Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

davidMA

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by davidMA »

Date Hiked: February 6, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Salmon Creek Falls Trailhead to Dutra Flats to Three Peaks Camp in one day. Thanks to the great volunteer(s) who trimmed the PO along the Spruce Creek Trail.

Water: There was water at most of the ephemeral creeks along the trails. Water is not an issue.

Trail - Trail erosion is also not an issue. We cleared a 6" pine off of the beggining portion of the Three Peaks Trail. Not a lot of PO along the Three Peaks trail, if any.

Three Peaks trail follows the firebreak out of Dutra Flat. The most difficult part of the trail is the uphill portion out of Dutra. Look for the red tape flagging and ducks/cairns. It's a Flintstone carwash once you crest the first hill then start down, then the trail clears up for a spell. No ticks. I did some brush clearing and cutting along the way, but more needs to be done. However, the trail is not so bad that you can't follow it. The second large hill is...not fun. The road to Three peaks is in good shape, but water has eroded a corner out and there is a ditch you have to jump, a small jump, crossable by all except cars.

Camp - The Three Peaks Camp is in good shape and there is plenty of water there. The table is in okay shape, some of the boards are rotting, but it is usable. Dutra Flats camp was occupied but only one table was functional. The water at Dutra was flowing good.
toejam
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by toejam »

Date Hiked: January 29, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked from Dutra Flat to South Coast Ridge Rd. Tough to follow the trail out of Dutra Flat my first time on this trail. Corners of the switchbacks are overgrown and have deadfall to confuse the issue, and the old maps show no switchbacks at all. But the road bed becomes apparent with a little patience. Great views from the top of the ridge and along the old dozer cut all the way to South Coast Ridge Rd. There are some tight green tunnels on the north side of the ridge above Dutra, but the hike went smoothly after that, remembering I was following a fire break along the ridge top. Only minor bleeding at the other end. Gate at the top of the road to 3 Peaks Camp is locked with a removable chain link.
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Gate busted open to Three Peaks Camp allowing 4WD access

Post by gfelsman »

Forestkeeper wrote:Date Hiked: June 13, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

My trail report isn't so much about the trail as it is about the fact that the gate up at the top of the Coast Ridge Road is now open, looks like some 4WD'ers have cut the chain allowing them access all the way down to Three Peaks Camp. I'm so frustrated at this, I hiked 17.5 miles into the wilderness just to be around a bunch of beer drinking loud music yahoo's.
You should report this to the Monterey Ranger District if you have not already.
Forestkeeper

Gate busted open to Three Peaks Camp allowing 4WD access.

Post by Forestkeeper »

Date Hiked: June 13, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

My trail report isn't so much about the trail as it is about the fact that the gate up at the top of the Coast Ridge Road is now open, looks like some 4WD'ers have cut the chain allowing them access all the way down to Three Peaks Camp. I'm so frustrated at this, I hiked 17.5 miles into the wilderness just to be around a bunch of beer drinking loud music yahoo's.
jjj

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by jjj »

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

We hiked on the third day of a four day trip from South Coast Ridge Road to Dutra Flat. As HikePieHike mentioned below, there's no sign at the fork between the descent into the Three Peaks Camp and continuing on the trail, but someone has created a new handwritten sign indicating the trail head on South Coast Ridge Road. There were some areas where we had to fight through brush, especially in the final ascent to the top of the ridge above Dutra Flat. Without a map, that section would have also been a bit difficult to find, but outside of that, navigation generally wasn't difficult since almost the entire trail follows a ridge.
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Jim Ringland
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by Jim Ringland »

Date Hiked: March 19, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this west to east (up hill). Having hiked this in the past, I didn't have the route finding difficulties the last few posters had. The only tricky section for me was finding where the trail leaves the valley near Dutra. (See jbl's April 6, 2013 post below.) Beyond that, open eyes and a few cairns can guide the way. Some pushing through the chaparral, but nothing too bad. Some steep grades. There was a breeze when I hiked, but I can imagine exposure to the hot sun could be a real risk here on a warm day.

Going up this trail was the last leg of a three-day loop that started at the top after the 14 mile drive up the Willow Creek and South Coast Ridge Roads. The first night I walked down to Three Peaks Camp. The trail down is an old road and is clear. Three Peaks is a nice camp in a narrow riparian corridor through what is otherwise dry chaparral (manzanita, chamise, ceanothus, etc.) dotted with Coulter Pines. The camp is under oaks and bays. New sign. There are two camping areas. Right from the sign as you come in is a wooded camp with a stove and table. (The table is much, much older than that new sign). Left from the sign is a sunny, grassy flat. Noisy burbling stream. Mod cons. Three Peaks Camp is one of the few with a still-intact, if old and creaky, wooden toilet. (Correct me if I'm wrong, though. Burying one's waste 6" down seems the more environmentally appropriate option.)

