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Bee Camp Trail-Lower

Re: Bee Camp Trail-Lower

Postby pantilat on Mon May 21, 2018 2:14 pm

Date Hiked: May 20, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

From Upper Bee Camp a faint trail on the east side of the North Fork Big Creek can be followed for ~1/4 mile before it largely disappears in a meadow. The Lower Bee Trail is essentially historic and any travel beyond is purely cross country. At the point where the faint trail ends it's likely most efficient to descend to the creek and follow it down to Lower Bee. At first the creek is completely to mostly dry for easy rock hopping with flow increasing as one descends. The creek travels over bedrock, which is somewhat unique for this altitude of the watershed and the gradual gradient through this area, and it results in a series of mini cascades and pools set amid old alders and Woodwardia ferns. There are many fish in the creek. Traces of trail can be found along the creek but they are likely game paths and usually pass through much poison oak and stinging nettles. Flood channels and meadows along the creek help with efficiency but it's still quite a ways down to Lower Bee. At Lower Bee I couldn't find evidence of the camp but I didn't spend too much time looking in the thimbleberry and nettles as I was there for a different reason: the Lower Bee Camp area marks the upper reach of an outstanding grove of incense cedar, the most expansive grove containing the oldest cedars that I have seen in the Ventana. A few large cedars can be found immediately in the camp vicinity, but the heart of the grove is downstream.
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Lower Bee Camp Trail Conditions History

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 4:11 pm

Date Hiked: April 11, 2000
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 11-APRIL-00

The lower Bee Camp Trail has been found.

This western access trail to Lower Bee Camp was slowly "lost" after the 1977 Marble-Cone fires. We recently located it from its junction with the North Coast Ridge trail westward to Lower Bee Camp.

The trail begins on the North Coast Ridge Trail a mile south of the Upper Bee Camp Trail junction, as a dry flat creekbed visible to the west and below the North Coast Ridge trail. A short bushwhack gets you from the North Coast Ridge trail to the dry creekbed. Follow the creekbed until the faint tread begins to descend thru burnt chaparral, coming to "Madrone Flat" on the left of the increasingly faint tread.

From Madrone Flat follow the marking flags northwest across a small drainage, then turn downhill to begin a long descent on a partially burnt spur ridge reaching Lower Bee Camp Creek. Flags mark the trail on the north side of Lower Bee Camp Creek to its confluence with Big Creek. Lower Bee Camp is located upstream of the confluence, on the west side of Big Creek, and consists of a broken table, a very old style iron stove, and a few small tent sites.

Most of this trail below Madrone Flats is cross-country and should only be attempted by those experienced in Ventana cross-country travel. You will need a very sharp eye to see signs of the trail, if you are unable to locate the flags.
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Bee Camp Trail-Lower

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 4:08 pm

* USFS trail #-
* Parking:
* Watersheds: Big Creek
* Junctions: Coast Ridge Trail
* Connect: The Coast Ridge Trail with the Bee Camps
* Camps: Upper Bee Camp, Lower Bee Camp
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