Prewitt Loop Trail

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jbl
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Prewitt Loop Trail-PART 2 OF 2-Stag Camp to Highway 1

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: December 6, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is a continuation of the prior report (there's a limit on the no. of pictures that can be included in a single post) and covers the section from Stag Camp down to Highway 1.

Immediately as you leave Stag Camp there are a couple of trees down:
Tree 1
Tree 1
Tree 2
Tree 2
Tree 3
Tree 3
After that, things are pretty clear to the turnoff that would take you up onto the Prewitt Ridge, which I was tempted to take, but I decided to finish the loop so that I could give a full report.

In the section after that turnoff, there are 3 more trees down, one of which required some acrobatics to get through.
Tree 4
Tree 4
Tree 6
Tree 6
Tree 5
Tree 5
Once I intersected the Prewitt Ridge use trail on the front of the ridge (which is a staggered intersection that I flagged on a recent Prewitt Ridge hike), I opted to take the ridge trail back to the bottom on the assumption that the rest of the Prewitt Loop trail was probably pretty clear.

The entire trip (including walking back over to my car at the Pacific Valley Fire Station) was (according to my GPS) 12.7 miles with 2,900' of elevation gain, and took 6:45 (I took a nice lunch break on the front of Middle Ridge).
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jbl
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Prewitt Loop Trail-PART 1 OF 2

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: December 6, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the entire loop, which I took south to north. Part 1 covers all the way to Stag Camp, Part 2 will cover Stag Camp to Highway 1
Section: South trailhead to Kelly Camp: Clear to Passable.
The first thing I found was that the sign pointing you onto the Prewitt Loop Trail (where the Prewitt Loop trail turns left off the roadway that continues up into Mansfield Ravine and drops to Mansfield Creek (aka The Ganges)) was about 20 feet downhill; I put it back as best as I could but it would be great if someone could persuade the fire crew to walk up there and get the sign in more permanently.
Sign Down
Sign Down
Sign Up
Sign Up
From the point where you finish the switchback climb up into the canyon to Kelly Camp, the tread is good in places but is narrow/eroded in many places with a long drop down on the side so much care is needed here. There were 7 trees down along here, some easy stepovers/arounds but some requiring some venturing into PO-infested sidehill. Not much brush encroachment along here.
Section 1 tree 1
Section 1 tree 1
Section 1 tree 2
Section 1 tree 2
Section 1 tree 3
Section 1 tree 3
Section 1 tree 4
Section 1 tree 4
Section 1 tree 5-I was able to clear this with my Samurai
Section 1 tree 5-I was able to clear this with my Samurai
Section 1 tree 6
Section 1 tree 6
Section 1 tree 7
Section 1 tree 7
Kelly camp was clean and welcoming.
Kelly Camp
Kelly Camp
Section: Kelly Camp to Middle Ridge (~2.5 miles): Passable to Difficult
The first part of this section was clear out onto the grassy ridge where the alternative trail (see prior poster's comments) cuts off to the right; the long switchback back to the south shows a lot of evidence of some hard work to maintain a decent width tread on what is a very steep sidehill, but in places it is really narrow and outsloped; there were at least a dozen spots where even I was concerned about getting across on narrow/eroded tread (often covered with wet slippery leaves and/or pebbles) where the drop below was precipitous. The "south" south fork crossing remains a problem, especially with the creek flowing more strongly than normal due to recent rains, I don't know how others do it but I always crawl across the big redwood tree that's down here. There were maybe 5-6 trees down along this section, I had no energy to take pics because my energy was focused on just getting through. Here's one of the trees:
Section 2 Tree 1
Section 2 Tree 1
There was some brush encroachment in a few places. The "north" south fork crossing has a beautifully engineered series of steps that I wish had been there on my prior trips (I remember having to crawl under a few downed trees in lots of PO in the past).
Section: Middle Ridge to Stag Camp (~2.5 miles): Clear to Difficult
The sections in here that are in the deepest depths of the north fork drainage, including across the slide area, remain pretty tough due to erosion and outsloping. As you get out of the depths and onto the less steep sidehill and grassy sections, the rating changes to clear/passable. There's not much brush encroachment anywhere along here. I don't recall there being any trees down here (if there were, they were easy to get over/around).
Stag Camp was clean, pretty damp.
Stag Camp
Stag Camp
[REPORT CONTINUES IN PART 2]
Last edited by jbl on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
bill waycott

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by bill waycott »

