is "impassably" brushy.
glebius
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2023 2:47 pm

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by glebius »

Date Hiked: August 5, 2023
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Back in early 2022 we made attempt to make it from Arroyo Seco to Memorial. We cleared it to status "CLEAR" all the way to the saddle above the Bluff usecamp (36.1658109,-121.4588115). Next day, after the saddle trail condition rapidly degrades to barely passable. We were wading through the bushes doing only minimal cutting, trying to save time. See image attached, try to see my son there:
PXL_20220219_175138139.jpg
The section of the trail that goes through the bottom of the canyon was the only easy section of the day. Through a day we made to point (36.1552303,-121.4488428), which is just 2.13 km past the saddle. At that point we were out of time, and what is the worst, at this point we lost even a trace of trail. I couldn't understand which direction to cut through, so turned back.

Summer 2023 we decided to check how far can we go from the opposite direction. Having little spare time, we also stopped at Roosevelt creek (see @jdoelman report). However one can see that once the creek is crossed, the trail seems to be not overgrown until the next saddle (36.1507342, -121.4443153). This also matches satellite images.

So, overall IMPASSABLE section is (36.1552303,-121.4488428) to (36.1507342, -121.4443153) which is just 600 m straight, or under 700 m following the trail. But this is all chaparral that is much taller than an adult man. Add to that 1.5-2 km of passable, but difficult.

Looking for enthusiasts to join efforts and make this trail passable!
pantilat
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: July 9, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Memorial Park to the Saddle and Junction with Santa Lucia Peak trail: Passable

The first part through the meadows has some taller grasses to push through. Then, vigorously growing deer weed (which is the dominant plant in the post-fire landscape here) for most of the ascent. At times one needs to push through the deer weed but for most of the way the tread is visible so it is not completely encroaching. There are a couple new downed logs as well.
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Jim Ringland
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by Jim Ringland »

Date Hiked: May 10, 2023
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and/or well maintained)

Section: Memorial Camp to 2640' elevation (2 miles in)

I did a simple, short, in-and-out day hike from the Santa Lucia Memorial Park, turning around at about 2640’ elevation. That’s about 20 minutes past the old broken down tractor but a long ways short of the saddle. This is popular day hiking territory. No trail problems. No stream crossing problems. Great flowers: mats of owl’s clover and lupines lower down, some really healthy hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) farther along. Others too, of course.
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jdoelman
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: March 25, 2023
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From memorial park to the Saddle below JSP the trail is a bit muddy and the main creek might be difficult to cross for some, the trail would rate as "clear" if not for the mud. I ran into snow at the saddle at elevation 4000ft, if you are heading to the summit expect snow.

Beyond the saddle the trail is passable to about 1/2 mile pas Roosevelt creek, beyond that point Impassable seems accurate.


All minor creeks are running, finding water is not an issue. The first image taken from the JSP saddle shows the trail and the divide separating Roosevelt creek and the drainage to its northeast. The second image shows JSP peak, taken from near the trailhead.
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driggsy
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:22 am

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by driggsy »

Date Hiked: December 18, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Beautiful trail! We ran this from the Santa Lucia Memorial Park Campground up to the first saddle/trail intersection. Kind of brushy the entire time, but rarely got to the level of bushwhacking. Some patches of snow even this low down which was cool. Honestly pretty decent trail conditions for the Ventana.

NOTE: the main road to the trailhead can sometimes be closed on the San Antonio River crossings due to high water flow, so just be aware of that and have a backup approach or trail if that is the case.
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jdoelman
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by jdoelman »

Date Hiked: December 8, 2022
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I walked this trail from the connector to about a mile past “bluff camp”. I camped at bluff camp, water is plentiful in the creek. The view from the camp is spacious an views from the bluff are sublime.
Between the bluff camp and the arrowo seco rd is overall “passable” though there is much clear and maybe a little “difficult. Proceding south from bluff camp is difficult, I had a hard time following the “trail”, footbed is very intermittent. I used my phone as a gps (loaded the fox file from bigsurtrailmap). The “guide me” option kept me going the right direction, brush is often interlocking above the “trail”. I hope to return to advance to “ant camp” and beyond some day.
Brian M McCutcheon
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:20 pm

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Post by Brian M McCutcheon »

Date Hiked: October 22, 2022
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE SECTION FROM THE TRAILHEAD AT ARROYO SECO CAMPGROUND TO THE JUNCTION WITH THE CONNECTOR TRAIL TO INDIANS ROAD.

