Prewitt Loop Trail

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Farley
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:54 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by Farley »

Date Hiked: October 10, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Just got a call in here to the VWA office from Murdock at the Nacimiento Forest Service Fire Station. He reported that he just walked the Prewitt Trail and there were 25 trees down with one huge one in the middle section. The trees get bad about and hour in from the southern trailhead and an hour and a half in from the northern trailhead.
He's hoping to get his crew in to cut up some of the trees with the goal of getting the trail to the point where he can get pack stock in to help carry gear to clear the largest of the trees.
If you're interested in working on this trail, contact us at and we'll tell you how to get in touch with Murdock to help.
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jbl
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: June 11, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the first 3 miles of the south side of the loop.

Section: Ranger Station to "switchbacks" up west-facing ridge (by switchbacks I mean the long back-and-forth sections, some not really switchbacks per se, that take you up the ridge): WILDERNESS HIGHWAY (other than some minor encroaching PO in the first couple of hundred feet after you leave the Ranger
Station)

Section: switchbacks up west-facing ridge: CLEAR. Where the trail crosses the ridgeline on some of the upper switchbacks, there is some serious erosion (this appears to be due in part to the way the firebreak was cut and that waterbars may not have been put in properly); also on the portions of the switchbacks that wrap into the brush on the north side of the ridge, brush is encroaching a bit.

Section: top of switchbacks to about mile 3 of the trail: PASSABLE TO CLEAR. The brush (including lots of PO) is encroaching quite a bit here, and there are a few blowdowns. I cleared one nasty snag at about the 2 mile mark as best as I could with my 6" saw, but there's still a ~1' trunk across the trail there that you've got to duck under. There are a pair of ~3' redwoods down at a spot where the trail crosses a gravelly hillside (about 2.5 miles in) and a slight uphill detour is needed to get to where you can climb over the trees.
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jack_glendening
Posts: 703
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Gary

Thanks for that background. Since I've no previous experience of that trail, for route information I was primarily relying on the Prewitt Loop digital trail track provided by the USFS, as used in my on-line Ventana Trailmap. For many trails the USFS data is inaccurate, but for this trail it was spot on, following every twist and turn, so they must have had someone GPS it. Until right near the end, that is, where I found myself being mysteriously led north of the USFS track, reaching the highway 0.6 north of the Pacific Valley Station. For whatever reason, the USFS trail route data follows what you call the firefighters route. I later checked the latest Sierra Club Trail Guide and they speak of a "five minute walk" back to the PV Station so must also be referring to the "firefighters route" exit (since I don't think many people can walk 7 mph!). Based on those two facts I assumed that the more northerly trailhead must be relatively recent, but am now corrected.

The northerly trailhead is obviously now the "official" one based on the signage there, so that is how that trail is depicted on my trailmap. But I decided to also include the "firefighters route" as a "use trail" alternative since some might want to take it to shorten the walking along the highway and from Google Earth it appears still usable, though no guarantee of course.

Jack

PS: since I benefited from the work of the crew at the Nacimiento Station, I sent them a Christmas card thanking them for their work on that trail.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Jack;

Being one that hiked and worked the Prewitt Trail more than some others, the northern trailhead has been in this location for more than 10 years. The orange line on your map is the firefighters route to the trail. We used to use part of this route up through the pine trees when the other trail, green line was overgrown. However, we always started from the trailhead 0.6 miles north of the PV Station. Now that the fire crews maintain the green lined trail we use that trail. Thought you should know. We don't want to confuse folks to badly. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Gary Felsman
jack_glendening wrote:Date Hiked: December 16, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)


Note that there is now a new official northern entry, at a gate 0.6 miles north of the Pacific Valley USFS station, 1/4 mile north of that used in previous years and described in the Sierra Club Trail Guide. I've now put a GPS'd trail on my on-line Ventana Trailmap http://www.ventanahiking.net/ventana_trailmap.html It's great to have this nice trail again make for an enjoyable hike, and one that can be recommended to others. Much thanks go to Murock and the men of the Nacimiento Station! :-)

Jack Glendening
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jack_glendening
Posts: 703
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: December 16, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

After reading Murdock's report about the Prewitt Loop cleanup, I wanted to hike it before the rains came and more trees came down. You can see how much sawing and brushing had to be done and it is quite impressive! I found no down trees (except for a HUGE redwood that one walks down 50 feet to pick up the tread again, so is now part of the trail!), only downed branches which I cleared. There is flagging which while not needed now may prove useful to hikers after the rainy season degrades the trail. So the trail is in great shape, though the tread is irregular in the central section between the camps and will be felt by your ankles and knees.

Note that there is now a new official northern entry, at a gate 0.6 miles north of the Pacific Valley USFS station, 1/4 mile north of that used in previous years and described in the Sierra Club Trail Guide. I've now put a GPS'd trail on my on-line Ventana Trailmap http://www.ventanahiking.net/ventana_trailmap.html It's great to have this nice trail again make for an enjoyable hike, and one that can be recommended to others. Much thanks go to Murock and the men of the Nacimiento Station! :-)

Jack Glendening
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
Guest

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by Guest »

Date Hiked: October 20, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)


Hi there ,

I name is Murdock I work up at the Nacimiento Summit Engine 16 U.S. Forest Service . My crew and i spend three days on the Prewitt Loop trail . We cut out over 65 trees that where a cross the trail. The trail is alot better shape then it has been in years , It wasn't the easiest that i ever did , I hope all you find the trail more enjoyable.

