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Carrizo Trail

Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:29 am

Date Hiked: March 12, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The VWA trail crew worked on the Carrizo on two weekends in March, and was able to clear out most of the "brush bowl" between the first and second saddles at the top of the Carrizo. As is often the case in winter months, the Cone Peak Road was closed and impassable due to snow, so we started at the lower end of the trail and hiked up to Carrizo Springs Camp, working both on the intermittent brush along the way and the very dense brush at the top. As always, the sandstone outcrops are fascinating, the views are phenomenal, and Carrizo Springs offers a strong supply of great water.
JS in snow from Carrizo.jpg
more clear trail in brush bowl section.jpg
VWA trailworker Jake takes a water break near Agua Dulce, in the brushy section.
Jake Break.jpg
A youth group from the Jefferson Union School District was spending a week on the trail, and they contributed clipping and brushing along the length of the trail.
Wilderness School Team+.jpg

On the March 12-13 weekend, Esperanza Hernandez and Mark Maslow led an experienced trailwork crew including Dave Nelson, Eric Brazil, and Sandra Aspacio-Flores. They continued brushing, getting very close to the saddle at the top. Sandra's fine photos show how much improved this section is getting.
bad tread before.JPG

pera and sandra.JPG

mark and eric at camp.JPG

As noted in the previous condition report, there are some places particularly in the lower sections of the Carrizo where you need to pay attention to the route. The trail sometimes drops down the edge of a cliff when you expect it to go straight. It was not uncommon for us to have to stop and look around to see where it had gone. If you don't have a lot of recent footprints to guide you this could be more difficult.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:38 pm

Date Hiked: January 22, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked the length of the Carrizo Trail yesterday, and found it quite enjoyable, but if I hadn't done it several times before I might have found it impassable.

From the trailhead at the San Antonio River to Carrizo Springs: Clear to Passable.
It starts getting a little brushy about where you overlook the Salsipuedes Ranch, but there are lots of cairns and old flags. At the camp proper there were several good tent sites, an old stove and lots of water nearby. Some blowdowns, but nothing huge.

Carrizo Springs to the first Saddle: Passable to Difficult (may be Impassable)
Above Carrizo Springs the trail starts to get seriously brushy and there is a lot of blowdown. There were some flags, but if I hadn't hiked this part before I may well have given up.

First saddle to second saddle: Passable to Difficult
Lots of brush, comparable to the more difficult parts of the Ventana Double Cone trail. I did some sawing in a couple places. Tread is not very good in places. There are a lot of old flags, so it was mainly a matter of pushing through the brush tunnel.

Second saddle to Coast Ridge: Clear to Passable
Wow, very nice compared to the last time I was here. Recent treadwork evident, not much in the way of blowdowns. Tread is slumping in a few places but all in all a much improved experience, particularly near the Coast Ridge trail. The older route directly up is still flagged and can be followed if you prefer a quicker route to Cook Spring camp (as I did).
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby trolleypup on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:44 pm

Date Hiked: October 5, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report only applies to the section of the (historic routing of the) Carrizo Trail from the North Coast Ridge Trail (from just northeast of the Gamboa Trail) to the Dozer Cut Saddle (where in recent years, all usage on the Carrizo has cut up to the NCRT on the ridge there.

Trail is clear of brush for this length. Tread varies from obscured by debris slides (a few places, near the NCRT), to generally good, if covered in leaves and light debris with a couple degraded spots. There are a few step over logs, but no major obstacles.

Being mostly in a brush cut, the views are poorer than the NCRT slightly higher on the hill.

No major issues for hikers or backpackers.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:00 pm

Coming up there is a "Y", the right fork leading immediately to that "fire camp" (possible helicopter landing pad) and the left fork continuing on the trail to Carrizo Springs Camp. No marking so its easy to take the wrong one going up (the clue is that there is a lot of cut & dried brush at the Y, presumably from cutting the spur trail to the fire camp). I'd be interested to hear about the status of the stiff, spiney invasive plant which is growing below the springs - I worked on that one day last fall but have not been back since to check it out.