Jim Ringland
Bill Waycott

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by Bill Waycott »

Date Hiked: June 22, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

As reported in the April 13, 2014 write-up, the Three Peaks Trail has not changed much. We (California Native Plants Soc., Rare Plant Treasure Hunt) hiked from east to west. At one point, walking the ridge between Davis Creek (south) and Spruce Creek (north) prior to ascending the ridge above Dutra Flat, we lost the trail. Make sure to stick to the ridge even if the tread and brush don't point towards the direction of the trail. The faux trail took us into Davis Canyon. Then, at the top of the ridge above Dutra Flat, we lost the trail again. Be sure the go left at the top of the ridge to continue on the trail. To the right is the ridge high point with good 360 degree views. Once at Dutra Flat, the way is clear towards Spruce Creek Camp. It would be good if the next hiker carried pink flagging tape to mark the portions of the trail that are not clear. Thank you.
HikePieHike

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by HikePieHike »

Date Hiked: April 13, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked this trail East to West. The trail was passable, but difficult due to brush and faint tread in some parts. The trailhead sign on South Coast Ridge Rd has been damaged and is no longer legible. There is no sign at the junction where the trail splits off from the fire road that continues to Three Peaks Camp, and although the trail is visible on the ridge in the distance, the part near the junction isn't as obvious. As a side note, the stream at the camp was flowing and looked cool and inviting. After the junction, the trail mostly follows the ridge line, which makes it easy to navigate even with faint tread, but also leads to a couple steep sections with loose rock. This section is also exposed, so there are some great views but be sure to have sun protection. There was also plenty of brush to push your way through. The portion leading to the ridge above Dutra Flat and then down was probably the more difficult part to navigate, the brush was dense and the tread was faint. The trail is marked with some pink plastic ribbons tied to the brush in a few spots through this section. We lost the trail heading down into Dutra Flat and ended up just South of the Spruce Creek junction. The area around Dutra Flat was beautiful with rolling green grassy hills, large oak trees and cattle that like to peek their heads over the hills to watch you hike. The Spruce Creek Trail from Dutra Flat to Salmon Creek was clear and easy with some encroaching poison oak.
pantilat
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: March 16, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Three Peaks trail is mostly clear but there are a couple sections of light brush and the tread is not always obvious in the stretch immediately above Dutra Flat. Between South Coast Ridge Road and the prominent ridge above Dutra Flat, the route sticks to an old fire break on the ridge crest so navigation is never really in doubt. This ridge provides views of the surrounding terrain, which is mostly chaparral and Coulter Pine. There are also excellent views of Dutra Creek, Dutra Flat, and County Line Ridge on the final descent into Dutra Flat. Overall, this is an efficient way to get from South Coast Ridge Road to the Dutra Flat/Mt. Mars area with few impediments.

Photo album here.
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jbl
Posts: 212
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Three Peaks Trail (aka Dutra)

Post by jbl »

Date Hiked: April 6, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the segment from Dutra Flat camp to the top of the first ridge north of camp (el. ~2,790'), where the trails turns north.

I've done this before, but (as has been the case before) the "entrance" to the trail on the hillside just past the San Carpoforo trail/3 Peaks trail junction is not readily apparent

The trail itself (once you get onto it) is clear to passable; it is an old dozer cut so you just need to follow the flat "roadbed" as it makes its way up the sidehill. It is amazing how the manzanita has grown in in the middle of the roadbed and gotten so big, causing you to thread around it to the left and right, but the way is always certain.

As to the entrance to the trail down at Dutra Flat, see the below Google Earth image, which shows (in green) the current track on Jack Glendening's online maps and (in yellow) the actual track (I'm forwarding my GPS track to Jack, so by the time you read this he may have updated his online maps). The key information is: you need to turn up into the grassy draw past the first brushline you pass as you leave Dutra Flat, and you will see a rock on top of which is a spool of barbed wire with another rock on that (which I've called the Barbed Wire Cairn). You go about 20 feet past that, and at that point, although the way looks to still be straight ahead (which is a continuation of the grassy draw), instead you turn right through a narrow opening in the brush (with two small cairns in front of it) and you will be on the trail as it bears right.
3 peaks.jpg
Here are two pics that show the lay of the land and the route out of the grassy draw:
View towards Barbed Wire Cairn and trail entrance into brush
View towards Barbed Wire Cairn and trail entrance into brush
The opening where you go through the brush
The opening where you go through the brush
New Report