Buckeye Trail

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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:33 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by juliekath42 »

Date Hiked: May 6, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Started from the Soda Springs junction. Trail was very evident however there are parts that are starting to undercut most specifically from Buckeye camp to the ridge before descending down to Villa Creek. Nothing crazy just makes for some sore ankles. Brush starting to encroach slightly in some places throughout the trail. Plenty water availability throughout the trail. Two fully flowing creeks from Soda Creek to Buckeye Camp with a couple tricklers in between. Small flowing creek at Buckeye and another fully flowing one just past the second Buckeye campsite. Nice flow down at Villa creek with another small trickle running through a redwood close to upper Cruikshank campsite. Loved this trail. Amazing views!
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by sambieni »

Date Hiked: April 28, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I did a 3 day trip from 4/26 - 4/28 starting at Salmon Falls Trailhead, hiking up Salmon Creek Trail for a night at Lion's Den. Following down down Cruikshank to Buckeye Trail and camped at Buckeye Camp with a quick out the final day.

Weather was glorious all three days.

The first 3 miles to Estrella from the trailhead were fine. What was expected - some narrow bits, but totally passable and good conditions. We did find the lack of clear signage when arriving at a makeshift camp 1 mile in, Spruce Camp, and Estrella Camp a bit frusrating forcing us to wander to figure out how to meet the trail on the other side. It was not a trail condition concern as much as bad sign posting or rather lack thereof.

Above Estrella was a great challenge. There were a few washouts and quite steep bits throughout that gave good pause. There was only one creek with water about 1/2 mile north of th4e campsite. No other water until Lion's Den. So water up at Estrella if you head north as past that is not reliable. The trail overall was VERY overgrown ranging from brush when exposed to LOTS of poison oak all around in the shaded areas. Two areas were so overgrown we had to crawl and drag our packs up behind us. Trail can be passed, but makes for very frustrating hiking.

Ridge road to Lion's den and South to Cruikshank intersection is perfectly clear and easy to follow. Only one really steep stretch just north of Silver camp. Limited poison oak on this stretch even. Buckeye trail from the intersection has some poison oak, but manageable and not terribly overgrown . Relatively avoidable. Trail is good condition.

If you are coming from the North to Buckeye be aware that it is spread over two meadows. This was not clear to us. The first camp site clearing is a suitable site with water, but 5 minutes north is larger clearing with the more clearly labeled Buckeye camp. We did not stay at this one since we found the prior site that worked well and camp with a rickety table and a firepit. But it was certainly not clear if this was the actual Buckeye site or not.

From Buckeye to trailhead was clear and passable the entire way. Some slightly overgrown areas and narrow points, but overall fine. Quite steep at points.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by Emily »

Date Hiked: April 23, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail is clear--no problems following it whatsoever. There is a lot (and I mean a LOT) of poison oak along and across the trail. There are several sections that are impassable without dragging yourself through PO. Camping areas are also in great shape.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by Nico »

Date Hiked: April 24, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Did a short overnighter from the trailhead at Salmon Creek Station to Villa Creek and back over the weekend (4/23-4/24). Saturday had nice weather and beautiful views over the ocean. Lots of wildflowers in bloom including a few small pockets of lillies on the way to Cruikshank from Buckeye. Saturday night saw a heavy drizzle start around 7:00 p.m. that continued well on into Sunday late morning. Things got pretty soggy overnight with a heavy cloud cover sitting on top of us. Ended up getting soaked from the trailside brush whle walking but managed to stay dry for the night under the tarp despite the big fat drops falling off the overhead trees all night.

Overall, the trails and camps are in good shape. The tread is very evident and well-worn, and there are only a couple of small deadfalls to step over. Sections of the trail are however getting encroached upon with new spring growth along the sides of the trails, complete with everyone's favorite, PO. There are also various spots along the way where the outside edge of the tread is starting to fail and slip. All were easily passable but some require a little care, especially if the ground is wet/muddy. Ticks are abundant, especially through the grasslands.

From the trailhead to the intersection with the Soda Springs Trail:
The brushiest part of the entire walk was found along the lower portion of this stretch just out from the trailhead. The tread is very well worn but the adjacent growth just about completely overhangs the trail. There is quite a bit of PO mixed in here and no way to avoid it. As you get out of the canyon and start through the grasslands on the upper hillsides, the trail is clear and easy to follow. Quite a few ticks to be found along this section, but otherwise, it's quite nice.

From Soda Springs Intersection to Buckeye Camp:
Spring growth is starting to encroach on the trail a little but otherwise it's not bad. There's water in all the creeks but all of the crossings are cake. There's a few spots along here where, like mentioned above, the outside edge of the trail is getting soft and starting to slip. Both creeks at Buckeye have steady water, with the lower creek running much better.

From Buckeye to Cruikshank:
Pretty much the same as the previous section. The poison oak is a little more abundant and encroaching on the trail a bit more; otherwise it's easy walking up and over the saddle separating the two valleys. On the Buckeye side of the saddle, as you're approaching the top, there are few more sections that are a little exposed with failing tread. It's still easily passable, just pay attendtion to your footing.

Cruikshank to Vila Creek Camp:
Totally clear, easy walking. The crossing of Villa Creek is a little tricky but I managed to do it with dry feet on the way in. It ended up raining/drizzling all Saturday night and my feet were wet from just walking the trail on the way out, so I just trumped right through the creeks yesterday. Much easier!


