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Carrizo Trail

Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: March 22, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has not reopened the Dolan Fire area, however VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers have been allowed access to survey burned areas. Today volunteer Rangers and Trailcrew members scouted the Carrizo Trail for the first time after the Dolan Fire. The trail was severely burned with a few unburned sections. They flagged several miles, making the trail easier to follow.

Trail conditions are as follows:

The Carrizo Trail remains closed to the general public at this time. Only authorized personnel with the approval of the USFS are allowed to access this trail corridor.

Carrizo Trailhead to Carrizo Spring Camp - Passable, with lots of burned sections. Carrizo Springs Camp with its large oaks survived the fire. Water was flowing well at Carrizo Spring.
Carrizo Spring Camp to Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector - Passable; there are 13 downed trees ranging from 6 to 24 inches across the trail along the last mile up to the saddle with a view of Cone Peak just past the junction with the Cook-Carrizo Connector Trail. The Connector Trail was mostly clear with 2 downed trees. The brush bowl was completely burned. We flagged extensively in this section not only for navigation now, but because brush will grow back quickly and the route will not be so easy to find. Note: there was water flowing at Agua Dulce but it was green and mucky. Even going up the drainage we did not find a good place to get water that looked clear. Looks like this may dry up quickly.

Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector Jct. to NCRT - Passable. Sign on NCRT marking the trail is intact.
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.

Ranger at Junction.jpg
VWA/USFS Ranger at NCRT/Carrizo junction
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Hydro-Logic on Tue May 26, 2020 12:36 am

Date Hiked: May 20, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The first 3 miles to the spring is great. Very little encroaching brush and perfect tread. The work that was done after the spring was still evident as was Leor's most recent "quick lop as he runs efforts" but it is getting bad again. There is about a mile that has some encroaching brush. Once you reach the part of the trail that goes north off the ridge and into the pines it gets better. A few blow down and some low hanging brush until the junction to Cook. we went right towards Cook and that was totally clear. The map shows this section as yellow but it's green. Cook is great. Lots of flat spots for a tent and the spring is running as usual. About a quart a minute.

We then backtracked and took the right turn on the Cook Spring Camp Trail to the NCRT and towards Cone. Lots of blow downs and some encroaching brush. The North Knife Ridge to Cone was great as always. No brush and easy to follow.

We came back down knife ridge and decided to take Carrizo back to camp. Good decision as the brush and blow downs are much less than NCRT.

Overall trail is great. A few people with some loppers could make it amazing in a day or so
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Cone peak via Carrizo Trail

Postby AaronP on Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:51 pm

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

Another trip up to Cone Peak via Carrizo. Just 3 or 4 days after a lengthy rainstorm, there were water sources at several places up to the summit. We camped out at trail springs and the white noise of the rushing waters there put me to sleep in just minutes. The trail from cone peak down to trail spring had one large tree blocking the trail that was slick to hop over but manageable. Over Saturday night/Sunday morning there was a bit of precipitation and the trail on the hike out was flocked with snow in some parts which was great sight to see.
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Cone Peak Summit via Carrizo Trail

Postby AaronP on Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:38 pm

Date Hiked: November 2, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Backpacked overnight to the summit of Cone Peak on the Carrizo Trail. The spring at Carrizo Camp was flowing enough to filter. Trail was mostly clear but there were maybe 4-5 small downed trees and some light bushwhacking involved closer to the junction towards the top. Ran into the VWA trail crew while they were working on the start of the Carrizo trail which was awesome.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby seagoat1724 on Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:33 pm

Date Hiked: March 15, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Carrizo Trail between the Milpitas Special Interest Area and Carrizo Spring Camp
Trail is wilderness freeway

Carrizo Trail between Carrizo Spring Camp and North Coast Ridge Trail
Trail is good and mostly clear. A few washed out sections, blow-downs and encroaching brush. Tons of snow at the top on North-Ease facing slopes of mountain, over 2-foot drifts in some places!
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby SMoore on Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:46 pm

