Miller Canyon Trail

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dknapp1
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Miller Canyon Trail

Post by dknapp1 »

Date Hiked: May 27, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Reported by Geoff Jackson:

Trail overgrown with post fire growth and washed out in several places. Plenty of downed trees. Route finding challenging in several areas, especially where new growth in fire affected areas. Once at Miller Canyon Camp trail relatively easy. Pay attention at every saddle as finding the correct trail leaving these overgrown grassy areas is critical to maintaining good time and route. The last decent into the canyon has a few down tress that need to be negotiated. No need to say that poison oak has been the dominant species to first recover in fire ravaged areas.
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Trail Conditions History 1999-2008

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Date Hiked: April 26, 2008
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Conditions reported by: JO
Survey date: 26-APRIL-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Miller Camp - Difficult

he trail was findable but disappeared in places requiring a bit of hunting around. Wildflowers are beautiful and poison oak proliferated.

Section: Miller Camp to Carmel River Camp -

The trail was barely there. A few red tags pointed the way in spots and were helpful. Mostly the trail ended in the river so we had to cross frquently. The poison oak was intense and unavoidable so take Zanfel if you go this way! It was hard hiking through overgrown bush most of the way. This trail needs some serious attention.
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Conditions reported by: Lynn Miller
Survey date: 10-JULY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

When leaving the canyon bear left until the sign at the second fork, as the first right fork of the trail will take you back to Miller Canyon camp site. Lots of tall poison oak over hanging the trail in side canyons all the way to the road.

No water until Nason Cabin site (walk down the hill past the stove remains), but choose pools with gravel bottom rather than the black silt as it will clog your water filter. Spring cattle movement on upper end of trail was in wet weather and has created badly deformed trail surface in places.
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Conditions reported by: Kalista
Survey date: 13-May-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Mostly passable, some difficult. Meadow at Nason's cabin site has no trail, so continue straight and to the right up the saddle and trail is clear on other side of saddle. Overgrown from Miller Canyon Camp to Carmel Creek Camp through river crossing area, but trail is fairly clear. Still water in creek to the point that you have to search for a good crossing place, but passable at all points.
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Conditions reported by: Geoff & Kristen
Survey date: 20-MAY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to the Nason Cabin - Passable

Heading down to the Cabin Site, there were quite a few overgrown areas (most w/poison oak), but nothing too bad. Ater getting off the road, keeping on the right tread was a bit difficult due to use trails from people or cattle. Found ourselves backtracking quite a few times after getting sidetracked on dead-ending tread.

Section: Nason Cabin to Miller Canyon Camp - Clear

From the Cabin Site to Miller Canyon Camp, the trail climbs up to a few saddles before dropping down into a narrow gulch towards Miller Canyon Camp. The trail here is, for the most part, clear - just stay on the most worn tread here. Slightly overgrown in a few areas, again with poison oak, but nothing too bad. Trail is very narrow in a few places along some fairly steep slopes. We also thought for a while that we might have gotten on the Hennicksons Trail accidentally, since the trail climbs so much and looks like it might be heading towards the ridge, but the Hennicksons Trail is clearly signed.

Section: Miller Canyon Camp to Carmel River Camp - Passable

The trail ranges from clear to very overgrown, with quite a few deadfalls and of course the many stream crossings. Poison Oak is abundant here, with it being to the left, right, and above in more than a few places. This is also the section of trail were we flicked off the most ticks, having to stop about every 5 minutes to check. All of the deadfalls were manageable, with most having trails leading around them. The worse deadfalls were rather small trees that one has to go around, but are up on the western slope of the canyon where the trail climbs up after and before many water crossings, on a steep slope with what is not a very stable turf. Water levels are at or just above knee level.

Overall: Passable/Difficult

Difficult in many sections, but passable for most of the trail, with much poison oak and ticks. Keeping the trail is difficult at times due to the many use trails, but stream crossings were fairly straight forward, and the scenery is magnificent. Our Lord's Candles were in full bloom, and the trail passes by a handful, with many many more wildflowers to be seen along the trail as well.
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Conditions reported by: P J Davenport
Survey date: 18-MAY-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

The trail between Carmel River Camp and Miller Canyon Camp was barely passable. I would not suggest taking this trail unless you are good with a map and compass (not for novices), the trail disappears in several places. We had the time of our lives and them some, but be warned, nothing was clearly maked, so be prepared to climb ravines, bush-whack and blaze your own trail. Have fun. We did. Whew!
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Conditions reported by: Patrick Dundon
Survey date: 17-MAY-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

