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Big Sur Trail

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby fat popi on Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:50 am

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
fat popi
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby RNO EC on 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.

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:10 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is only for the western end of the Big Sur Trail. to Rainbow Camp.

Trailcrews led by Betsy MacGowan and Maria Ferdin have now cleared all trees from Cold Spring Camp to the ridge west of Mocho Camp, making the western end of the Big Sur Trail "Clear". Between there and Rainbow Camp, trail varies between "Difficult" and "Passable", with downed trees or brush pushing people off trail resulting in numerous bypass use trails, some large enough that its connection back to the actual trail is not apparent. Those use trails can be misleading (I lost the trail twice) so route finding is necessary.

Big Sur Trailmap:
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby fat popi on Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:35 am

Date Hiked: June 8, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Have one silky saw. :) il get it back to u somehow soon. My crew fell apart and it ended up just being me with a helper. We did what we could from redwood camp to the ridge separating the 2 valleys. Boy,that side of the big sur trail is narl. It was a battle and is very sloppy work,il admit that,but its open,2ft min on each side of trail till about 100yrds from the ridgetop. Il be going back in 10 days(I have to work this wek) and attacking the trail again fron the pine ridge side.
The work(9 hr days,X3) was exhusting. Sloppy. I will fix the sloppinrs on next trip,the importsnt thing now is to have the trail OPEN,at this point,I would consider this trail CLOSED from the cineaga to southfork. Or as the sign says"dont go!"
Having gone to ghe warm springs at cineaga last year twice,I cant believe how fast and wicked this trail got overgrown!
Betsy,il email u this week. Hope that we get this trail open by august. The pico blanco and then bring back mt manual!
fat popi

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby Betsy M on Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:25 pm

Date Hiked: May 9, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hi Fat Popi,
I am missing THREE Silky saws, so if you found one let me know. Or you could just leave right at the trailhead since we will be heading back. Description: red handle.
Could you share your email address so we could discuss technique? We hope to get everyone on the same page with regards to lopping. Since you do a lot of brushing and also removing logs, we hope to share some tips. You can email me separately, just send to the email address associated with this trail report.
Thanks for all the work, and all the timely reports.
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Betsy M
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby fat popi on Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:06 am

Date Hiked: May 26, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Spent the holiday on big sur trail from cold springs to Mocho camp. Trail is very open to the ridge before mocha,aftr that some nice over,unders and slumping between the ridge and mocha. Trail is really coming together aftrr the car camping crew came thru. I finished the blue blossom looping right before cisco creek crossing.
on side note,I found a saw on the trail,ifbits urs,contact me here for return of saw.
im heading back out this week with buddies on a vision quest and we hope to lop,clear from Ciniega to mocha. Should have that trail compleatly clear by next weekend.
fat popi

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby CoreyandMelissa on Mon May 25, 2015 9:30 am

Date Hiked: May 23, 2015
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We hiked this trail on May 25, 2015 and the trail was completely overgrown and un-maintained. I advise anyone who is thinking of taking this route to choose an alternate route. The hike took us all day with ~8 miles of bushwacking through poison oak with many tick sightings. I would definitely classify this route as impassible and would strongly advise against taking this trail until it is more maintained.

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby fat popi on Thu May 07, 2015 3:36 pm

Date Hiked: May 7, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

My partner and me used this trail to hike out from big sur river, I was not able to do much work this time.. trail is in about the same condition as my last report, sslow but thevroute is evident, head down and push thru!
fat popi

Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby runcyclegirl on Wed May 06, 2015 12:32 am

Date Hiked: May 3, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Betsy MacGowan and I scout hiked the Big Sur Trail on Sunday in preparation for a VWA/FS work trip this coming weekend.
This report is for the section between Cold Spring Camp and Mocho Camp.

Approximately one mile of trail is clear and free of brush- the result of work completed in 2014 (blue, photo below) and from a recent trip in April of this year (red). However, there are 18+ trees down along Logwood Ridge and 40+ trees down on the section between Devil's Staircase and Mocho Camp. The hike was a full body workout with a mix of trees ranging in the 4 to 12 inch range. There are several large trees including one after the final crossing of Cisco Creek going to Mocho Camp. Hiking in this direction, a traveler with a full pack will have some difficulty getting over this tree (photo below). Hopefully, our upcoming trip will clear most of these obstructions. As we will have a very nice complement of volunteers including certified sawyers, we have reason to be optimistic :D

Brush-wise, ceanothus and deerweed dominate especially along Devil's Staircase down to Cisco Creek. The brush is tall and productive and nearly interlocking. AND there are ticks, much more than I expected to encounter. I had to stop often to brush them off my pants and my shirt. The trail from Cisco Creek to Mocho Camp is in good condition with considerably less brush. The section toward the saddle on the way to Mocho looked recently brushed and the tread was nicely exposed with less obstruction otherwise- thanks Fat Popi.

We hope to get the trail clear of brush and obstructions from where we ended in April to Cisco Creek. This also includes all the trees along Logwood Ridge and a couple of big trees beyond Cisco Creek. Our goal this year is to make the trail stock passable to Rainbow Camp for overnight trips and continue restoration of the Big Sur Trail. If you would like to join the effort, we have plenty of loppers :-)

You can find us at: ... ce-Meetup/

Maria Ferdin

Cold Spring Work 2.jpg
Big Sur Trail- work completed so far.

Large tree (18 inches +) on the uphill climb from Cisco Creek on the way to Mocho Camp.
Me climbing between limbs. This would be a challenge to get over with a full pack.
Photo by B. MacGowan.

On top of the tree, brushing off ants!!
Photo by B. MacGowan.

Big tree in the middle of Mocho Camp.

Plenty of water in Mocho Creek and also Cisco Creek.
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Re: Big Sur Trail

Postby fat popi on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:54 pm

Date Hiked: April 20, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked over for the holiday from partington ridge,this trail needs lots of work. I worked for a day on the section fron the creek crossing to the ridge before Mocho,10 hours of loping and chopping. Still weeks of work to do. Get out there folks!

Editor note: the Big Sur Trail is under active VWA restoration, with many upcoming VWA trailwork outings: ... ce-Meetup/
fat popi


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