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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby milkman2k12 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:54 am

Date Hiked: February 25, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

trail was pretty brutal, and burned out in a few places. once I reached carrizo springs, it looked completely different. We ran into a fire camp with lots of stumps and brush. cut left through a "hole" in the brush, toward the spring and headed to the huge oak trees that mark the camp. many trees over the actual spring. found 2 old cowboy stoves about 80 feet from the spring. it was thick but passable all the way up to the first saddle. that was as far as we went.....

Carrizo Trail Camps

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:14 pm

Date Hiked: December 14, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

In my last "Trail Report" I included a GPS file indicating a "Carrizo
Springs Camp" location. I must correct that, as a later hike with
someone more familiar with the Carrizo Trail than I (Esperanza
Hernandez) finds there are now _two_ neighboring camp locations, about
350 apart. The traditional "Carrizo Springs Camp" is located near a
spring (duh), and what I call the "Carrizo View Camp" (which I had
erroneously thought was "the" Carrizo Springs Camp on my first hike,
since it was obviously "a" camp) is a cleared 80-foot diameter circle
at a slightly lower elevation boasting a terrific view of Junipero Serra.
This camp obviously took a lot of work as there are many many cut stumps
and much brush piled around its perimeter, with a short stub trail of cut stumps
leading to it, so I speculate it was a fire crew campsite. So I've uploaded a
corrected GPS file and also a 24k topo view of the Carrizo Trail indicating
the location of these two camps. I should note that these camps are
around 0.3 mile further up the trail than a "Carrizo Springs Camp" marked
on a GPS topo I have.
GPS track with camp locations
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24k topo with camp locations
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Carrizo Trail to N Coast Ridge

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:07 pm

Date Hiked: November 14, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Day hike from Milpitas Rd trailhead to North Coast Ridge trail. Trail
reasonably well marked by pink ribbons, cairns, and cut trunks for
most of climb up to first saddle and first part of other side, but did
have to hunt in 2-3 places (where I added some ribbons). To there
relatively open and brush-free, but then enter brush tunnel extending
to second saddle - somewhat overgrown but passable for hiker with
small pack. Beyond second saddle, trail has been cleared but tread
often ashy and sloped and so treacherous. Trail location often differs
from that on my old quad and Wilderness Press maps, generally being
south of it up to the first saddle and north of it beyond second
saddle - location is better on latest quad but up to first saddle
actual trail often more to south. Carrizo Springs location was about
0.25 mile above position on my old map - plenty of water there in
mid-Nov, despite little rain. Nice views of Junipero Serra Peak and
interesting rock formations on first saddle. Better views of Cone Peak
could be had by short off-trail hike from second saddle to overlooking
ridge - I plan to do that next time. Edited GPS file is attached.
Carrizo Trail edited GPS track (gpx format)
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Carrizo Trail Conditions History 1999-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 12, 2009 4:32 pm

Date Hiked: May 24, 2008
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Fred E. Mensing
Survey date: 24-May-2008
General: Passable
Took a pack string from trail head to within 500 yards of Carrizo Springs before turning back. Tread was excellent on most parts of the trail. Spend alot of time cutting back brush and doing overhead cutting. As we got closer to the Springs, the tread in places became a problem. Needs to be reworked in places. I believe it is fine if hiking.
Conditions reported by: David Knapp
Survey date: 27-NOVEMBER-2007
General: CLEAR

Section: Railroad Bridge to Carrizo Spring Camp - Passable

From the bottom, a couple of sections are brushy, but the trail is easily followable, even past Carrizo Springs. We went to the saddle above Carriso Springs, where there are interesting rock formations, and lots of rats living in the holes in the rocks. At one point at the saddle, we followed the wrong route, but easily figured out where we went wrong. Most importantly, in Late November - 25th to be exact, there was plenty of water at Carrizo Spring. About a liter a minute or so. Hard to catch, but flowing strong, even with the extreme lack of rain.
Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 24 MARCH-2007

(This is an amalgam of trips to the Carrizo Trail) Section: White Bridge to main Carrizo Trail - Passable

This route crosses the San Antonio River and Carrizo Creek and follows an old wagon/jeep trace to meet the main trail at the toe of a ridge, where there is a trail sign. br />
Section: Railroad Bridge to White Bridge connector trail - Wilderness Freeway

After climbing around the gate on the railroad flatcar bridge, the trail branches to the right amid an unusual profusion of signs. You cross back and forth over a minor creek through an oak studded meadow then climb gently to a trail sign on the left.