On this day, the hike was very difficult. When I did this hike with my dog Dash in the other direction in February several years ago, I would have called it passable (but missed posting a trail report). With Dash far beyond his prime, I was accompanied this time by Cooper, the next dog up.

From the trailhead at the campground, the trail was clear all the way past the abandoned building along the Cawatre Road, and all the way into the Santa Lucia gorge. We made very good time. As we worked our way south, upstream, part way up the canyon wall, we encountered a seemingly unending series of small slides. Most were one or two steps across and none were very difficult to cross. Several could be stepped over completely. Several times, a small scattering of dirt and small rocks scampered down the slope below us when Cooper or I stepped on a slide. For a person like myself, with a minor fear of heights, it was never more than a bit unsettling. While this slowed us some, we were still making good time. I was even beginning to consider proceeding past the connector junction to check out the slide that is listed as blocking access to Last Chance. … and then we got down to the dry creek bed, which I knew was coming but not like this.

The dry creek bed was very problematic. While no water was flowing, the vegetation quickly became thicker as we worked our way upstream. For maybe a quarter mile, we were helped by the occasional cairn, but eventually found that they just weren’t enough to stay on trail. (It wasn’t like this when I hiked it downstream several Februarys ago.) I don’t know whether we lost the trail or whether there really was no discernible trail in this stretch. We were in between steep canyon walls. As we worked our way back and forth around thick high vegetation, we were unable to find where the trail rose up out of the canyon. Little wonder really as it was difficult to consistently follow the canyon wall as we weaved our way through the vegetation. I resorted to [trying to] follow the trail on the Gaia app after opening the GPS route that I’d downloaded earlier from Big Sur Trailmap. When the creek split, we proceeded up a very narrow, and even more overgrown, canyon. We came across a small pool of water and then discovered a small but steady trickle, and then small flow of water, complete with a swimming turtle. But it eventually became apparent that we were going parallel to the trail, which was still 0.18 miles to our right; meaning it was up above the canyon wall. We clearly were past the point where the trail climbed out of the canyon, so we returned back downstream below the split in the creek where we continued the search. (Studying the map the next day, I found we had actually branched onto the South Fork of the Santa Lucia creek, headed toward Last Chance camp. But our work getting through the vegetation had only got us maybe 15% of the way there. Any attempt to get to the camp that way would be quite unpleasant, and very well may encounter an impassable stretch anyhow.) Back downstream from the split, we worked back and forth, continually returning to the canyon wall, but we still weren’t finding the trail. I began to ask myself how much longer we could search until we would need to retrace our steps back downstream to get out before dark. Then came the glorious moment, spotting a ribbon on a tree with a vague trail starting up the side of the canyon wall behind it. An hour later, we rested along Indians Road before returning back to the car shortly before sunset.

A very tough trail this time, and well worth it.
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jbl
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Santa Lucia Trail

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: February 19, 2022
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE SECTION FROM SANTA LUCIA MEMORIAL PARK TRAILHEAD TO THE SADDLE AT THE TURNOFF FOR THE SPUR TRAIL TO JUNIPERO SERRA PEAK

"What a difference a fire and flood makes"
The fire has really cleared a lot of brush and trees from along this trail!

Section: Trailhead to entry into canyon below saddle/spur trail junction:
This relatively flat but steady uphill section is very open and relatively easy to follow; there are a few minor washouts at some of the creekbed crossings, and just before the tractor a HUGE wash (maybe 100' feet across) now cuts perpendicularly across the trail, there was some marginal and confusing green flagging there but I put in some orange flagging which gets you directly across between where the trail enters the wash on both sides; after the tractor a little more brush and trees are around but the trail remains easy to follow

Section: canyon entry up to saddle/spur trail junction: there is some up and down on this section of trail as you cross and recross a few streams, water was flowing nicely at the traditional water spot (and that water tastes GOOD!! and this is quite a nice spot on the way down if you are running low on water as a few of us were), a lot burned in here but there is still some brush and trees (and shade!) but the trail remains easy to follow. Once you hit the steep hillside and the switchbacks up to the saddle you experience the difference from before the fire: most of the brush that you had to squeeze between and around as you negotiated these switchbacks is now gone along this entire ascent, and the saddle is almost entirely denuded (so no more tucking into that nice brush-shaded pocket to the left as you hit the saddle to escape the sun and wind, you are completely exposed up there).

[SEE CONTINUED REPORT IN MY REPORT ON THE SUMMIT SPUR TRAIL]
New Report