Manuel Peak Trail

peter baily

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by peter baily »

Date Hiked: February 11, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The first two miles or so is in mostly excellent condition, well cleared of brush. After this, just before the first "rock grotto" the trail becomes increasingly brushy all the way to the summit. A large slide just past the first "rock grotto" has damaged the trail and has the potential to get a lot worse and dangerous to cross. The tiny, drip of a spring below the second "rock grotto" is dry. New growth, post-fire pines are doing well in the area of the summit. The trail from the summit towards Cabezo Prieto is very brushy, tunnel-like in some areas, and slowly being obliterated by brush, but it is followable - nothing like the wide open conditions after the 2008 fire. I turned around before Cabezo Prieto. Encountered no people on the trail. Though the vistas of Big Sur are beautiful as ever, mucking through the brush is not very pleasant- no hike for shorts! I pulled off two ticks that had begun burrowing in. Next time I will use more tick repellent.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by hunter »

Date Hiked: November 7, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from the trailhead in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for about 2 or 3 miles up the trail to Mount Manuel. The trail was clear and well-maintained. There is no water, and be careful of poison oak. I got a case of Poison Oak shortly after this hike, but my skin wasn't completely covered. It is a beautiful hike; I highly recommend it!
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Hydro-Logic »

Date Hiked: January 25, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or dead falls, tread evident)

First 2 miles wilderness freeway with a few spots where the tread slipped off. Last miles super brushy and slower going with one major blow down that requires a very steep re-route and several small area where tread fall of form recent rains. The brush scratched me up good but then again I had a sleeveless shirt and shorts due the 80 F weather!!!

We went over the Cabezo Prieto Ridge to Post Summit and then back to HW1. Cabezo Prieto was about the same condition as it was 3 years ago. There are long section of heavy overhead brush that requires pushing through. Tread relatively easy to follow with a few tricky spots. From Post Summit down it was wilderness freeway with ZERO brush buts lots of very steep and loose sections. Poles recommended.

It was hot and my dog and I needed water so I decided to venture off trail and look for the Golden Stairs Spring. Found it and it was running very well with cool, refreshing, great tasting water. What a god send! Thanks Jack for putting that on the maps. No possible way to know it was there otherwise. GPS coordinates were spot on! :D

[Thanks for the water report - nice to know that that is a reliable source - in comparison, the Mt Manuel Spring,only 200 ft higher in elevation, is currently dry. JG]
piero scaruffi

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by piero scaruffi »

Date Hiked: November 15, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked from Mt Manuel down to Pfeiffer after dark (day hike from Bottchers Gap) and had quite a bit of trouble following the trail in the dark. Towards the top (if you are coming from Pfeiffer, or after the top if you are coming from Post Summit) the vegetation gets quite thick. I am sure during the day i would have found the trail no problem, but in the dark it was challenging.

(BTW i think there is a mistake at ... trail.html as it mentions Big Sur Station as the parking lot of the trailhead instead of the parking lot at the end of Jules Pfeiffer park)

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jpdoelman »

Date Hiked: February 1, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

After bushwacking to Vado Camp.
I hiked the trail from Vado southward, after abount 1/4 mile the trail tread vanishes among a lot of down trees and unstable soil (why the trees fell over?). I bypassed this section by going straight up the slope to gain a minor ridgeline which is free of brush and covered by grass and oaks. (That minor ridgeline ascends to Cabezo Prieto). From the grassy ridgeline I picked up the trail where it is marked with a large rock cairn. From this point I continued south along the manuel trail for 1/8-1/4 mile until reaching a stand of redwood trees. The trail passes upslope of the highest of these redwoods then contours along. The trail was blocked in this area by a difficult-to-bypass 4ft diameter redwood. Beyond the down redwood the trail continues into an area covered with thick ceonothus. I stopped here after about 3 hours. I cleared the trail with loppers along the portions of trail that I walked. There is no/very-little tread south of the "minor ridgeline" mentioned above.
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:40 pm

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by vonSpifficus »

Date Hiked: January 11, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked Manuel on Saturday from Pfeiffer up to the peak. 1st two miles of trail were wilderness freeway, then passable to the summit. Couple washouts & deadfalls to navigate through, but nothing tricky. Encroaching brush kept our legs company towards the top, but we were fine in shorts. No poison oak in sight, nor water. Would like to try taking this through to Botcher's on a next visit.
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Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:11 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by gcilley »

Date Hiked: July 28, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The last few posts summarize it well. The trail starts off well-maintained but some spots are almost completely washed-out, very little tread. I was able to pass over them by moving quickly and walking lightly but there was a couple large sections that were more dangerous than most. The photos on paul_shroeder and jack_glendening's posts below are still accurate.