Section: Trail junction to Carrizo Camp - Passable

This section has some tread degradation in the sandstone, plenty of low brush, and a few locations where landslides have diverted the trail. Near Carrizo Camp the whole mountainside is slumping, so the trail climbs over fissures and lumps due to ground movement. The camp itself is marked by multiple large oak trees down on the ground. The old icebox stove is visible under one of these trees.

Section: Carrizo Camp to Sandstone Saddle (3nd Saddle noted below) - Clear/Passable

Tread is clear and easily followable, brush has been mostly removed for easy hiking.

Section: Sandstone Saddle to Second Saddle (Agua Dulce Creek drainage) - Passable/Difficult

Lots of brush, some deadfall, tread is indistinct and poor in places.

Section: Second Saddle to First Saddle - Passable

The heavy brush on this section has been removed, however many deadfall and logs remain, and much of the tread is filled in/degraded. At the first(dozer cut) saddle, the trail crosses the ridge (to the north) a bit above the actual saddle, marked by flagging.

Section: First Saddle to Coast Ridge Trail (dozer cut) - Passable

The worst of the brush has been trimmed on this route, so it is now merely steep.

Section: First Saddle to Coast Ridge Trail (historic route) - Impassable?

I've found no trace of the trail on the east end of this section. The west end (from near the Gamboa junction) is clear and easily followed for a 1/4 mile or so before it dives into dense brush.
Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 26-MARCH-2006

Section: Railroad Bridge to Carrizo Spring Camp - Passable

The tread of the trail is generally clear, discounting encroaching scrub and occasional bent in canes. Unclear areas are well flagged. Some number of easily negotiated deadfalls and logs on the trail. As you approach Carrizo Spring Camp, the trail deteriorates where there is a large slow moving landslip. Lots of water, and the views are spectacular. We brushed out some particularly bad sections.

Section: Carrizo Spring Camp to Saddle West of Carrizo Spring Camp - Passable/Difficult

At the camp there are a number of very large oaks down, obscuring the trail although they can be crossed with minor difficulty. The trail is generally flagged and followable as it climbs toward the saddle. We brushed out the worst of the sections where the trail was obscured, so hikers familiar with Ventana conditions should be able to navigate.

Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 8-JANUARY-2006

Section: Coast Ridge Tr to Carrizo Springs Camp - Difficult

In general, our experience was similar to EW's below. We followed the dozer cut to the first saddle, then scouted briefly north til we intersected the trail. Despite the deadfall and overgrowth, the next section is well enough graded that the trail is where it should be after you go around obstacles. The worst confusion we ran into was between the third saddle and Carrizo Springs Camp where the trail got fairly well lost. Other information indicates that the original tread from the dozer cut saddle to the Coast Ridge Trail near the Gamboa Trail is very badly overgrown.

Section: Carrizo Springs Camp to Avila Ranch Road - Passable to Clear

There is some overgrowth near the springs and in the section below, there are areas where active, if slow land movement is occurring leading to rough tread. Once you cross the ridge NE of the Avila Ranch, the trail is pretty clear and you can do more sightseeing. We noticed a nice waterfall on/near Carrizo Creek. We took the east branch towards Railroad Bridge which is a pleasant walk across oak studded meadows.

Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 25-DECEMBER-2005

Section: Coast Ridge Trail to First Saddle - Difficult

We reached the upper Carrizo Trail via a x-country "shortcut" from the Coast Ridge near Cook Springs. (The historic upper trailhead departs the Coast Ridge Trail near the Gamboa Trail intersection, but the only time I ever tried the "proper" route, it had degraded into a brush-busting toil that lead to the same saddle.)

