Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Big Sur Trail
Page 3 of 7

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:29 am
by Dmitry
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.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:36 am
by jeffbigsur
Date Hiked: July 6, 2016
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I had the misfortune to hike this trail last month. Just so you don't get involved with this trail in any way, stay the heck away from it. I started hiking the Big Sur Trail at Cold Springs Camp all the way to Rainbow. Now this part of the trail is in excellent shape as well as the South Fork Trail. This trail has been completely worked out by the Trail Crew (Betsey) and is quite enjoyable to South Fork Camp. I haven't been here since 1980's. The trail to Strawberry Camp is in good shape also, but I didn't like the remoteness of it as well as pestering knats. (Sp) Strawberry camp isn't worth the struggle up the hundreds of feet to it. It is a high camp.
But do not take the big sur trail over the saddle to cienega, it has whole sections tread loss, trees growing (California Laurel) where trail is. I had to cross country all the way to the left of the south Fork drainage to the top. The other side worse, the switchbacks are overgrown to the dirt and I had to spend the night sleeping on the trail. I guess over the past years nobody has hiked this once beautiful and fun trail.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:12 pm
by Jacobnie2008
Date Hiked: January 2, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The stretch of trail from the start of the trail all the way to Cienega trail camp is quite brushy, but the trail is still present for most of the way. However, there are some parts where we did lose the trail. From Cienega Camp to the North Fork of the Big sur River is completely brushless and made for pleasant hiking. At the Big Sur River, cross at the pink trailblaze. Then parallel the river for a bit until you see a faint trail going to the right. Everything from that part up to the ridge south of the river is completely obliterated by brush, but still passable. The tread is still there, and if you keep your eyes on the trail and not the brush, you should not have to lose the trail. Once past the ridge, the brush disappears. I did have some trouble regaining the trail past the ridge, but maybe I was just not aware enough. However, some trail reports have mentioned losing the trail too, so be wary. From Rainbow Camp to Cold Springs Camp, the trail is perfect and there is a lot of brush, but none of it covers the trail. I was able to do that stretch in the dark.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:03 am
by Wolfie
Date Hiked: March 24, 2016
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Trail from Pine Ridge to Cienegas was incredibly brushy with many deadfalls but we did not lose the trail.

Ciengas camp had 2 giant redwoods that had fallen through it.

Trail from Cienegas to Rainbow was incredibly brushy with many deadfalls on the way up to the ridge. On the way down to Rainbow we completely lost the trail for a good portion of it, and eventually found it again. These 3 miles took us 6 hours to navigate.

We cut our trip short and instead of hiking on the South Fork trail, we took the Big Sur Trail. It was passable, there was some brush and/or deadfalls but it was really easy to find/follow the trail.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:44 pm
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: March 2, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Big Sur Trail is in the best shape it's been in years from its western end to Rainbow Camp. There are a few obstructions due to recent storms, but they are mostly minor step-overs or brush-throughs and the tread is in good shape. The trail corridor does get a bit thinner nearer Rainbow camp, but is not bothersome. Though I've rated it "Passable" because there are some obstructions, it is on the "Clear" side of that category.

As one who first hiked the trail back in 2011 -- with numerous trees to climb over, under, or around and much brush to push through -- I very much appreciate the work done by the VWA trailcrews and sawyers under Maria Ferdin and Betsy MacGowan. Many thanks! I was able to enjoy the scenery along the trail instead of having to continually watch for trees and brush to avoid.


Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:31 pm
by smd
Date Hiked: December 6, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Fire road was clear but after that brush and fallen trees in trail which we cleared as much as we could.

Beyond rainbow camp (assuming leading into South Fork) was quite over grown, we turned back to camp due since it was getting late.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:39 pm
by krands
Date Hiked: November 22, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Pine Ridge to Rainbow is so overgrown that the trip was not fun. Frequently, the trail was hard to find because others have made side trails looking for the route. Rainbow to Cold Spring is great. Thanks to all who worked on it.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:20 pm
by Betsy M
Date Hiked: October 18, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report is for the section between Cold Spring Camp and Rainbow Camp ONLY.

A VWA trail work trip cleared the fallen trees just before Mocho Camp, and between Mocho and Rainbow.
There are some tread issues, and a few spots with ceanothus encroachment, but you can easily hike between Cold Spring and Rainbow. You do not have to detour anywhere on this section, and while the tread has some issues, most of it is in great condition. Rainbow is just as beautiful as ever, even with a madrone fallen across the camp.
We heard owls and coyotes at night at Rainbow Camp.

Water: there is plenty of water in Cisco Creek, Mocho Creek, and the South Fork of the Big Sur River.

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:50 am
by fat popi
Date Hiked: August 23, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Flying brain and I continue to assult this trail at the pine ridge junction. I have also begun from the north fork , trying to connect in ceiniga valley. Is slo hard work. 500yards from river crossing are clear,4 ft...will work more soon. Cheers

Re: Big Sur Trail

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:53 pm
Date Hiked: September 5, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I just got back from a weekend backpacking trip on the Big Sur trail, so I thought I'd check in with the current conditions. We (a group of 4 plus a baby) hiked from De Angulo trail to Rainbow Camp, followed by a second day going from Rainbow Camp to Sykes. Conditions on the Big Sur trail were quite tough from Mocho camp onward, prior to Mocho, I'd call them fairly tough. There are many downed trees on the trail (including in Rainbow and Cienega camps) and lots of tough route finding. The section between Rainbow and Pine Ridge was definitely the toughest. The sheer numbers of downed trees coupled with the apparent prime Poison Oak habitat made for a less than ideal second day. We're all anticipating various degrees of Poison Oak in the next day or two.

A few notes:
There is still running water at Rainbow and Cienega camps and a couple of places in between. We we overly cautious and carried extra given how dry the year has been.

Two observations of abandoned gear. The first was after the pass coming from Rainbow camp before the North Fork of the Big Sur, there was an entire pack with a sleeping bag and clothes abandoned in the middle of the trail.

At Cienega there were the bent remains of a tent and an inflated Thermarest. Cienega was also affected by a huge redwood >6 feet in diameter that fell right down the trail and obscured it for ~30 feet and making route finding challenging. We built a cairn on the log to help.

After Cienega, the trail climbs into what I can only describe as the most Poison Oak-covered hillside that I have ever seen (and I've been hiking in California since 2004). Be prepared.

On the whole, the hike is passable, but not always fun. It's a good adventure though.