Post by Scooperd »

Date Hiked: March 27, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Camped Saturday night at Buckeye Camp, and that spot was definitely the highlight. I didn't see the Sun the entire day on Saturday until just after I got to camp, when the sky started to clear and I looked up and saw the entire hillside bathed in a beautiful pinkish-red hue. What a great way to end a very strenuous 9 miles of rough hiking. The night sky was pristine, crisp, clear, and just full of bright stars. And Sunday was a perfect sunny day. Having done the long trek on Saturday, it was nice to have the majority of Sunday to just lay my wet stuff out to dry and sit back and soak up all the natural beauty.
Here is an important part of this message: I FOUND A SET OF CAR KEYS AT THE MAIN BUCKEYE CAMPSITE, NEXT TO THE PICNIC TABLE. LOOKS LIKE THREE DIFFERENT FORD KEYS. I hope that the person who lost them had a spare, or at least lived nearby! Anyway, if you are reading this, and these keys are yours, my email is .
To finish up, Sunday mid-afternoon I began the short downhill hike back to my truck along the Buckeye trail. This trail is in great shape and now I know to start on this side, and just camp in one of the many spots along this trail, rather than hiking the loop. (Maybe a bit later in the Spring, and with a machete, it will be easier). Amazing trip, beautiful landscape, many wildflowers and flowering trees, wildlife, fresh air, GLORIOUS!
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Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by Farley »

Date Hiked: December 24, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked in from Salmon Creek Guard Station. Trail was clear with some Poison Oak and ceanothus encroachment forcing folks to the outside edge - especially at the first few switchbacks. All in all, trail is clear and wonderful. Singing meadowlarks, honking elephant seals and spouts from 9 at least 9 whales...

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by bluesago »

Date Hiked: October 24, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We started at Spruce Camp, passed by Lion's Den for lunch and intended to hike to Salmon Creek Ranger Station via the Buckeye Trail. The trail was extremely overgrown from Estrella to the fire road just before Lion Den, had lots of poison oak everywhere, but was in passable condition with only a couple deadfalls. However, about 1 mile before reaching Buckeye Camp, we found ourselves at a unmarked fork on top of a grassy ridge. The fog was pretty thick that day so we couldn't easily tell which trail went where and both directions looked similarly tread on. Based on the general direction that we wanted to end up at, we chose the right fork (which headed S/SW). WRONG!!!! The right fork quickly turned into a muddy steep slide down the southwest side of the mountain that landed us in a small secluded community that did not like trespassers (the fog kept us from realizing we were headed to a private area until we had already dropped nearly 1000 feet in about a mile). Between the extremely angry resident who screamed our ears off, and the roaming guard dogs, this was pretty intense. The private property was actually just south of the Cruikshank Trail and dumped us about 4 miles north of the Salmon Creek Ranger Station.

So long story short, when you reach the fork on top of the grassland, make sure you take the left fork.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by SkyPilot84 »

Date Hiked: June 19, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked from the Cruikshank Trailhead at Highway 1 to Villa Creek Camp, then over to Alder Creek Camp where we camped for the night.

The portion of the Buckeye Trail that we hiked (from Villa Creek Camp to Alder Creek Camp) was overgrown, but passable. I'll omit many details, as I'd be providing the same information given below in the May 30 post. I agree with the conditions described in that post. I will add that we had some trouble following the trail in 2 spots:

(1) We struggled to find the trail junction at Villa Creek. The actual junction is unmarked and is further east than my WIlderness Press map indicates. The junction is not immediately obvious, but heads uphill at a minor stream crossing as the Villa Creek trail heads down along the creek to Villa Creek Camp.

(2) A tricky spot atop the ridge between Villa Creek canyon and Alder Creek canyon. Here the trail becomes especially faint and overgrown with low-growing brush. At one point the trail splits into several faint use trails as it climbs a minor hump. We randomly chose one of the trails and reached the top of the hump then, fortunately spotted the true trail far below as it exited the field of brush. This was the only portion where we were forced to go off trail. The minor hump I described is the last bit of climbing to be done before dropping into Alder Creek canyon.

As is mentioned in a previous report, there is quite a bit of poison oak growing over the trail to the north side of Alder Creek.

There has been some vandalism and litter (beer bottles, shotgun shells, etc.) at Alder Creek Camp.

Our plan was to wake up the next morning and follow the road that passes by Alder Creek Camp up to Coast Ridge Road, then hike up Alder Peak, but were forced to turn around about 0.75 miles from Alder Creek Camp (before CRR) because the road was too overgrown to continue. We crawled on hands & knees through some brush, then stood up covered in ticks. No fun. We retraced our steps along the Buckeye trail back to the Cruikshank trail, finding it easier to navigate heading from north to south than from south to north (granted that we had been on the trail just the day before).

Re: Buckeye Trail

Post by bshank »

Date Hiked: June 11, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Our first trip in Silver Peak. Turned around after five minutes due to heavily overgrown trail from the trailhead at Salmon Creek station. Had our dog, so our tolerance for the pricklies was less than usual. Still, lots of bushwacking. Maybe we should have pressed on a bit further, but we got a late start. Ended up at Spruce Camp.

Re: Buckeye 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.
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