Kirk Creek Trail (Highway One to Vicente Flat Camp)

charleston63
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:40 pm

Re: Kirk Creek Trail

Post by charleston63 »

Date Hiked: February 12, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked this trail on February 12 and 14 while making a loop to Stone Ridge, Gamboa, Cone Peak, then back down to Vincente Flat trail from Cone Peak Road. On both occasions the trail was generally very evident and clear, though there were several downed trees beginning approximately .75 miles onto the trail. All of the trees could be circumnavigated, though there were one or two I believe just before Espinoza that were a bit difficult to climb over/under. There was a trickle of water coming from the water source just after Espinoza, but you are better off just getting water as Vincente Flat if you can manage. There were also one or two areas along the trail where some of the hillside had been washed out, but it was still not difficult to traverse. From Vicente Camp and onward towards Cone Peak Road, there is plenty of water and the trail was easy to follow.

There was some poison oak along the trail in the first mile or so starting from Highway 1, but it was very easy to avoid.

Also, there were plenty of ticks! If you are bringing a dog, be prepared to remove a lot once you get to camp. I needed to remove over 30 ticks on February 12 from my dog, though hardly any on my way out. I had a similar experience as my dog: flicked off about 4-5 from my clothes on the 12th but none at all on the 14th. I'm not sure if this might have been because his flea collar had finally kicked in or because of the time of day we were on the trail (early afternoon on the 12th and morning on the 14th), but be prepared either way.
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RSIBryce
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:48 pm

Re: Kirk Creek Trail

Post by RSIBryce »

Date Hiked: February 6, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Sections: Hwy 1 trailhead to Cone Peak Road

Hiked to Vicente Flat Saturday morning with a group of students and instructors. Amazing spring-like weather with wildflowers starting to really go, saw some poppies along the trail and some flowering wild lilac, as well as some Fritillaria biflora, the chocolate lilly. The trail has seen some wear and tear from some of these winter storms, there were several slides leading up to Espinosa Camp along the trail the first couple miles. Most of them have been tread across and passage is safe though. I also counted 6 downed trees before Espinosa in the last mile and half, with diameters approx. 8 inches to 30 in. We cleared out several smaller trees with hand saws. The spring near Espinosa hasn't quite started running full yet. It was trickling down the rocks under the large fallen redwood, I had to channel the water off the rock and into my bottle using a leaf.

The rest of the hike into Vicente Flat is looking good. I was glad to see the stream running strong through camp.

On Sunday morning we made our way up the Vicente Flat trail beyond the camp and up to Cone Peak Road. This section of trail was also clear, a group of students from UC Santa Cruz Recreation were out brushing that section this past fall on a Youth in Wilderness Service-Learning outing. Its in great shape, though ever the climb! Saw several ticks hanging out on the tips of grass, though never saw any on my body
cehauser

Re: Kirk Creek Trail

Post by cehauser »

Date Hiked: December 31, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this section of trail from Kirk Creek Campground up to Vicente Flat Camp. There were several newly-fallen trees and limbs in the redwood forest before and after Espinosa Camp. I did not see if there was water at Espinosa Camp, but there is water in the creek in Vicente Flat campground, flowing, only 50 feet below the redwood log where the trail crosses the creek. As mentioned before, the Stone Ridge Trail junction is not obvious... it is west (above) the creek bottom, and there is a sign there.
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jbl
Posts: 219
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Re: Kirk Creek Trail

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: December 20, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE SECTION FROM HIGHWAY 1 TO VICENTE FLAT CAMP

We hiked the trail the day before Winter Solstice, the recent storms had done no substantial damage, there had been some very minor slides in a few of the gully crossings on the section between the trailhead and the turn into Hare Canyon, there was one messy ~8" tree down after Escondido Camp which we swamped to render it into an easy stepover, we pushed another larger deadfall off the trail, and we did some other cutting of branches etc. that were blocking the trail. Water was NOT flowing at the water source just past Escondido Camp (a first for me, I've always seen water there).
carlhage
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:30 pm

Re: Kirk Creek Trail

Post by carlhage »

Date Hiked: October 17, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I had some trouble finding out about the water situation on the Kirk Creek to Cone peak trails and Vicente Flat Campground, so here is the scoop in the fall of drought-year 2015. The creek flows underground at Vicente flat, so no water there, but there is water in 2 tributaries a few hundred meters above (east) of the campground area along the trail to cone peak. (Note it is easy to miss the right hand turn across the creek and up the hill, as there is a weak trail that dead-ends following the first creek along the trail.) There are small clear pools good for pumping and small cascades to fill a bottle with a steripen at this location. We heard from hikers there was no water at Vicente Flat (wrong), but you can hear rushing water at the bottom of the valley (off the trail) 1/2 mile below the campsite. There was plenty of water a few minutes from the campground, so no need to bushwhack to the valley below.

The campground at Vicente flat is very nice-- many large flat areas with log seating and fire rings (with signs saying no wood fires allowed), each area separate from the others. The campsites are clear of poison oak, but outside the campsites and trail almost everywhere else in Vicente flat the ground is covered with poison oak. At this time of year, there are bare sticks, unrecognizable as poison oak, still highly toxic. So be careful!