As it were, we traversed steep slopes northeast of peak 4988' (aka 'El Metate') until heading off on the Carrizo at a prominent saddle (+or- 4650' elevation). [Ed: there is an old dozer cut that starts at the ridge just south of the Cook Springs Trail junction and drops on the south side of the ridge down to the first saddle.]

Section: First Saddle to Second Saddle - Difficult

Conditions have continued to deteriorate since I last hiked this one 2 years ago. Tread is very faint across north-facing slopes above the Arroyo Seco headwaters. This area's elevation and aspect yield a lush forest of sugar pine / incense cedar and the red sandstone near Tin Can Camp is visible across and above the precipitous canyon. But be sure to stop when admiring the scenery, since the various generations of flagging tape might be your only hope of staying on course. Deadfalls can be a real pain; some are over 3' in diameter. We had best luck working our way above, dropping to the trail once beyond the worst of them. With patience and careful navigation, you'll push through dense ceanothus brush as you reach the next saddle (SW of peak 4262').

Section: Second Saddle to Carrizo Springs Camp - Difficult

Here begins an extended push through chamise chaparral, pretty straightforward, but occasionally tread has slipped necessitating more circumnavigation (as usual, above is easiest). The trail soon descends to a seasonal unnamed tributary of the San Antonio River- in full flow at the time. Beyond, it's another chamise tunnel ascending to a third saddle (N of peak 4016').

Reaching this saddle, the worst is behind you; the red sandstone substrate apparently lacks the nutrients to accommodate heavy brush growth. Still, flags and cairns are a godsend, since the route is ambiguous and many hikers have made wrong turns, leaving an array of "mis-use" trails. Just before Carrizo Springs, a small riparian area has overgrown significantly, but rest assured, this is the last serious impediment.

Section: Carrizo Springs Camp to Del Venturi Road - Passable to Clear

We stopped at the heavily flowing Springs, had tea and lunch, then made the final descent to the San Antonio amid steadily increasing rain. We had no trouble staying on track, enjoying fine (albeit wet) views over vast sandstone formations, Avila Ranch and the Indians as we traversed above Carrizo Creek on the way down. At the first flat meadow, notice a (Salinan?) mortar hole on the right, just before what appears to be an intersection. I always turn left here, not sure what lies to the right, (likely a hunters trail? [Ed: the right fork leads to the Avila Ranch Road just west of Railroad Bridge (climb through/around the gate from/to the FS signed trailhead)]) but I'm sure whichever fork one takes at the series of intersections to follow, Del Venturi Road is the final destination.

Our car was stashed at Memorial Park, so we steered north of the occasionally visible Wagon Cave rocks, crossing (Carrizo?) Creek, then the San Antonio proper and making our way to the shotgun-shell littered parking lot beyond.

The Carrizo Trail is one of the more interesting (and probably oldest) routes in the Santa Lucia, here is a trail with cultural and ecological significance; in need and worthy of extensive restoration.

Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 12-Dec-2004

Section: Coast Ridge Tr. jct. towards east

From the Coast Ridge Trail 1/2 mile east (only!). This refers to the historic route of the Carrizo Trail, not the fire road trace that branches off (southeast) close to the Cook Spring Trail.

The tread is evident and brush is mostly clear to the saddle and somewhat beyond. After a series of deadfalls, the brush encroaches more heavily and the trail could/should be considered Difficult.
Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 23-OCT-2004

Section: San Antonio River to Coast Ridge Trail

I'd consider this trail to be in clear-to-passable shape up to almost Carrizo camp. There was a blowdown just before the camp near a boulder, but that had been there a while (I only tripped on it this time :)

Saw no water at the camp itself, but heard it flowing downstream, and clipped back some tall hollow reed-like plants that blocked the trail, so there was probably water underground.

At the saddle, Cone Peak was framed by gathering cloud cover. I took about three hours to get from there to the divide, clipping and sawing back thick brush. I'd consider that section to be passable now, up to shortly before the divide, where I decided to stop clipping and get going. So it will require a little more work. There was also a section of slumped tread, requiring careful edging to get across.