Date Hiked: March 16, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report covers ONLY the section of trail from the trail head (at the steel bridge over San Antonio River) up to the first saddle, about 3 miles in. We did an out-and-back day hike. This part of the trail is delightfully clear of brush all the way to the saddle, except for a scattering of maybe half a dozen small chemise bushes encroaching on the trail before you reach Carrizo Spring camp and a short section above the camp where manzanita is encroaching on the trail. The few poison oak plants along the way are easily avoided, so (for now) this is a good trail for anyone concerned about PO. There are no trees, logs, landslides or other obstacles across the trail; however, the trail is deeply eroded gullies with loose rocks in many of the steeper sections. This part of the trail climbs through some interesting rock formations, traverses different plant communities, and provides good views across and down the San Antonio River valley. Our hike was in March on a sunny but cool day (temperatures in the 40's and 50's F) following several weeks of on-and-off rain, so we didn't get too hot in spite of the steady, exposed climb. We crossed or paralleled 4 nicely flowing streams where we could refill water along the way. For part of the hike, we could hear and eventually see a waterfall between us and the gray rocks of the Indians outcrop. (Fair warning: We lucked out; at other times, this trail can be extremely hot and dry without reliable water on the way up to camp. Check weather and plan water accordingly.) We turned around about 100 yards after the saddle. At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon, the trail became more overgrown, and it looked as though travel would become more difficult. Seemed like a good time to call it a day and head home.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby leelogan on Thu May 24, 2018 1:40 pm

Date Hiked: May 18, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked this in late May 2018.

We had some embarassing difficulty finding the trailhead. The approach is clearly and accurately shown on BigSurTrailmap. Cross the steel bridge to find the trailhead sign.

Trail conditions are largely the same as Leor described previously. First three miles to Carrizo Trail Camp are sustained and sun exposed hiking but trail is in good shape. Spring at the trail camp was flowing nicely, probably about 2-3 L/min. Once you reach the saddle 15 minutes up the hill from the camp the trail becomes crowded by overgrown brush, but still easily passable. Once we reached the following saddle, trail again widened and the brush was subdued. It was another mile or mile and a half to the next junction, which was marked by an unmissable vertical sign post (no sign), with all three trails flagged with ribbons (carrizo continues left, cook spring connector to the right on a faint trail).

Cook Spring Camp was nice, there are enough flat spots to probably inhabit 5-6 tents, luckily we were the first party and snagged the picnic table and fire ring. A surprising number of groups came by throughout the weekend (probably overflow from closures in the rest of the forest), including a trailworking group of 6-8 folks. Seeping spring name was accurate, as the flow was no more than a seep (1L/min). The connecting trail to N Coast Ridge begins on the obvious ramp adjacent to the picnic table and is in great shape. Lesson learned that the interactive map is more accurate than any other old map bases out there, which don't reflect the little connector trails in this area.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby pantilat on Mon May 07, 2018 12:47 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Even though it's been six months, no change from the last report.

Clear to Wilderness Freeway for the first part through Carrizo Spring Camp (spring flowing very well).

About 1/4 mile before the first saddle and through the brush bowl, the trail narrows to passable but brush has not grown yet. There is one spot where giant yucca plants have occupied most of the trail - be careful skirting around them! At present, it's actually less brushy than the upper part of the nearby Arroyo Seco Trail.

The trail is clear from the second saddle to the junction with Carrizo Cook Spring Connector with the exception of a couple logs near the junction. The Sugar Pine Forest with incense cedar sprinkled in is always a treat. The last section from Carrizo Cook Spring Connector to the end point at the North Coast Ridge Trail is mostly clear with a few step over snags.

Note: The Carrizo Usetrail which connects into the Carrizo Trail from Road 8 is faint in spots with spring grass growth but followable. Its still a good idea to have maps or GPX from Big Sur Trail Map. After descending to the North Fork San Antonio River from the end of Road 8, the usetrail parallels Carrizo Creek before crossing the stream and briefly ascending to a saddle. The trail then passes through some low brush tunnels before emerging at the top of the grassy meadows where the Carrizo Trail begins climbing in earnest.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby pantilat on Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:24 pm

Date Hiked: November 12, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Carrizo Trail remains clear except for the 1 mile section through the brush bowl which is passable (see early reports for specifics). I did some more light brushing to improve it but it remains narrow in spots. Once entering the Sugar Pines after the second 4140 ft saddle the tread becomes narrow and sloping as there is little evidence of human use this far up the trail. The last two times on this trail I have spotted bear scat in the vicinity of the brush bowl. Last time I heard a large animal running away through the chapparal (but did not actually see the animal to confirm it was a bear). Hopefully one of these times I will see the resident!

Photo Album:
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:28 am

Date Hiked: October 6, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Inspired by Leor's report, I went out to see what the Carrizo Trail is like these days. What a difference from the last (and only) time I hiked the entire trail back in 2009! Then there was much crawling in brush tunnels and much searching to find the trail. This time I only had to search once and never had to crawl. A much more enjoyable, less exhausting, experience so I got to look around more and appreciate the trail more. My thanks to all who have worked on this trail.

The trail is "Clear" except for the middle section, between the two northern saddles, which is still rough so "Passable". For details you can read Leor's post below.

For panorama photos:
Big Sur Trailmap:
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