Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Long Thru Hike
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Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:42 am
by Kahn Man
I recently hiked from Kahn Ranch to the site of the former San Clemente Dam. The trail between the Dam and the Kahn Ranch is well maintained. That trail was embelished with a small loop on at its south-eastern end and shown on maps in the 2000's. Then in the 2010's that trail was "closed", but when I walked on it yesterday I found that the "closed" sign has been removed and the trail is clear all the way to the San Clemente Dam site and beyond to the San Clemente resort. The fence which once block access along this route between Kahn Ranch and the Dam has been removed. Seems to be if you get permission from Dormody (owners of San Clemente Resort) then you could use the line on the map which is identified as "San Clemente Trail" to get to Kahn Ranch. I believe the length of the Ponciano RIdge (along the San Clemente trail) was bulldozed in 2016.
From Kahn Ranch, you can walk Garland park trails to exit at Holt Road, near the mid-carmel-valley shopping center.

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:13 am
by Organizer
The "california coastal trail" will some day allow this to happen. That trail will pass through public land for its entirety. Your idea of passing through Kahn Ranch is fascinating but really not a great idea as you would need to either pass through many parcels of private land by way of white rock gun club, then down Black Rock and San Clemente creeks, or a big bushwack down Ponciano ridge then through the private San Clemente resort (you would make quite a site all bloodied and dirty walking through the resort).
The "california coastal trail" is still only a line on the map but that line does pass through only public land so you may want to consider it. If you pull off this hike by walking only on public land some will consider you a hero. If you tresspass you will beconsidered a scoundrel, a scofflaw and a criminal. See: https://www.bigsurcct.net/

I think your best bet is to use most of the condor trail (it is routed better than the bigsurcct) then use the bigsurcct route north of Mt. Carmel to finish the northerly section (how much trouble can you get into if you are walking on public land ... I don't know)

I suppose you could call San CLemente Resort and ask if you can walk through there?

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:05 am
by toejam
I agree with what others have said about water and trail conditions. But you've also got a really long road walk on the South Coast Ridge Rd.

More info for your research - http://www.condortrail.com/

The Condor Trail (which is actually more of a concept than a trail) passes through a lot of that. There are a handful of people who have hiked it and have info online. The web page is being rebuilt and there's a guidebook being written by a guy who hiked it twice.

The Condor Trail traditional route has some bad spots I'd skip (eg. Puerto Suelo Trail). Email me and I can get you in touch with people who know more about it.

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:09 pm
by LindsayJeffers20
"Can you expand more on your comment about the PCT/JMT? Indeed, my only thru-hiking experiences come from the Sierras. Comparatively speaking, I've barely spent any time at all on Ventana or Silver Peak trails. Do you mean to say that I should expect these trails to be less well maintained?"

My experience in the Sierra has been that trails nearly all fall into the category VWA trail reports classify as "Wilderness Freeway." The trails are open and unobstructed. Brush almost never intrudes and fallen timber is quickly cleared. On a 60 mile PCT hike in Washington last summer, I encountered only two or three fallen trees to step over and the only time brush swept my legs it was soft and wet and never hit more than waist height.

Those conditions are almost never encountered in the Ventana. Trails are being maintained by VWA volunteers but the collapse of fire and drought-weakened timber, the very rapid growth of chaparral and ever present poison oak make for a very different hiking experience. Scrambling under, over and through brush provides much of the adventure on all but the most recently cleared trails. In the case of your long route, it will make for a lot of adventure...

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:34 am
by VWA Admin
Your route involves quite a bit of difficult trail, be sure to consult the maps at https://bigsurtrailmap.net/ . The trail conditions map is especially useful in that it links to VWA's interactive conditions forums & we know of no more reliable source of maps for the region.

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:30 am
by Jim Ringland
I took a look at the route on your link. *Most* of the yellow route seems do-able. If you haven't, check out Jack Glendening's Big Sur Trail map at https://bigsurtrailmap.net/ for a fine overview of trail conditions. I don't have much autumn experience in the Santa Lucias, so I can't comment on water.

Why *most*? There's a problem in the north. The extension of the San Clemente Trail on Ponciano Ridge, as far as I know, isn't there and hasn't been for decades. Schaffer's 1987 book describes it as "definitely cross-country" and it's only gotten worse since. And the trail more-or-less straight north from Pine Creek Camp hits private property so you can't exit the wilderness there unless you know somebody who lives in the area. You may need to exit via the Turner Creek Trail, which recent reports suggest is difficult or worse.

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:23 am
by compeanja
LindsayJeffers20 wrote: However, if you are considering these trails to be similar to a section of the PCT or JMT, the only sections that might compare will be those along the South and North Coast Ridge Roads.


Hi Lindsay, thanks for that info! I think I'll take your advice and adjust my route to avoid those sections you mentioned.

Can you expand more on your comment about the PCT/JMT? Indeed, my only thru-hiking experiences come from the Sierras. Comparatively speaking, I've barely spent any time at all on Ventana or Silver Peak trails. Do you mean to say that I should expect these trails to be less well maintained?

Re: Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:10 pm
by LindsayJeffers20
At one time or another, I have covered most of your proposed route, all except the section from Ragged Point to Turkey Spr. Camp and from Pine Crk. Camp to Garland Park, Kahn extension.
Your concern with water is appropriate. There will be very few water opportunities in much of the inland areas, especially on the ridge tops. One August I was forced to dig --*unsuccessfully* in the stream bed in Indian Valley and almost passed out on the climb over the ridge to Tan Oak Camp and Zig-Zag Creek. Until next winter, I would worry about water.
Also, your concern about lost or near-lost trail segments is warranted. I would especially worry about the trail between Rainbow and Cienega camps, where the trail reports suggest serious problems, and even more the trail through Bear Basin. At least the latter can be avoided by staying on the Pine Ridge Trail to Church Crk. Divide and down to Pine Valley Camp.

It would be possible to avoid both those problem areas if you stayed on the Marble Peak Trail near Tan Oak and took it east to the Tony Trail then up Tassajara Road to Church Crk. Divide trail to the top of the Carmel River Trail down to Pine Valley Camp. But, you would also miss some great country along the S. Fork Big Sur River and probably 5K of climbing to reach N. Fork BS River and up over Pine Ridge. But you don't seem bothered by climbs.


I envy your enthusiasm for this route, which is a monster. If you can make opportunities to resupply along the way and if you wait for a wet season, I think this is a fine route. However, if you are considering these trails to be similar to a section of the PCT or JMT, the only sections that might compare will be those along the South and North Coast Ridge Roads. Read the VWA trail reports carefully and remain pessimistic about water sources in Ventana in August through November.

Best of luck
Lindsay

Long Thru Hike

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:37 pm
by compeanja
Hi all, new to the forum here.

For a number of years I've been thinking about a long hike from one end of Big Sur to the other. I've finally started looking at some maps and I've put together a possible line that starts at Ragged Point and ends in Monterey itself; about 120 miles total. Has anyone else ever done anything like this? Any advice?

From the maps and satellite images (https://caltopo.com/m/8QHF) it seems possible, but a couple sections of badly overgrown or missing trail could potentially ruin the whole thing. The other worry I have is water. I've found some good info on hikelospadres.com regarding water availability, but its hard to tell if all the water I need will still be available in October or November, when I am planning on doing this.

I would appreciate any feedback y'all might have in this regards.