After passing the wooden gate 1.5 miles from China Camp, the "trail" contours along above the Miller fork of the Carmel River. There are many places where one wonders if this is indeed a trail at all. This is no place for Teva's, tank tops, or tennis shorts. Protective clothing is the order of the day. Lupine to last a lifetime! Fish are to be had in the stream if you continue as far as Miller Camp.
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Conditions reported by: Stephen Eggleston
Survey date: 14-MAY-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

I hiked Miller Canyon Trail from China Camp to the Carmel River Trail as part of a loop trip. The trail was PASSABLE in most areas and DIFFICULT in some. Deadfalls were frequent but managable with a few challenging exceptions. The trail through many of the meadows was eroded and overgrown but visible. I found myself wishing for hiking poles as my ankles and knees suffered the downhill slope. I lost the trail briefly a few times due to overgrowth and erosion. Finding the trail after some creek crossings required extra effort. Poison Oak was surprisingly moderate except in certain creek areas. Ticks were moderate. Overall the trail was a challenge but beautiful.
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Conditions reported by: John Fedak
Survey date: 25-NOV-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Miller to Miller Canyon Camp (Clear to Passable)

The trail is in very good shape and is easily followable from China Camp to the Nason Cabin site. At the top of the ridge near the Nason Cabin site the abundance of use trails made selecting the correct trail to decend from the ridge nonobvious. Several sections of the trail are washed out (no problem if the trail is dry, may be an issue with mud) and there are the usual amounts of poison oak and a few downed trees to navigate.

Section: Miller Canyon Camp to the Carmel River (Passable to Difficult)

The picnic table at Miller Canyon Camp continues to decompose, but otherwise the camp was in decent shape. Continuing downstream, the riverside portion of the trail is overgrown and picking up the trail after crossings is not always obvious (in places, there are use trails along both sides of the river). The river was still mostly rock hoppable when I was there, but this has likely changed with the rains since then. Clover Basin Camp is still overgrown with poison oak.

Trip Pictures
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Conditions reported by: Todd Meister
Survey date: 08-OCT-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Carmel River

The trail from China Camp to the Carmel River was well-defined. There was a section where we thought we may have accidentally taken Hennickson's Trail up to the Tin House, but that turned out to be incorrect. The correct path from the gate about one mile from Miller Creek Camp was not marked, though now that I've hiked the trail once, I don't think I'd be confused again.

There were some washouts to scramble around, and in the section of the trail between the gate (not marked on the USGS or Schaffer's generally more accurate map) and Miller Creek Camp, there was one particularly bad downed tree we had to scramble around, through poison oak. That whole section, in fact, was the most washed-out and deadfall-infested section of the trail, with some of the washouts being over some pretty dramatic drops.

The final trek along a creek to Miller Creek Camp was also a little washed-out, with one bad-looking clamber up and around a short but potentially wet fall. Thought that clamber turned out not nearly as bad as it looked, it can only get worse with more use.

From Miller Creek Camp to the Carmel River, I was exhausted, so I don't remember much, but from what I do remember, it wasn't too bad. Some logs and downed trees to climb over or limbo under, but not much else. The creek was always low enough to cross without any foot-wetting.
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Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 20-MAR-2004
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Carmel River Trail jct.

Don't think I've yet rated a trail difficult, but this one earns it (some spots are nearly impassable)! I brought my clippers, but soon realized that merely trimming brush would be an exercise in futility without an experienced trail crew re-building the tread. If that doesn't happen soon, this trail will certainly be lost before long.

Starting off easily enough, Jeffery Road descends from China Camp to the Tanbark Association's private in-holdings, passing a disturbing number of spent shotgun shells along the way; even more disturbing are the pitiful carcasses of band-tailed pigeons laden with bird shot- so sad that another human being could consider this sport... (but I digress)

Carefully following white and yellow "trail" arrows mounted on trees at the various intersections, trail leaves the road just past a large fenced pond. Passing through a stock gate, the trail continues through more private in-holdings and then begins an up and down traverse, vaulting several shoulders of Chew's Ridge (Schaffer counts six) on it's way down to Miller Canyon Camp.

Pay close attention as several switch-backs along this section are easily missed (so many folks have apparently done so, "mis-use trails" have developed). Poles are advisable, since several sections are slumping right off the mountain with barely a few inches width of tread across particularly airy traverses- quite intimidating!

Eventually, the Hennickson's Ridge Connector appears and a descent into Miller Canyon begins via a narrow but scenic west-flowing tributary. Miller Canyon Camp has seen better days, the picnic table is suitable for kindling. Shortly beyond the camp a series of crossings begins (Schaffer counts twenty-one) so keep a close eye on the far bank to avoid more of the aforementioned mis-use trails.

