Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest has re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In and around the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open.

The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp remains closed.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are also open. Most back roads (including Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge roads) remain gated and closed.

This map depicts the closure boundary. Still 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, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions, pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper), and leave this special place better than you found it.

State Parks

The following are 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 (go online or call to find out if the park's campgrounds are open) 

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (additional US Forest Service information for the Monterey Ranger District): Please note that the information above is oftentimes more up-to-date than the US Forest Service site. Call 831-385-5434 with questions. 

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 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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