Near the top the brush is very dense, nearly impassible. I was very glad to be wearing pants. A fair amount of poison oak on the trail.

All in all, it was a bit dangerous and unrelenting and wasn't a super-interesting hike.
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by jack_glendening »

Date Hiked: July 25, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The last two reports suggested that conditions might have markedly deteriorated since my hike there in January, so I decided to see for myself the current trail status. Unfortunately I only had time to hike to where one first sees the Ventana Double Cone, 2.9 trail miles from the upper Oak Grove Trail intersection. While the tread was eroded and narrow in places, a wilderness trail which has not been maintained recently, I did not feel it was dangerous so long as one exercised caution - the narrowest tread was around 6 inches. [Here I am comparing to my previous report/photo of 20 March 2012 when the entire tread was eroded, crossing which was definitely dangerous.] The tread is rough and degraded and one does have to keep ones eyes on the trail while hiking, but there is little overgrowth and the route is never in doubt. There are some "step-over" downfall trees. I would judge that conditions have deteriorated only slightly from my January hike. Having a pole helped greatly and is strongly recommended. (personally I find using a single pole, for the downslope side, to be better than trying to use two poles)

I'd expected that the spring along the way (on a short side trail below the trail) would be bone dry, but instead found some surface flow - but it was more like a seep and getting any water would be very time consuming. Still, I was surprised to find any surface water at all at this time in this dry year. Some Madrone branches have fallen over the spring area and partially cover it - I found the metal bowl but not the "Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park" cup.

On the return I surprised a dark gray bobcat - I'd never seen one so dark that no black markings were visible on it even though I was fairly close.

Big Sur Trailmap:

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Ivanhchew »

Date Hiked: July 21, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I did this trail on a sunny day with fair weather with a friend, the park ranger told us it wasn't maintained after 4 miles due to a forest fire a few years ago and it seemed like we were the only ones on the trail.

The start of the trail is easy with a slight incline, however some parts were washed out with loose gravel. Trekking poles came in handy. After a few miles in we ran into a lot of brush and thorn bushes, long pants are recommended.
When we got up to the spring about half way to the peak (no water this time of year) the trail is completely obliterated with loose gravel for 15-20 yards. I scrambled over, but my hiking partner had shoes with weak treads and getting over was a risk she did not want to take (I would also recommend hiking boots with deep treads and not trail running shoes). I would like to come back sometime with a shovel to make some footings out of the trail washout, (some pictures are included in the posts below). We were disappointed we could not get to the summit, but were happy to be able to hike another day.

I do not recommend this trail to novice / height-challenged hikers.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Post by Poopycat »

Date Hiked: July 7, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I'm not a novice hiker, but am clearly not as advanced as the rest of you, so consider this point as you read my post.

I decided to try Mount Manuel this morning. At first, I didn't find the trail to be particularly challenging; the ascent felt pretty gradual and I was making good time.

I don't have the coordinates (again, not as advanced as all of you), but about an hour and 10 minutes in, I noticed that the trail was becoming very challenging. There were a couple of times when I actually sat down and slid past eroding sections. I should have turned back then, but kept going.

Eventually, another 15 minutes or so later, I got to a point where I couldn't even see a trail anymore, things were so eroded. The hike was no longer fun for me; given my "journeywoman" level of skill, I decided the right move was to turn back. I am disappointed that I couldn't finish what I started, by I would rather be alive and unhurt :)

I did finish the other trails in Pfeiffer, except for Oak Grove of course, so I got a good workout.
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