Passing through Clover Basin Camp the crossings continue for another mile or so and then the trail begins to ascend the south canyon wall, avoiding a deep gorge below. Nearing the Carmel River proper, our trail is once again fairly well-graded, dropping to cross the Miller Fork one last time before reaching the Carmel River Trail intersection.

9-10 Miles hiking took me about 4.5 hours.
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Conditions reported by: Kelsey Jordahl
Survey date: OCT-2002
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE
Specific:

China Camp to Miller Canyon Camp: CLEAR
The upper portion of this trail, after leaving the road, has been recently cleared and is in fine shape. Both of us separately missed the final switchback before arriving at Miller Canyon Camp and walked down along the steep side of a ravine, wondering how the trail could have gotten so sketchy so suddenly. The trail was fine, if we hadn't missed the turn.

Miller Canyon Camp to Carmel River Trail: PASSABLE
Continuing northwest from Miller Canyon Camp, the trail is sometimes indistinct and crosses the Miller Fork frequently. Following the trail is typical canyon-bottom walking, one has to be alert about when to look for a crossing, the trail is frequently overgrown by leafy growth and poison oak, and multiple use trails have often formed where previous visitors lost the main tread.

Clover Basin Camp is less appealing than Miller Canyon Camp, the camp sign itself has been completely enveloped by poison oak.
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Conditions reported by: Mark Riddle
Survey date: 10-JAN-2002
General: PASSABLE to CLEAR
Specific:

A little rough going along the river due to high water until I passed Miller Canyon Camp, climbing out of the valley. From there the trail is in good condition all the way to China Camp. Stopped counting newts at number 10.
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Conditions reported by: Neil Lahaie
Survey date: 20/21-OCT-2001
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE
Specific:

We hiked from China Camp to the Carmel River Trail junction, and returned back up to Miller Camp the first day. Then back to China Camp the second day.

Tread is in decent condition along most of the route with small sections that are badly eroded. The trail was overgrown in some places, but no worse than any other trail I've hiked in Ventana. There are several trees down along the route but none were difficult to crawl under or over.

River crossings weren't a problem in mid-October with a pair of trekking poles for additional points of contact.

Poison Oak was easy to spot since most of it had turned red.

Route finding wasn't difficult at this time of year and we didn't encounter the problem mentioned in the previous reports. Thanks to the folks who tagged tricky intersections on the trail.

Two streams that cross the trail in the upper half of the route had ample water to filter.

Miller Canyon Camp was comfortable and inviting.

Tick count for party of two on two day hike: 1
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Conditions reported by: Benjamin Reed-Lunn
Survey date: 29-MARCH-01
General: CLEAR BUT NOT FOR NOVICES
Specific:

Acceptable trail conditions. This was probably the most overgrown trail I've ever had to follow, but perhaps many of you have seen worse. We only lost the trail for about five minutes at a time though. The worst section was along the Miller Canyon Fork itself. Luckily, the clover on the trail, when stepped on, stay flattened, so we were able to follow most of the trail. There are about 10 river crossings and in at least this time of year you are certainly going to get your feet wet, so bring some sandals! You also should bring long pants as the ticks are out in full force since the trail is overgrown and you are bound to brush up against branches with ticks on them. And to make matters worse you walk through fields of poison oak down near the river. The campsites are in fairly good order, although we found it very hard to start a fire. The portion of the trail up above the river wasn't bad at all; just look out for the turn mentioned in the note below. Needless to say, this wasn't our favorite part of our hike, but it is perfectly do-able.
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Conditions reported by: Shari Arroyo
Survey date: 20-JUNE-99
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Generally good trail conditions. One very large downed tree about 2? miles from Miller Canyon Camp. Loose tread along precipitious gully about 3 miles from Miller Canyon Camp. About 2.5 miles from China Camp, the trail appeared to end in some woods before reaching a gully. We made the mistake of crossing over the gully and bushwacking through some heavy brush and climbing over several large downed trees on a very steep slope, only to realize that we were definitely off the trail. To avoid same mistake, stay to the left and go up towards grassy meadow to stay on the trail. Most small stream crossings were dry. Lots of poison oak and bugs.
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Miller Canyon Trail

Post by Site Administrator »

* USFS Trail # 3E04
* Parking: China Camp/Tassajara Road
* Watershed: Miller Canyon Fork Carmel River
* Junctions: Carmel River Trail
* Connects: Carmel River Trail with China Camp
* Camps: Miller Canyon, Clover Basin.
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