Highway One Closure: Due to a washout at Rat Creek, Highway 1 is closed from just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north to Big Creek Vista Point in the south. Expect this closure to be in place until late April, 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road -- which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge -- is significantly damaged and will be closed indefinitely. 

What's Open: NEW: The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp IS OPEN effective April 13, 2021. 

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness trails inland can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) and from Tassajara Road off or Carmel Valley Road). Along the coast, Wilderness trails may be accessed via the Pine Ridge Trail at Big Sur Station, the North Coast Ridge Road, the Boronda Trail, and the De Angulo Trail on Highway One.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are open. 

What's Closed: Click here for a map that shows the current fire closure boundaries

Road Closures: Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Cone Peak, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge Roads remain closed.

Know Before You Go: Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever. 

Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and stoves are currently permitted in the backcountry. Click here for a permit and take it with you

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 
Open for day use: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

This is the place to discuss anything related to trail maintenance or restoration. General trail questions should be posted in the Ventana Discussion forums.

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Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby jbl on Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:17 pm

Rubrnutz: I applaud your efforts and it is great to hear a report as I haven't been over along the ridge between Mt. Mars and the County Line Road/Murray Mine Road junction for several years. I must return (with my loppers and saw no doubt). The key to this section of the route is to know it is an old firebreak so it mostly sticks to the apex of the ridge; there are 3 peaklets along the way, the first two are mostly wooded an the easier ones, the third one is mostly chapparal and that is where the problems typically start as they are notorious blockers. It's too bad you didn't push a little further through that brush on the ocean facing side of Mt. Mars because it does end (probably not far from where you turned around) and then it's all open grass down to the Kozy Kove Meadow and from there you can follow an old ranch road all the way down to Highway 1 to a spot about 1/2 mile south of Salmon Creek, or if you can find it you can take the use trail that doubles back to the Salmon Creek Trail and take that down. These are all in the online Big Sur Trail Maps. DEFINITELY BRING A GPS WITH THE BIG SUR TRAILMAPS DOWNLOADED TO IT NEXT TIME AND YOU'LL DO A LOT BETTER!
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Re: Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby Rubrnutz on Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:52 pm

Went up to Mt. Mars a couple weeks ago from the Ragged Point Fire road side(south). Caught the trailhead at Murry Mine Rd. and County Line Rd. Really, it was unintentional to go up to Mt. Mars but I had tried probably a year earlier to access Mt Mars from the Salmon Creek side with no success. So I thought what the hell.. Tread is hardly visible, pretty much a game trail but earlier clippings and cuttings can still be seen. Old stumps that have clearly been cut with tools can be followed as well. I have to say it is a scramble though, constantly evaluating the easier route because of all the overgrown brush and fallen trees. To say the least, it is still doable but hardly worth the trouble. There are better views from County Line Rd than from the top of Mars. I did try to scramble down the north side of the mountain towards Thorndyke Top/Salmon creek but it quickly became very thick and overgrown....overhead as well so that made it tough to navigate. I guess one could use a trail app or GPS to follow the old trail but that would take some pretty determined folks to navigate that side as I have heard it is quite steep and seriously overgrown.
Any way, don't let this post detour you from at least giving it a shot, it would be really great to see that trail cleared up again as it would open up some great loop opportunities from both sides.

Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby jbl on Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:25 am

Thanks for the report. I last hiked this route in February '18 ... 247111461/
and had been on it several times previously, at that time the section from Mt. Mars down to the NE Ridge Trail/SE Ridge Trail junction was somewhat clear, the junction was marked with a cairn (which had been there for a couple of years) and the NE Ridge Trail down to the Spruce/Dutra trail was followable but getting overgrown, sounds like overgrowing is continuing and the unofficial maintenance is not keeping up (the principal unofficial maintainer of the NE Ridge Trail has started to focus his hiking in other areas so we no longer benefit from his stellar work).
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Re: Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby Sap_ on Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:49 pm

Date hiked 1/2/2020

From Salmon Creek trail to Kozy Kove Meadow the route was overgrown but definitely passable with clear tread.

From Kozy Kove Meadow to summit the route was very steep but had excellent views. There was some bushwhacking towards the summit but the vast majority of the climb up the ridge line was clear with great views.

