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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated February 25, 2021 

ALERT: Due to a January 26-28 storm, Highway 1 is closed from Big Creek Vista Point in the south to just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north. Long-term, there is a significant washout of the Highway 1 at Rat Creek (just north of Big Creek Reserve and just south of Esalen Institute). Expect this closure to be in place until summer 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge) is also significantly damaged and may not be open for quite some time.  

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. Wilderness camps in the backcountry can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) or via Tassajara Road deep in the Carmel Valley. 

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 secondary 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. 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. When in place, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions. 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 with visitors concentrated in fewer places to go.  

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 - Big Sur Trail

Big Sur Trail

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby BP22 on Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:06 pm

Date Hiked: February 6, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Big Sur Trail from Coast Ridge to Rainbow Camp. Trail is in good condition. A few minor blowdowns and some encroaching brush on Logwood Ridge and the Devil's staircase, but I was pretty impressed. Big thank you to Betsy and the VWA crews and the VWA volunteer rangers for keeping this important trail clear.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:10 pm

Date Hiked: January 21, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: PARTIALLY OPEN, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is partially open per Forest Order 05-07-51-21-02
Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires allowed. Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.

Description:

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has partially reopened, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers have been preparing for its reopening and are continuing their regular patrols. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Cold Springs Camp to Rainbow Camp. They cleared three trees and did some minor brushing. The faucet at Cold Spring Camp is not functional.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Cold Spring Camp to Redwood Camp. - Passable with encroaching brush and approx. 10 trees down in the first 1.5 miles.

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DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:11 pm

Date Hiked: January 15, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: CLOSED, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is closed per Forest Order 05-07-51-20-22
Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires allowed. Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. For the past several weeks, volunteer Rangers and Trail Crew Members worked on the Big Sur Trail clearing 1429 yards of trail, maintained another 300+ yards, installed a new sign and the junction of PRT and Big Sur Trail, cleaned fire rings and much more.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
Attachments
Big Sur Trail junction sign.jpg
New PRT and Big Sur Trail Sign.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby taylor on Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:57 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked the five miles from Cold Spring to Rainbow. Tread was evident throughout, with the exception of the descent into Mocho Camp, where a deadfall and encroaching brush in two separate areas obscure the trail, but only briefly. There was also some trail erosion in this section.

There is no water flowing at Cold Spring, and tank is empty; however, if you hike about a quarter of a mile down the Big Sur Trail, there is a small stream with a very light flow, though it may not last long. Plenty of moving water at Mocho and Rainbow.

Biting flies were constant companions on the trail, but ticks were minimal. I made the rookie mistake of wearing trail runners, I'll don the dreaded hiking boots next time to keep the sharp hitchhikers from the grass out of shoes and socks.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby georged on Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:50 pm

Date Hiked: February 7, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Reporting on the southern section of Big Sur Trail to Rainbow Camp only, I continued onto South Fork trail and onwards. No real issues getting from Cold Spring Camp to Rainbow Camp, perhaps a couple deadfalls, some ticks, bugs, and some encroaching brush. Definitely not a fast trail, just a good amount of brush to push through. I am tall and I did not have to take my pack off or do any serious bushwhacking, tread was pretty much always evident if not there were helpful pieces of tape. Lovely piece of trail. Also, no update on the water situation at Cold Spring Camp, I waited for Rainbow Camp.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:40 pm

Date Hiked: October 20, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Cold Spring to Rainbow Camp Only: Clear

As noted in the prior report, there is one relatively new (and large) sycamore over the trail just before Mocho Creek. There are a few other easy step overs.

In the Devils Staircase section the trail is pretty narrow switchbacking on a steep slope so there is plenty of sloping and eroding tread. There is also a little bit of brush encroachment on the ridge traverse.

Rainbow and Mocho Camps both look good with ample water by the camps. Cisco Creek is also flowing.

Relative to what the Big Sur Trail used to be, and subject to the notes above, I'm willing to give this section of the Big Sur trail a clear rating, but don't expect a freeway by any measure!
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Re: Big Sur Trail (cold spring to rainbow)

Postby mkellman on Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:10 am

Date Hiked: October 5, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Clear except for a single dead fall right before Mocho river crossing coming from cold spring camp side.

Logwood creek is dry. Mocho and creek feeding into south fork Big Sur river are running.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby Firefly on Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:49 pm

Date Hiked: September 19, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked Big Sur trail from Cold Spring to Rainbow camp as part of a longer trek, following it easily as it winds around and down into the river valley. There is a large downed tree right before Mocho camp next to the stream, obscuring the trail and forcing a walk around in the brush, but overall, the trail is in good condition. Rainbow is a beautiful camp, stay more than just 1 night if you can.

Out of curiosity, I decided to day hike the Big Sur Trail as far as I could toward Cienega Camp, knowing it was defined on this forum as "impassable" and wanted a sense of what that feels like. That section of Big Sur Trail is passable for about the first 3/4 mile, to about halfway between Rainbow camp and the north fork of Big Sur River. Then it quickly devolves into impenetrable thickets and poison oak. Impassable it truly is. Unless you have a chainsaw and full body armor.

There is a pretty overlook stoop a short walk up the hill (5 mins) toward Cienega camp from Rainbow Camp, which is a good place to sit and watch the afternoon light.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby Betsy M on Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:26 am

Date Hiked: August 19, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Big Sur Trail, between Cold Springs and Rainbow Camp
VWA Trail Crew volunteers cleared fallen trees between the trailhead at Cold Spring and Rainbow Camp. We also cleared a number of annoying pieces of ceanothus and poison oak that were hitting people in the face, and removed some of the pea vine on the uphill side of the trail. We left one tree on the Devil's Staircase because it is too dangerous to clear. Hikers can get by just fine. But stock would have trouble. All other trees have now been cleared.

The trail is getting brushy in places, and where the brush is growing on the uphill side, this results in the trail tread crumbling. However, overall this section of the trail is clear and very hikeable. Beyond Rainbow Camp the Big Sur Trail remains impassable.

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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby rgregory120 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:47 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Big Sur Trail, between Cold Springs Camp and Rainbow Camp
Cold Springs Camp has water as of June 13th although the tank has a severe leak which was originally reported a month ago according to the ranger. I think the tank is being refilled by a natural spring which is why there is still water. The trail is a wilderness freeway with lots of poison oak and brush hanging over the trail on either side. Between Mocho Camp and Rainbow Camp there are currenlty three fallen trees over the trail which you will need to take off your pack for. The trail is a very steep difficult climb down from Cold Springs Camp to Rainbow Camp, but well worth it!
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