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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated April 14, 2021

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 - Big Sur Trail

Big Sur Trail

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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Betsy M
 
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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!
rgregory120
 

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby seagoat on Sun May 26, 2019 4:05 pm

Date Hiked: May 9, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Big Sur Trail, between Cold Springs Camp and Rainbow Camp
Trail: Wilderness Freeway – A little bit of brush and a few very recent blowdowns. They were recently cleared but the trees are actively falling down fast in both Mocho camps and on trail due to unstable ground from burn.

Big Sur Trail, between Rainbow Camp and Cienega Camp
Trail: Difficult. Tread was relatively easy to follow, but really this trail might be borderline impassable due to difficulty. There are two ridges between Rainbow and Cienega Camp. Coming from Rainbow up to the first ridge the tread is not so obvious without the flagging. Brush in this section is lower, around knee height, and I would rate only difficult. After first ridge is crested, the trail goes into a tall Ceonothus brush tunnel pretty much all the way and the whole time. The Ceonothus (and at times poison oak) are 15-30 feet tall and thick over trail. Crawling or hiking hunched over is frequently necessary. Heavy and unavoidable poison oak growing through brush across trail in many places, sometimes continuous for stretches of a quarter mile. Tread is easy to follow despite the brush. Near the stream crossing between the two ridges the redwoods which got scorched are falling and dropping limbs. This section of trail is not so obvious and there are a number of fallen and split enormous redwood trunks and limbs to navigate around.

Big Sur Trail, between Cienega camp and Pine Ridge Trail
Trail: Difficult. Out of Cienega up to ridge, tread is scarce and hard to find but frequent flagging helps. Sometimes the flagging is misleading though and in heavily overgrown areas. In particular there is a long section where it is better to travel in the meadow above the flagging to the left, rather than swimming through brush. At the ridge the trail reenters the brush tunnel of heavy Ceanothus to Pine Ridge Trail. There were crawling sections, with the trail falling away near Cienega in a couple spots. Trail improves with elevation and shorter brush.
seagoat
 

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby c9h13no3 on Mon May 13, 2019 3:52 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the Devil's staircase down to Mocho camp on 12-May-19. In the grassy areas, the tread is starting to get faint, and there were probably 2 deadfalls to jump over. Had to leave the trail in one spot to avoid a clump of poison oak encroaching onto the trail. But for Ventana trail standards, this one was in good shape.
c9h13no3
 

De Angulo Trail

Postby Blue Wolf on Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:18 am

Date Hiked: January 26, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked this trail from Hwy 1 to Rainbow Camp and used this location as a basecamp.
I commend the Alliance for doing a great job of clearing the sections of trail that cut through towering Scrub Oak and Ceanotheus to regulation 8 foot width and all root balls removed.

There were a fair amount of deadfalls across the trail but only one that might require a backpack removal.

ED(jwg): below report is for Big Sur Trail !

Over the ridge, the wilderness was verdant, if somewhat damp. I passed on Mocho Camp, which looked quite drab but does have the advantage of getting a little filtered daylight in the afternoon during the winter, unlike Rainbow Camp which is in full shade in the winter months. This camp, although nicely situated on prime bench land above the creek, probably stays damp and wet after the first major rains.

As there was planting of rainfall the previous week, the creek was flowing rapidly, so I appreciated the snag that had fallen across the creek, avoiding a cold ford to the trailhead of the Big Sur trail, across the creek. Practice caution in crossing the slippery trunk of the deadfall! The de-barked sections offer ZERO traction. The southern end of the Big Sur Trail starts just east of the deadfall and climbs into the sun on its way up the South-facing slope of the canyon. About halfway to the ridge there is a flat, just west of the trail, that I explored for a possible camp. It is a sunny oak-studded meadow that had plenty of bird life with a band of jays livening up the place. There was water in the adjacent gully but I would not rely on this seasonal source outside of the rainy months. The Big Sur Trail beyond the ridge is just a trace so I wouldn't rely on this compactor to the Pine Ridge trail (which in any case is currently closed to hikers).

Ultimately, I decided to camp at Rainbow Camp, not wanting to return to the trailhead and lug my backpack across the snag and ascend to the meadow. In late afternoon, I took a hike to Rainbow falls, a seventy-foot waterfall/cascade that is barely visible from the trail, two ravines east of Rainbow camp. One can bushwhack the ridge separating the two gullies to get a better view. Remember your way up however because it is easy to get cliffed-out, especially returning after dark!

