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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated April 26, 2021

Highway One is Open. The washout at Rat Creek has been repaired and the highway is open throughout Big Sur. 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 of 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 - Carmel River Trail

Carmel River Trail

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Eric-ventana on Tue May 11, 2021 1:58 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked the Carmel River Trail (in and out) from the Los Padres Dam trailhead on Saturday, May 8th. I wanted to report on the slide by-pass near the dam. On the way in (from the dam) we skipped the "official"/first/flagged by-pass and took the second one, then on the way out we took the flagged route. The unofficial trail, it turns out, is significantly shorter than the marked one; the dam side of it is pretty easy, but the wilderness side is steep and slippery. Taking the flagged trail on the way out was a challenge. Not only is it three or four times longer (more than half a mile in total length, but not the two miles reported earlier), but the north/east/dam side of it is almost impassible. In many places the nominal 18" width of the trail differs in elevation from one side to the other by six feet. We were going down so this was merely difficult and sometimes dangerous, but trying to go up it would not be a hike, it would be a climb. Based on my experience I would suggest the dam side of the unofficial trail be connected to the wilderness side of the flagged trail -- this would result in a much better experience that either of the two existing alternatives.
Eric-ventana
 
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Addison on Sun May 02, 2021 10:30 pm

Date Hiked: May 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Day hiked from Pine Valley to Round Rock. Trail is fine from camp to the saddle separating pine valley and the next drainage, then gets rough pretty quick. Moderate overgrowth with many downed trees and avoidable poison oak the first mile but by the first creek crossing there is an unavoidable head high poison oak patch on trail and around it. Best to be immune to poison oak from here until the the trail climbs out of the drainage again. Path is flagged in parts but the whole area is still fire-scared and the creek completely choked by blackberry and poison oak (the flags in this section were easier to follow in the opposite direction). The high section the last mile or so before the Round Rock junction has barely visible tread as you hack your way through scrub oak, chamise and black sage (at least it smelled nice). There is one very confusing flag that could be hinting at a new trail on the north instead of south side of the ridge the high section is on? I followed it a few hundred feet but then stuck with the old south side trail (on map and gps). On section about 1/2 mile above the junction is washed out making for a pretty dangerous scamper across a steep, sandy chute. Will likely be gone after the next rain or couple of crossings. The tread for this whole high section is lacking on the downslope side and a few sections one could easily step off trail under cover of sage and slide down the hill a bit. Whole trail from saddle to junction needs work but this last high section was actually a bit dangerous instead did just spikey and poison oak-filled. Large downed tree a few hundred feet further towards Hiding Canyon Camp from junction.
Addison
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby mgeggie on Sun May 02, 2021 10:10 am

Date Hiked: May 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Tried to hike from Los Padres Dam Trailhead to Carmel River Camp.
There is a fence up on the trail just as it turns left from the dam to follow the perimeter of the reservoir. Skirting the fence is easy, but not far up the trail there's a landslide that has taken out about 500' of the trail. There is a detour trail, but it is very narrow, steep, loose, off camber and dusty. This trail seems to take nearly 2 miles and nearly 500' of elevation to circle around the landslide.
We gave up our hike when we reached the peak of the trail due to running out of daylight and not being confident of the condition of the trail ahead.
mgeggie
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:12 pm

Date Hiked: April 12, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Church Creek Divide Junction to Pine Valley -- Clear

Were it not for a few low shrubs brushing against the knees and thighs, plus the one duck-under deadfall, I’d have rated this as Wilderness Freeway. Fine trail for making good time if dinner is calling.

Pine Valley has loud owls.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby rcmd8418 on Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:43 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked from the Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley. The trail was extremely easy to follow, but there is brushy overgrowth at places and one deadfall you can easily walk around. We surprisingly didn't see any poison oak on/around the trail.

We camped at a DELUXE site in the meadow before you reach the cabin. We also attempted the trail to the falls, but turned around after 25 minutes when the washed out trail got pretty thin and the GPS showed we still had a bit to go.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Hiking Metal Maniac on Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:19 pm

Date Hiked: March 26, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley Camp is very clear with only minor brush encroaching on the sides in a some locations
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Alan Harder on Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:51 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Los Padres to Hiding Camp.
After the detour trail near the dam the trail is in good shape all the way to Hiding Camp.
Just a few logs to climb over. Most river crossings are flagged.

There are two places with significant deadfall; one is easy to bypass by descending and walking on the rocky shore of the river. You can see the trail under the fallen trees and just parallel it until you rejoin the trail.
The other is at the second-to-last river crossing before Hiding Camp. The deadfall is before the river crossing when hiking up river and prevents you from getting to the direct crossing. Flag markers offer a path down to the river sooner where you go up stream 40 yards or so to where another flag shows the trail on the other side.
Alan Harder
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:20 am

Date Hiked: March 19, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

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

Forest/Trail Status: PARTIALLY OPEN, per Los Padres Monterey Ranger District Forest Order 05-07-51-21-02
Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and 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 continue to prepare opening other parts of the closed forest and are continuing their regular patrols. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from the trailhead to Bluff Camp. They did minor spot brushing and some tread repair. The trail continues to deteriorate from lack of use.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Los Padres Dam Trailhead to Bluff Camp - Passable with lots of encroaching brush.
Bluff Camp to Hiding Camp - The trail is in poor condition with numerous trees across trail, numerous areas that need tread work, places where trail is overgrown and river crossings that are difficult to locate on both sides of crossing (lack of flagging).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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: Carmel River Trail

Postby Jack Driver on Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:26 pm

Date Hiked: February 27, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

02/27/2021 - LP Dam to Puerto Suelo Trail intersection at Hiding Canyon Camp and back. Workaround landslide at LP Dam is passable, stay on the flagged trail which goes up the creek at the first bend in the road. Clear to Carmel River Camp, very brushy from there and a little hard to follow in old (2016?) burn area approaching Hiding Canyon. Encountered a very big mountain lion just below Buckskin Flat! Bottom of Puerto Suelo Trail appeared very difficult to impassable. Gorgeous Santa Lucia Firs and Ponderosa Pines in this area. River was no more than thigh deep at the countless crossings.
Jack Driver
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:09 am

Date Hiked: October 14, 2020
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, No Stoves in backcountry. Cold Camping Only.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Los Padres Dam to Bluff and Hiding Camps. They cleaned and enhanced five campsites along their journey. There was recent fire activity at both Bluff and Hiding camps despite the "No Campfire Restrictions" being in place.

The trail is unmaintained and in poor condition.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Bypass trail at the Los Padres Dam - is starting to deteriorate. Hikers taking any trail that works for them. Lots of shortcuts undermining the previous bypass trail.

Los Padres Dam to Bluff Camp - is in decent shape with minimum brushing, tread work and tree removal.

From Bluff to Hiding Camp - the trail is in poor condition with numerous trees across trail, numerous areas that need tread work, places where trail is overgrown and river crossings that are difficult to locate on both sides of crossing (lack of flagging).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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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