Date Hiked: April 13, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked with eleven others from the SLO Co Sierra Club. We departed the Pacific Valley Ranger Station via the south fork at 9:30 am, completing the loop via the north fork at 5:00 pm the same day. The trail tread was in good shape from the trailhead via the south fork to Kelly camp and from the trailhead via the north fork to Stag camp. Between Kelly and Stag camps the tread can be soft and/or missing in places. There were roughly 15 downed trees, some from the recent past, others from years ago. Poison oak was ever present; long pants are recommended. When hiking the loop from south to north, beware of a faux trail, which diverts from the real trail in the second major open clearing, encountered after Kelly camp. The faux trail goes straight, gaining elevation up the hillside; the real trail bears to the left heading down the hillside. Look for pink nylon tape tied to bushes and trees to the left in the clearing.
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jbl
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Prewitt Loop Trail-South Side

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: January 18, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report covers the first 2.5 miles of the south side of the Prewitt Loop Trail, which I and 4 others (including a dog) traversed after having gone up to the Plaskett Ridge Road on the Mansfield Ravine/Willett Trail and Shouey Ridge. The trail is partly Clear, mostly Wilderness Freeway. I'll describe in the uphill direction.

Section: South Trailhead (behind Fire Station) to junction with old roadway (at ~0.2 miles from trailhead): The fire crews have really widened the uphill section here, which is great because there is abundant PO along this short stretch and absent fire crew work here, this can be a nasty start to the hike.

Section: Junction with old roadway to Prewitt/Mansfield Ravine (aka Willett) Trail junction (at ~0.7 miles from trailhead): This is a road and is Wilderness Freeway.
NOTE THAT THE SIGN MARKING THE TURNOFF FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE PREWITT LOOP (which cuts off to the left down towards the creek) WAS THERE AT THE TURNOFF WHEN WE DID OUR HIKE BUT IT WAS APPARENTLY DOWN/MISSING FOR A PERIOD RECENTLY (IT IS STANDING PRECARIOUSLY IN A PILE OF ROCKS) AND IT IS EASY TO MISS THE TURNOFF IF THE SIGN ISN’T THERE, SO BE AWARE THAT THE PREWITT LOOP TRAIL DOES DROP OFF THE ROAD BEFORE YOU ENTER THE NARROW CANYON WHERE THE ROAD IS HEADED. If you find yourself at the spot shown in the below picture (see the short wooden bridge across the creek (at the right) and the stone stairs leading to a nice terrace (on the left):
If you end up here, you've missed the Prewitt Trail turnoff
If you end up here, you've missed the Prewitt Trail turnoff
...you’ve gone past the Prewitt turnoff and are on the Mansfield Ravine (aka Willett) trail.

After you’ve taken the Prewitt turnoff, you’ll quickly drop down to cross the creek (water was flowing), and at the crossing you’ll see this interesting redwood, which is a conjoined double-trunked tree with one trunk felled and then a new small trunk grew out of the cut and went up about 10’ and stopped but another new trunk popped out of the side of that one and has continued to grow upwards:
00a-redwood.JPG
As we approached the above-described creek crossing (and the end of a long day on the trail) from the uphill side, our shadows were getting quite long:
prewitt-long shadow.JPG
asavoie

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by asavoie »

Date Hiked: January 15, 2014
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We started at the southern trail head by the USFS station. We made it to Kelly camp. On the way to Kelly camp there are several fallen trees to step over, climb over, or go around. There was very little water on the way. Kelly camp has a fire ring and a small sign on a tree. One mile past the camp we lost the trail. The trail was ruined by landslide and downed trees. We did not want to climb through the bushes to try to find the trail so we turned around. We went back to Kelly camp.

Hiking and Backpacking Big Sur book by Analise Elliot says the trail between Stag camp and Kelly Camp is "sketchy and not recommended". I found this to be true. There must have been a slide recently that obscured the trail. There were plenty of deer trails just the people trail vanished. We made it half way on the loop but couldnt finish.
Michael Brian Wolfe

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by Michael Brian Wolfe »

Date Hiked: November 29, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trail was good on the South trailhead. We lost the trail soon after the fork and the creek crossing. The tread was so bad that it just wasn't worth an injury so we turned around . We will go back and give it a go again in the near future.
at_scott
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:42 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by at_scott »

Date Hiked: October 5, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My family and I hiked half of the Prewitt trail from the northern trail head as a day hike. We hiked about 7.5 miles of the trail before turning back. The trail is in good shape as far as Stag Camp. After Stag Camp, we encountered several washed out portions of the trail that made hiking a little treacherous but nothing that was bad at all. There were several downed trees crossing the trail. We found water at the troughs before Stag Camp and at a couple of stream crossings between Stag Camp and Kelly Camp. There was no water at Stag Camp.