From the divide up to Coast Ridge was the usual adventure I'd come to know and love - faint or nonexistent trail tread, edging across steep slopes, climbing up and down to get around gigantic blowdowns, fighting through brush, then reaching the top and sitting back to rest upon boulders whose stories one can only guess at ... classic Ventana. The blue flags were still in place, along with older pink/yellow ones ... in places.

It's hard to imagine successfully navigating this trail from Coast Ridge down. I'll have to go on Betsy M's annual hike on this route sometime and see how she does it.
Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 25-APRIL-2004

Section: This report ONLY covers the first (approx.) quarter mile of the Carrizo Trail (original tread) east of the Coast Ridge Trail.

The junction is somewhat obscure if you've never seen it before. About halfway between the Gamboa Trail junction and where the Coast Ridge Trail crosses the Coast Ridge at the distinct saddle, just south of where the Coast Ridge Trail turns sharply around a rocky outcrop, at the foot of a rock face with an almost cave, the Carrizo Trail climbs gently above and essentially parallel to the Coast Ridge Trail. (ED. note: There¹s also a long piece of old FS phone line at this location.)

Tread here is good with minimal brush, the trail quickly crosses the Coast Ridge at a saddle and descends into a sea of brush, obvious clipping and followable tread is present. I didn't go much beyond the saddle, but the trace of the trail is visible from the Coast Ridge Trail as one approaches the dozer cut mentioned in other reports.
Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 17-APRIL-2004

Section: San Antonio River trailhead to Coast Ridge Trail

I hiked up from the trailhead at the Salsipuedes Ranch bridge, and heard gunshots. Concerned because I wasn't wearing anything orange, I blew my whistle as the shots grew nearer. A family was out target-shooting just a half-mile up the trail. According to them, the pig hunters were forced off the base due to training, which would explain all the guys with rifles at Memorial Park campground. Hmm.

Continuing on, I was thankful for the appearance of fresh blue flags. The climb was reasonably free of brush until about 2500', overlooking the ranch. I clipped back what I could, but it could still be scratchy in there.

Carrizo camp proper still had the remains of an old blowdown, and I saw neither a flat place to camp, nor running water, but could hear it flowing nearby, and saw several old fire rings. Climbing up to the saddle above the camp I followed the flags, and enjoyed the sandstone formations and views of Cone Peak, which was being steadily enveloped by fog.

From there the brush got thick. I spent a while clipping, but by 4 pm decided to head for camp. It was pretty rough down to Agua Dulce creek, and in spots from the creek up to the next saddle / divide. Lots more clipping to do.

Once into the pines and firs, the flags resumed, and the trail narrowed considerably, requiring great care in places and detours on very steep terrain around large blowdowns. I lost the flags at about the same place as last time, and continued the rest of the way cross-country, since by then the fog had settled and thickened. A flag had been placed at the junction with Coast Ridge.
Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 03-APRIL-2004

Section: Entire Carrizo Trail

Extremely difficult in places- reserved for serious ventanaphiles and definitely not for the faint of heart! I hiked down from the Coast Ridge and opted for the fire-break that starts near Cook Spring (as opposed to the true Carrizo trail which begins near Gamboa trail intersection) The traverse across burned Sugar Pine forest is well-flagged and thus easy enough to follow, but tread is narrow and loose- watch your step and be prepared to climb above or below dead-falls. from the first saddle the route is obvious enough from this direction, but easily missed from below- watch for orange and blue flags and back-track if necessary. traversing across THICK chaparral to the second saddle, Carrizo trail is easy to follow, but footing can be precarious and brush demoralizing. Pay extra careful attention to flags the rest of the way- lots of false trails have manifested from folks getting lost along the way. Carrizo Spring was flowing heavily in April, but a bit troublesome to get to due to encroaching vegetation. Ticks were abundant in the deer weed and chamise that envelops the trail on it's descent to Carrizo Creek- flags were an absolute god-send; I took the wrong way several times in spite of having hiked this trail previously. Be alert, bring clippers and alot plenty of extra time; otherwise this hike could be a real life-altering experience.
Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 17-JAN-2003

This was an exciting trail. I started from the trailhead described in the Sierra Club guide, near the Salsipuedes ranch bridge. Great views and sandstone formations, and a perfect day.