The camp host at Kirk Creek near the beach will tell you there is no water there (he'll sell it for $5/gal) but there is plenty of water available for pumping/steripen in Kirk Creek below the campground along the trail to the beach. Look for the beach trail between campsites 9 & 11. (It's a 5 minute walk from the campground to get down to the creek.) You can top off or replenish there if needed.

There was no other water along the trail between the beach at Kirk Creek and Cone peak except for the area just above the Vicente Flat campground. (Including Espinosa campsite)
trail_guy

Re: Vicente Flat Trail (Girard Trail, Kirk Creek Trail)

Post by trail_guy »

Date Hiked: August 17, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail is mostly clear of poison oak from trailhead to redwood grove (approx. 2 mi.). Some trail work has been done between the redwood grove and Espinosa Camp (3.5 mi.), but this section still has some poison oak. Long pants and clippers advised past Espinosa Camp. No washouts. Ticks may be active. Water may be available a quarter mile past Espinosa Camp at a year round creek.
christoph28
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:05 pm

Re: Vicente Flat Trail (Girard Trail, Kirk Creek Trail)

Post by christoph28 »

Date Hiked: August 8, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We hiked this trail from Kirk Creek Campground to Cone Peak Road. The trail is in great condition with no deadfalls and minimal encroaching brush, making for nice hiking. There is a small stream trickling across the trail a bit past 3 miles in, and then more flowing water shortly after Vicente Flat camp. We were later told 26 people camped in Vicente Flat camp Saturday night.
trail_guy

Re: Vicente Flat Trail (Girard Trail, Kirk Creek Trail)

Post by trail_guy »

Date Hiked: June 4, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail is mostly clear of poison oak from trailhead to redwood grove (approx. 2 mi.). Some trail work has been done between the redwood grove and Espinosa Camp (3.5 mi.), but this section still has some poison oak. Long pants and clippers advised past Espinosa Camp. No washouts. Ticks are active, so check your clothes as you hike. Water may be available a quarter mile past Espinosa Camp at a year round creek.
mfisher
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:49 pm

Re: Vicente Flat Trail (Girard Trail, Kirk Creek Trail)

Post by mfisher »

Date Hiked: May 24, 2015
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Dates: 24 May 2015

Hiked Vicente Trail from Kirk Creek campground to Vicente Flat camp

Observations:

Kirk creek campground is infested by a gang of fearless raccoons. If you stay there bring a slingshot and your own ammo. We ran out of throwing rocks. All of our food, toothpaste, etc was hung safely in a tree. That did not prevent one from ripping a large hole in the netting of my friend's tent 6" from her face. It then started to pull out a sack containing only dirty clothes. She fought with it and played tug of war with the sack. It did not leave until the light was turned on and it's paw was smashed. The next two hours were spent chasing them away with rocks and trekking poles. They would casually move just out of reach and come right back looking in your face. There were at least a dozen. They opened our neighbor's Yeti cooler which had heavy duty latches. They were all over the picnic tables. They never left. We finally went back to bed and hoped for the best. They were constantly coming within a foot of the tents, cooing and screeching. The sack was a clean plastic grocery bag. They may have learned to associate those sacks with food so if you use them, keep them out of sight.

Vicente Trail: Wilderness Freeway.
Poison oak is hanging over the trail in hundreds of places but it is easily avoidable if you are very mindful.
Water is flowing at mile 3.4 near Espinoza. Also plenty of water in Hare Creek at Vicente Flat.
oaktown_joe
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 9:48 am

Vicente Flat Trail

Post by oaktown_joe »

Date Hiked: April 29, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I ran & hiked Vicente Flat trail for 6.5 miles, then turned around, for a total 13 mile trip. First time I've been on this trail. Took off around 11:30am from trailhead, and returned 4 hours later.

Beginning was clear w/ great views. For me it was just enough of an incline that I could mostly run uphill, though I took breaks & walked in spots. The brush does reach in to the trail, and since I was wearing shorts I was worried about poison oak, but I came out unscathed.

A short time before I reached Vicente Flat camp, about 5 miles in, the air became thick with mosquitoes. It was extremely unpleasant, and I wouldn't want to camp there under such conditions. However, based on lori's May 2 report, I guess it isn't always like this. After Vicente Flat camp the trail is steep uphill, and slow going. There is water flowing in a creek a bit past the camp. For about a solid mile I was trudging uphill, with a swarm of bugs constantly in my face. It started to clear out a bit around the 6 mile mark.

My intention was to get to Cone Peak Road at the 7.5 mile mark, and then turn around. But at the 6.5 mile mark I saw movement in the brush a few feet away from me, and heard the unmistakable sound of an angry rattlesnake. I couldn't see the snake and didn't relish the idea of passing its territory twice just to get to Cone Peak—plus, the trail had become un-runnable, and the insects were bad, so I decided that was my turnaround point. The rattle continued for several minutes while I backed away, waited, and ultimately left the area.

On a Wednesday I had the trail almost to myself; for 3.5 hrs of my 4 hr jaunt, I saw only one other party. In the last 30 minutes as I approached the trailhead at Hwy 1 in the afternoon, I saw a few more people.

Overall, great trail, though next time I would just run maybe up the hill to Vicente Camp, or less, then turn around.
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