We took the more northern "Prewitt Ridge Use Trail" route for the first section of the hike. The ocean view along the ridge was incredible.

We did not turn around due to trail conditions. That's a longer story that I want to type up here :D
David MA

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by David MA »

Date Hiked: February 16, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the entire loop from Feb 16-18. The great part about this trail is that the campsites are all about four miles apart. My 76 year old father and a friend and I hiked the trail starting at the north trailhead. The trail is in good shape all the way to Stagg Camp. Stagg camp is still my least favorite camp in the Silver Peak area. There is a spring that needs a box and pipes to divert the flow around the camp. There is also just one tent site. There is water near Stagg. Down to a trickle. Get water where you find it. We camped in a nice area near Stagg and then headed on to the next four mile section.

The first part of the next four mile trail section has three big slides. The slides are passable but tough. I carried my Dad's pack through so he could have good balance. The tread is evident and we had no problem following the trail. Clippers and saws in hand we cleared a lot of brush along the trail. This is the toughest four miles I have walked in some time. The tread is out sloped 30 degrees in a lot of areas and needs to be rebuilt. Very hard on the knees.

Kelly Camp is great with places to sit and a good fire ring. We met three groups and camped with a family from the Bay Area. The last day we did a lot of clearing along the trail. We cut up at least 12 trees along the trail. We had to leave about four trees because they we just too big. There is water on all three sections. This is a dry year so get water where you find it. The ticks in the chaparral were prolific. Easy to spot on the grass. The PO was not bad yet because it was not leafing out yet. There is also a big redwood down on the trail at the south fork creek. The trail goes straight up the hill here and that is tough . Great trail. With a little work it would be awesome.
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: November 12, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Date Hiked: November 12, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I had a chance to hike the Nothern end of the Prewitt Loop Trail. Needless to say it was a beautiful day. One could see forever.

On this day I followed the main trail to the ridge junction. Then headed on the actual trail to just short of the cattle trough for a snack. I then headed back then took the spur trail to the ridge for wonderful views of Cone Peak, Big Sur Coastline and The Pacific Valley below.

The trail was in great condition for Prewitt. The first mile ot the ridge junction is a wilderness freeway. The Forest Service has made this section of trail really nice. Once past the ridge junction the trail is clear with encroaching coyote bush for the most part. the tread is well defined and easy to follow. There were no downed trees along this section of trail.

Descending the ridge trail is clear and easy to follow. The once super wide dozer cut is still there but the trail is now a single track down the sill with grass on both side. Only one short section of coyote brush across the trail a short distance before you return the main trail again.
The Trailhead
The Trailhead
Sand Dollar Beach View
Sand Dollar Beach View
Prewitt Creek Drainage
Prewitt Creek Drainage
DavidMA

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by DavidMA »

Date Hiked: April 14, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from the North Prewitt Loop trailhead to 1/2 mile beyond Stagg Camp. The tread is decent to Stagg. Lot of water up there right now. The recent rain had not affected the trail too badly. There is a section of trail about 300 feet from the trail head that is a swamp because of spring activity. The beginging part of the trail is mostly clear with the typical spring growth encroaching on the trail, did some clearing here. Very little poison oak until about 2 miles into the hike. About the time you start seeing some redwoods the poison oak starts encroaching on the trail. The poison oak lasts for about a mile or more, on and off. Our group spent some time cliping it back and removing other downfall along the trail. There were some trees and branches on the trail and we also cleared those all the way to Stagg, and beyond a little ways.

Stagg camp was interesting. A steeply sloping campsite with a bog running through the middle and no where for a tent on even slightly level ground. There was also some garbage there that we hiked out the next day. A small BBQ unit, propane bottles and a clorox jug (no clorox in it luckily). The bright spot is the table, it is in great shape. Hiking past Stagg the trail was evident with a few trees down. Cleared and pushed those off the trail for about 1/2 mile. No report beyond that point. Great views.

We also hiked what is called the Willet Trail (Mansfield Ravine trail). We cleared a lot of downfall except for about 2-3 big trees. That trail is in good shape.
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