Hikers have been diligent in flagging the trail which I appreciated.
Blue Wolf
 

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby David Hirsch on Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:49 pm

Date Hiked: October 31, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The Big Sur Trail from its intersection with the Pine Ridge Trail to Cienaga Camp is heavily overgrown and mostly obliterated. However, the route is fully flagged and can be followed by elite bushwhackers. A giant smashed redwood near Cienaga Creek presents an unusual climbing obstacle.
David Hirsch
 

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby ProfessorPepper on Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:14 pm

Date Hiked: May 23, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Report for Redwood Camp to Rainbow Camp (passing through Cienega Camp). Link to Strava activity: https://www.strava.com/activities/1598212272

Those 4-5 miles of "trail" were the worst of my life. The bushwhacking could only have been worse if the vegetation was replaced with thick groves of cacti. There's not much more to say other than it is indeed impassable. To give you a brief picture, I was forced to walk in the fetal position (yeah that doesn't even make sense but try it) due to the thickness of trees growing in the trail for 2 miles straight before I could walk upright again.

I felt like crying when I entered Rainbow Camp and saw the beautifully groomed trail. And it made me think: If it wasn't for all the time and hard work graciously volunteered by each and every one of you then I guarantee no one would go hiking. Hiking basically wouldn't exist so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby FlyinBrian on Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:15 pm

Date Hiked: April 28, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Recently the bigsurtrailmap was updated to show the section of the Big Sur Trail between Rainbow and Cienaga as yellow (passable to clear.) This is NOT correct. While the Big Sur Trail from Cold Springs to Rainbow IS clear, the trail beyond Rainbow is in very poor shape. In the last 2 months I have cleared numerous blowdowns, overhanging burned brush skeletons, encroaching oak branches, poison oak, ceanothus, yerba santa, deer grass, etc. only the first half mile has been reasonably cleared. Beyond that is a tangled grassy area beneath large oaks that has never had much tread. In the past, this area could be traversed by following flag tape, but there is currently NO flag tape, so this area is essentially a no-trail cross-country route to the top of the divide between the south and north forks of the Big Sur river. I have not scouted beyond. I recommend the entire stretch from Rainbow to the Pine Ridge trail be considered red (impassable to difficult) until someone can get in there to say otherwise.

ED[jg]: my error - in updating the rating for the section between Mocho and Rainbow I accidentally also changed the section beyond. That has now been corrected on the bigsurtrailmap.net trail conditions map.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:01 pm

Date Hiked: February 4, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

For the section between Cold Springs and Rainbow Camp. THIS REPORT DOES NOT COVER THE SECTION BETWEEN RAINBOW AND THE PINE RIDGE TRAIL.

Several work trips have cleared the trail between Cold Springs and Rainbow Camp. This section still needs a bit of work but overall it is quite passable. All the fallen trees have been cleared, approximately 62 in all over the 3 trips. The effect of many feet on the trail has beaten down a path in the grass in the open areas where it was difficult to find the tread. Keep an eye out for flagging. At a few of the switchbacks where the route was not clear, we left some flags. I don't think this is ready for stock, yet. There are sections of sketchy tread, a few poky sticks, and one small creek crossing is a bit iffy.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby Dmitry on Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:29 am

Date Hiked: December 19, 2017
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I completely agree, the trail is impassable and signs should be posted at the trailheads on both sides. From Cold Spring camp it starts OK, but down the switchback towards the Mocho camp there is substantial deadfall. Now, after the fire, there is multiple burned up smaller trees that are curled in a way a match does after it burns through, blocking the trail. There is an obstacle about every 50 ft.

From the South fork to the North Fork it gets crazy impassable - completely overgrown on the downhill side. You can guess where the trail used to be by looking at the ground, but if you look eye level there is no clearance. In fact, when I finally got to the North Fork, I couldn't tell where I came from, the shrubs were so dense.

From the North Fork to the Pine Ridge trail connection, I lost the trail and had to spend the night. It rained at night, so the next morning I had to wade through wet brush and got completely soaked. Not a good thing if you are trying to take the Pine Ridge trail peaks across to the China camp. It's a lot cold and windy up there.

The only reason I went that way, is because I did it in 2010 and thought nothing could happen to a trail in 7 years. WRONG. The only reason I was able to go through, is because I couldn't turn back, physically or emotionally. I wish I had read the review before I did it, but it doesn't always work that way for people, so I would request whoever is in charge to officially add this trail to the list of closed ones due to excessive deadfall, overgrowth and obliterated tread.
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