Salmon Creek Trail


Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by Chad »

Date Hiked: February 20, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Out to Estrella for the night, then back home. We postponed for a day due to the storm that left some snow on the peaks above Salmon Creek. The trail is in decent condition. There are some wash-outs at the edges of the trail where hikers have gotten too close to the edge. Spruce camp was very soggy. We waded through Spruce Creek with chilly water up to our knees. The sites on the far side of the creek were not as wet as the site with part of a table. The slide just past Spruce Camp has gotten more use and the trail there is more easily passable than it was a few months ago. Estrella was damp, but very nice after the rain. We stayed in the upper camp due to the creek noise in the lower camp.

Overall it was a nice overnight trip.

Upper Salmon Creek Trail

Post by DH »

Date Hiked: February 13, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked down Salmon Creek from Ridge Road to hwy 1 today as part of loop from Salmon creek to Dutra Flats Camp to Three Peaks Camp to Lions Pk and back to Salmon Creek.
Salmon Crk trail from Ridge Road to Estrella Camp has a good tread overall, but encroaching brush with low head room made for extra bending over.
At 6'2 with a full size backpack, was a workout just getting under the brush, lost my hat to low overhead brush several times.
I was hiking in shorts all day, put on long pants just before heading down Salmon Crk trail to protect from poison oak and ticks was glad I did as there was a lot of both till reaching Estrella Camp.

I reached Estrella Camp at dusk, and had a bit of trouble finding the trail across the creek, ended up crossing near the fire ring where there are a couple large fallen trees across the creek and found the trail that heads up to the upper camp site.

From Estrella Creek to hwy 1 trail is clear of brush, with only minor poison oak that is just starting to leaf out.
There are several areas of the trail that are loose and very steep drops with several small sides and care must be taken in these areas.
Made for a tedious decent after a long day hiking, and I was tired. I took extra time on the decent to hwy 1 to ensure I made it without incident.

Happy trails,

Dan H.

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by B »

Date Hiked: February 11, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked in yesterday to Estrella camp about 9am. Trail and camps in great condition, just pay attention on those slopes. I was first in so picked up ticks climbing to Estrella... none on the way back. Really a beautiful trail, great wildflowers (Feb.), diverse ecological zones, and a great hillclimb workout (2 1/2 quarts barely enough).

Met a couple from New York, newly engaged on the trail that day (!?), headed east towards the Coast Ridge road through Estrella... saying they were headed back to their car on the coast... I said something to the effect of "Uh... (gesturing west), the ocean's thatta way..." and pointed them back the way they'd came... I was stunned and have no idea how they were so lost... I "ferried" them back to the junction below Spruce Creek for the coast and wished them the best in their married future. Nice people and thankful :)

One more reason to be pleasant and helpful on the trail - peace
rick bravo

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by rick bravo »

Date Hiked: November 5, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

quick report from Highway One up to the slide area past Spruce Camp.

Quick day hike before the next storm rolls in. Trail clear, tread well defined and good maintenance. Appropriate growth and areas where someone had cleared off some overgrowth.

Spruce Camp in good shape, clean. Fire pits visible. Trail up to Estrella seemed fine up to slide.

Water abundant everywhere, beautiful swarms of lady bugs.

Overall a safe, well maintained trail. The sign designating the trail at the waterfall trail near Highway One was seen by me for the first time. Nice idea. For those who have never hiked this spot, look for the little sign on the right while on the brief waterfall trail. Thanks to whomever put that up.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: September 18, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My wife and I and few others actually hiked this trail today and last weekend. Last weekend we went to Dutra Flat, then over to ragged point. It was a great trip. Today we just hiked to the slide after Spruce Camp.

I am happy to report the two trees that were once across the trail have been removed. One at the Spruce Creek Trail Junction, the other at the slide above Spruce Camp.

Both days were actually perfect for hiking and no real bugs to speak of.

Trail conditions are as follows.

HWY 1 to Spruce Creek Junction Clear. some encroahing brush.
Spruce Creek Junction to Dutra flat saddle clear, tread is easy to follow. Lots of poison oak along the trail hard to avoid. Wear long pants if you get poison oak. Where the trail reaches Spruce Creek Slide the vegetation has grown over the actuall tread making the short steep descent along the creek a bit more difficult than normal.
Saddle to Dutra Flat Clear, Tread well defined. Lots of tar weed along the trail
Dutral Flat Camp was in good shape, water was running into the trough.

Spruce Creek Junction to Spruce Camp, clear. Two groups were camped at Spruce Camp. a single person and a large group, the picnic table was moved to Spruce Camp proper about 50 yards, since my last visit.

Spruce Camp to the slide clear. We ran into a few hikers and one group of backpackers headed for Estrella Camp

A great trail to hike.

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by chtrimble »

Date Hiked: July 26, 2010
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Actually I hike the creek bed quite frequently, even once or twice a week. It is amazing that at least once every other outing that I run into parties of fully laden backpackers in the canyon bottom who have missed the first right that puts you on the SCT. The use trail that goes up the canyon bottom being more inviting at this point. There is a maze of use paths that foolishly climb straight uphill past the falls where the poison oak encroaches and the tread becomes one foot wide. Some sort of signage is definitely needed where the main trail splits off from the more popular use trail to the falls. These people may seem silly, but some topos show the trail in the bottom. Hiking up and over boulders with a full backpack, inexperience, and wet boots is a recipe for a medivac.
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Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by gfelsman »

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

11 of us hiked the trail today from Highway 1 to Estrella Camp and back. The Weather was perfect. Cool day at the coast with over 100 degrees in Paso Robles. We saw plenty of flowers including Pennyroyal, Blue Eyed Grass, clarkia, sticky monkey flower and a cardinal monkey flower at Estrella Camp. It was a wondeful day.

Trail condtions are as follows.

Highway 1 to Spruce Creek Junction. Clear with encroaching brush. Once you reach Spruce Creek Junction a large 2-3 foot diameter tree has come down across the trail. It is wasy to get around. Hope to get it out near future.

Down to Spruce Camp, clear, some poison oak along the trail. About 1/4 mile past Spruce Creek Camp, the slide area now has a 1 foot diameter tree across the trail it can be crossed with a bit of care. Tall people have an advantage. The remaing trail to Estrella Camp is clear with encroaching brush.

After you reach the first campsite at Estrella Camp then head down to Estrella Creek a large Alder has come down taking a few other trees with it creating log jumble across the trail. Since this is a low sloping valley one can skirt above the log jam cross the creek into Estrella Camp. Or one can descend directly to Estrella Creek and scramble up the other side to Estrella Camp.

We had no bugs or ticks all day.

On a lighter note two groups tried to follow the what appears to be the old Forest Service Trail which is shown along the creek. Then ended up scrambling up the hillside to meet the trail.
Last edited by gfelsman on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Salmon Creek 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.

Re: Salmon Creek Trail

Post by Bevojohn »

Date Hiked: April 29, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I descended down this trail after doing the loop from Lion's Den. At 1st it's touch & go with lots of overgrowth though the trails always easy to see. The poison oak is EVERYWHERE. The trail gets much better the closer one gets to Hwy 1 / Salmon Crk Falls. It was beautiful.
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Salmon Creek Trail

Post by ChasWill51 »

Date Hiked: May 29, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Salmon Creek Trail, May 29, 2010, from Hwy 1 TH to Ridge Rd. The from Hwy 1 to Estrella 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.

After Estrella the trail is passable as the tread remains evident all the way to the ridge road. The vegetation is closing in at many places requiring 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 most of the PO disappears but the brush is still thick and choking the trail.
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