Murdock

Editors Note - thanks Mudock and Engine 16!
mltaylor

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by mltaylor »

Date Hiked: July 1, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The hike from the highway up to Stag camp was uneventful. The tread was is good shape and there was no deadfall on the trail to the camp. There was some growth across the trail and poison oak was abundant. We replenished our water supply at the cattle water troughs about 3 plus miles from the highway.
The hike from from Stag camp to Kelly camp was difficult. Less than a mile from Stag camp the trail crossed a very steep, gravelly slide area that required care. The trail became better and we were rewarded with a beautiful stop at shady spot on the north fork of the creek. We got more water, cooled our feet in the water and proceed along the somewhat overgrown but distinct trail until we reached the ridge that divides the north and south forks of Prewitt Creek, about six miles into the hike.
At this point we lost the trail in the wheat colored grass just over the south side of the ridge. A trail appears to go out on the ridge to the west. Do not go that way! I found faint signs of the trail by carefully moving 10 -15 yards uphill and to the east. The tread was faint at first and the trail quite overgrown. Mercifully, some people from the ranger station had planted blue flags to guide the hiker along the nearly obliterated trail. I would describe the trail thus from this point until we reached Kelly camp: a "dotted line", alternating between distinct but overgrown tread, and very faint and overgrown trail. There was water in some of the redwood ravines along the way.
The tread from Kelly camp to the Ranger Station was in good shape. There were three or four springs along the trail to collect water. But there were 10+ logs across the trail (whose counting?) and significant brush obscuring the trail at the switch backs descending the steep westward face of the mountain overlooking the ranger station.
My advise to potential hikers oN this lovely but obviously little traveled trail: bring a good water filter and keep your water supply full, a couple of quarts per person. Dress in long sleeve shirts, pants, hat, use gaiters over your shoes, and treat your clothing with permethin to discourage the insects. It worked for me! Even the flies didn't get in face, and there were no ticks on my clothes when I got back to camp. Keep a keen eye for signs of faint tread, perserve and don't look for "shortcuts."
jwolf

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by jwolf »

Date Hiked: March 26, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We did this trail on the weekend of Mar 26-27, 2010. The trailhead was easy to find. We parked our car at the Pacific Valley Station and then walked along the road to the trailhead. We were the only ones on the trail. From the beginning to the Stag Camp, and from Kelly Camp to the end, the trail was nice and well-maintained. The wildflowers were beautiful and abundant - we saw a lot of lupine, California poppy, Indian paintbrush, blue-eyed grass, etc. We also saw a lot of butterflies. The ocean views were great. The two camps were well-established.

The worst part of the trail is between Stag and Kelly camps. The brush is getting so thick that it is impossible to pass without brushing against it. This makes it easy for ticks to climb aboard. My boyfriend and I received four tick bites and prevented at least 30 others. In addition, there was a lot of large debris which made it difficult to walk the trail. At points we lost the trail because of it being overgrown. At other points we nearly twisted our ankles due to the trail being washed out. It took us nearly four hours to hike the four miles of this part of the trail.

The most important equipment to carry is a good pair of tweezers. Also light colored pants and tight fitting clothing helps. I would wait to hike this trail until someone maintains it.
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mikesplain
Posts: 660
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Re: Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by mikesplain »

Date Hiked: February 24, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Sorry folks- not REALLY a trail report,
but apparently the Prewitt Loop may be getting a bit difficult to follow-
http://www.ventanawild.org/forum08/view ... 1735#p1735
jenanddarwin

Prewitt Loop Trail

Post by jenanddarwin »

Date Hiked: May 20, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I entered this trail from the south entrance at the ranger station. All the way to kelly camp it was wonderful - everything one would want for a day hike with one's dog and to get away for a bit.

Every bit of the trail inbetween Kelly and Stag camp was relentless - neverending off camber, loose soil and rocks, with narrow,overgrown trail and the endless potential of falling/sliding off the edge. Dont take your eye off the trail or you WILL slide off. There are 3 major trees down. The third is the largest and most difficult to get over but certainly not impassable. There are several creek passings where there is in fact water but the majority are dry.

Once I got to Stag camp the ground flattened out and the soil was solid. It was much more enjoyable and I imagine what most people are looking for. It is more exposed than the south entrance. So, if you were to do this on a hot day, I'd make this part your a.m. route and exit at the ranger station.

It of course goes with out saying that there is more poison oak than you can imagine at any given pt. on this trail. My dog and I were there 5/20/09 and at the end of the hike, I picked 27 ticks off him and I.

Wear long protective pants and shirts with sleeves. Make sure to cover yourself with ivy block. Wear supportive shoes and ones that wont cut into the outside of your right ankle when you are on the 4 mile +/- stretch inbetween the two camps that is off-camber (at the same angle) for the ENTIRE time.

It took exactly 6 hours and we only stopped for about 20 minutes. It is a 12 mile loop.
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