Carmel River Trail

Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by seagoat1724 »

Date Hiked: October 22, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Between Los Padres Dam and Miller Canyon Trail Junction
Trail is wilderness freeway.
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by annevoi »

Date Hiked: May 15, 2019
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

This post is in response to that of April 23 by Kalen Edwards, for which thanks. Today, three Ventana Wilderness Rangers surveyed the approach to the Carmel River Trail on the Cal-Am access road just past Los Padres Dam, and indeed: the road has been obliterated by a landslide--with more slides to come, by the looks of the fissures within fifty yards of the main slide. The trail is impassable--very dangerous. The road at the dam end is blocked by a cyclone fence, and further up, by orange netting and a sign stating "Notice: Active Landslide--Extreme Danger--Do Not Enter!" We also posted a sign at the China Camp trailhead indicating that the trail to the dam is impassable.
Dam slide.jpg
Dam face of slide.jpg
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 pm

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by taylor »

Date Hiked: May 7, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Started on the trail from the Pine Valley campsite. After exiting the cabin's property at the gate, there are four deadfalls as you descend into the canyon. Once you hit the river, the trail becomes increasingly brushy, and on the south bank the trail is easy to lose for the brush. While the tread is evident most of the way, the further you push, the more the brush encroaches. If you don't feel much like bushwacking, this trail may not be for you.

Ultimately, I lost the trail entirely just before I was to intersect with the Round Rock trail junction. Coincidentally, it was 6:30pm, and I had just found a camp site before the trail was lost, so whether I lost the will to continue or the trail is anyone's guess.

I rated this one Difficult because I lost the trail, but up to that point it's somewhere between Passable and Difficult.

The canyon is stunning, and you'll likely have it all to yourself (I did). It is pretty ticky, but that's to be expected. The poison oak is prospering this season. The river is happily on the move, and water is available for the entirety of the trail.
Kalen Edwards

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Kalen Edwards »

Date Hiked: April 20, 2019
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The trail was closed at the Los Padres damn with a newly installed gate and fence. I ended up doing the pine ridge hike and ran into some backpacker that were intending to end their trip at the Los Padres dam but encountered impassable land slides on the road above the reservoir. There were no signs or warnings apparent to me when I was approaching the dam and the other hikers said there was no warning the trail was closed until they reached the impasse. Would be nice to have some warning for folks coming from the south so that they can find a detour before hiking miles to a dead end. It would also be nice if the Forest Service website reflected the reality of the closure, as the Los Padres dam and Carmel River hikes are still indicated as being open.

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by Alison »

Date Hiked: February 9, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked this trail with the plan of camping at Hiding Canyon for the night. The first couple miles are passable with a few bushy oaks down across the trail that can be difficult to climb over/through. There were a couple small washouts but easy enough to navigate across with careful footing. We saw a lot of very happy poison oak! And the ticks are out in full force as well; my boyfriend found one in his arm when we got back to the car.

We made the mistake of not planning on the Carmel River being too high to pass, but it was. The first water crossing (on a stream that runs into Carmel River) was easy and flagging marked the trail on the other side. The second water crossing near Bluff Camp was very sketchy. We crossed the river (stupid, I know) but because the current was so strong, we didn't feel comfortable crossing back, especially with a forecast of rain that night that could potentially make the river even more dangerous. We tried to continue on from there to try to find a place to camp for the night but at the Miller Trail junction there was another crossing that we didn't feel like attempting and Miller Trail was completely gone past a few hundred feet. So, we opted to bushwhack up to Hennicksons Ridge and walk out that way. Lots of big cat poop and a few big pawprints but otherwise much safer than crossing that river!

All in all, it's a great trail and we will definitely try it again when the water has calmed down. Bluff camp looked like a really nice campground!

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by TrailRunner »

Date Hiked: December 10, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Spent the night at Bluff camp, some fall on the trail but my hatchet made quick work of the bulk of it. Still one round about 12" in diameter that obscures the trail. Hopefully the clearing of it will avoid persons cutting the switchback on the way down to the riverbed.
Beware, the ticks are in full force after the rain and all precautions should be taken. Over 4 dozen were pulled off my dogs....

- TR

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by VillageBoar »

Date Hiked: December 1, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Los Padres to Bluff Camp. Trail in good shape despite some areas of rockfall after recent first-of-season rains. Two medium trees blocking the hillside trail between the intersection of Big Pines Trail and the Cold Dog Use Camp where Danish Creek flows into the Carmel River. The first tree is about 12" dia. and is about 0.4 miles north of Danish Creek. This can be crawled over without packs. The second (about 0.25 miles north of Danish Creek) shows signs that hikers are walking down the hill at the switchback. Otherwise the trail is clear and in good shape.
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: November 18, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Church Divide to Pine Valley the trail is clear except for one large log (~2 ft diameter). Water is flowing in the Carmel River in Pine Valley.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:17 am
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by bpchristensen »

bpchristensen wrote:Date Hiked: September 28, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)
Buckskin Flat


Miller Creek junction

River just past Carmel River Camp

Bluff Camp - river just beyond and below camp


Re: Carmel River Trail

Post by bpchristensen »

Date Hiked: September 28, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked in to Buckskin Flat for first night and then doubled back to Bluff for our second night, then back out on the 3rd day. Didn't see anyone the whole time. Trail is clear the entire way, plenty of water in the river. There are a couple of spots (particularly just before Buckskin) where it is easy to lose the trail when crossing the river - the two sections aren't always directly across the river from each other. River crossings did not require getting feet wet - there were navigable rocks at each of the crossings (trekking poles help!) Generally easy trail - this was my wife's first backpack trip in >35 years and she had no problems.

The section between Sulphur Spring and Buckskin has a LOT of poison oak; the trail is clear, but you'll have it brushing on your legs and boots a lot, so plan on dealing with that.

Camp sites at Bluff, Carmel River, Sulphur Spring, and Buckskin are all intact and in good shape, with a few mis-placed fire boxes/grates. Notices are placed on all the fire rings for cold camping only. (hopefully that will be cleared soon with a few rain storms!).
New Report