From Mount Mars summit to Spruce Creek trail the route was overgrown and slow going. I did get a little turned around at the junction with the SE Ridge Usetrail (GPS was very helpful).

Overall it was a great route! Big thanks to all the ventanaphiles who inspire me to get out there.

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Re: Mt. Mars Area Trail Report-UPDATED 3/17/15

Postby jbl on Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:17 pm

A group of us hiked up the Western Ridge of Mt. Mars and then down its Northeastern Ridge on 3/7/15 (we didn't go over the SE ridge, but I understand that that remains about the same as I reported in '13).

The Western Ridge was pleasant due to slightly damp, grassy tread (this section is horrible when dry--very slippery due to ball bearing nature of the rocks and dirt).

The NE Ridge, which I hadn't been on for several years and which is NOTORIOUS for heavy brush growth with lots of PO, has benefited from work that's been done by someone who has effectively either cleared or made an obvious path through the entire route (it's slightly tougher towards the bottom, sometimes with a couple of different ways through a given section of heavy brush, but generally if you stay at or near the apex of the ridge the entire way up you are home free).

I actually can't wait to return along the NE ridge, which I didn't say after my last trip there.
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Re: Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby LBehrmann on Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:10 pm

That's very interesting, I will have to check that out, and thanks for the nice report! That County Line Road is interesting though, I haven't been up it in a while (I mentioned it in a very old San Carpoforo trail report in 2007 or so). There is one place near the ridge where hawks were circling around very close to the road because it just so happened the updrafts worked out that way. I just learned about the online map JG made, and wow, I'm impressed!

I actually didn't know about many of these fire breaks and "use" trails in the area. Before too long I'm going to have to get a new Burro Mountain quad because mine is getting so dog eared. :lol:


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Mt. Mars Area Trail Report

Postby jbl on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:01 pm

As there is no official place in the Trail Report forum for providing reports for the use trails around Mt. Mars, I'll give a report here so that those who may go exploring up there will know the current conditions. In this report I'll use the trail names that Jack Glendening has adopted in his online Big Sur Trailmap.

I visited Mt. Mars last Saturday with 3 others. We approached from the junction of the County Line Road, the County Line Ridge Usetrail and the Murray Mine Track, using the "Mount Mars SE Ridge" route. For those who've never been up there, this route crosses 3 sister peaks to the southeast of Mt. Mars before arriving at Mt. Mars, and follows an old fire break that generally stays on top of the ridge. The first two peaks are in forest, and the route is relatively clear, although baby pine trees and manzanita are growing in the middle of the track, and on the approach to and descent from the second peak the manzanita along the edges of the firebreak (that wasn't cut when the dozer went through to cut the firebreak) grows out across your path in many places (we cut a lot of this).

From the saddle between the second and third peak to the saddle between the third peak and Mt. Mars, you are out of the forest and in medium to tall chaparral, and this is always the worst part. I was last there in '11 and there was an open path of sorts the whole way, but on Saturday it was blocked in many places. We cut through all of the heaviest blockage and there is now an open path through again, but more work is needed in places.

From the saddle between the third peak and Mt. Mars all the way up to Mt. Mars, you are in low (but ever-spreading) manzanita and it is easy to pick your way through to the summit where there's a nice little clearing from which to take pics of Lion's Den and Three Peaks to the northeast:

View Northeast From Mt. Mars (picture take on prior trip)

We intended to leave the summit towards the west along the "Mt. Mars Traverse" track, and I was prepared to do my traditional hunt for the narrow and often hard to find opening into the 650' long brush tunnel that is west of the summit, when lo and behold I made a pleasant discovery: this route been cleared and widened to 5' wide for its entire length by person or persons unknown (THANKS!), with the only hazard being some stumps along the path that you've got to look out for. But it is now easy to find this exit route from the summit and to not get lost when following it (which was always a possibility at the times when it was overgrown).

Once we'd gone through the brush tunnel and had a pleasant lunch at 2,550' on the grassy ocean overlook at the western end of the brush tunnel...

Ocean View From Mount Mars (picture taken on prior trip)

...we headed down the ridge to Kozy Kove Meadow and continued on the "Mt. Mars Traverse" track as it doubled back towards the Salmon Creek Trail. We found that this section of the trail had been brushed a bit and was more clear than normal.

All in all a very pleasant day.
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