Things were pretty much as reported up until about Carrizo Spring camp, where a couple of extensive blowdowns made going difficult. The flags and ducks were of enormous help getting to the San Antonio - Arroyo Seco divide.

From there, my only guides were flags, occasional ducks and a curious set of recent-looking footprints - the trail appeared and disappeared, tread erased or hidden by brush, blowdowns or hillside erosion. At some point the flags stopped, or possibly I lost them detouring around some blowdown. Still, I was enjoying the sugar pines mixed with Coulter pines - these told me I was close.

By the time I was just below the last saddle, I encountered three hikers who asked me if I was as lost as they were (apparently theirs were the footprints I'd seen). Recalling the most recent trail report, I applied compass to topo, and stumbled through the brush up to Coast Ridge via the dozer cut, where several times before I'd stopped for a snack, taken pictures of Cone Peak, and looked out wondering where that famed Carrizo trail was.

We arrived at Cook Spring camp, exhausted and relieved to find lots of clear cool water, amid the sugar pines and tanoaks. The full moon rose orange that night, and the summit of Pimkolam beckoned.
Conditions reported by: David Jacobs
Survey date: 7-DEC-2002

On December 7-8, 2002 Sean Carrol and David Jacobs continued trail work from where Nelson/Heard and Jacobs/Splain left off. From Salsipuedes/ Agua Dulce saddle the trail is easily followed though a bit overgrown with chamise, warty leaf ceanothus, manzanita and other stuff. Evidence of recent clipping and a natural corridor through the brush make the trail easy to follow.

Conditions deteriorate SUBSTANTIALLY at the saddle just southwest of 4262, where the trail crosses from the San Antonio watershed to the Arroyo Seco watershed. Atop this saddle enjoy the views to the south but also keep your eyes open for logs on the ground creating a channel guiding you to the trail. (1999 Kirk Fire has destroyed vegetation and allowed dirt infill to completely obscure the trail.) Follow the flags though the burned area. The old trail reappears after about 500 yards.

In another 500 yards or so a large downed Sugar Pine obliterates the trail. Despite attempts to locate the continuation of the trail on the other side of the pine we had no success. (Rumor is that there was a trail that continued at this elevation connecting to Cook Spring.)

Since the trail disappeared, we proceeded northwest, uphill, through easily passable brush, aiming at the highest point on the horizon. The high point is the ridge top, on which an old, overgrown dozer cut leads to the intersection with the Coast Ridge Trail. The distance from the downed Sugar Pine to the Coast Ridge Trail is about 1/3 of a mile. The elevation gain is approximately 400 feet.

From the Coast Ridge Trail onward to Cook Springs and ultimately to the Arroyo Seco Trail, the route is clear.

The Carrizo - Arroyo Seco loop, or vice versa is one of the most fun, invigorating, scenic loops that I have ever walked. Views include the Silver Peak Wilderness, the ocean, Stony Valley and the interior of the Ventana, including a spectacular shot of the Double Cone and Kandlbiner. It can be a long day hike or an easy 2 day / 1 night outing.

This route is a gem and deserves much more visitation and maintenance.
Conditions reported by: Dave Nelson/Mike Heard
Survey date: 12/13-OCT-2002

Trailhead to Carrizo Spring Camp:

We worked our way up the Carrizo trail from road 8 near the single lane white bridge on the Indians road. This is the branch that ran to the Encinales home (Indians Ranch) and not the fork described in the Sierra club guide. The trail forks join in a meadow south of the San Antonio river and begin up a steep ridge marked by a 4X4 post. The lower half of the section between the trailhead and Carrizo Spring Camp is easily followed and has the general character of a steep trough. It also has fantastic views of Pimkolam and the Indians area and goes through wonderful rock formations. There are numerous switchbacks. As noted in the 19-Feb-2002 report by Steve Chambers, long pants and long sleeves are recommended owing to occasional brush, especially warty-leafed ceanothus and spiny chaparral pea. In some places shaggy deerweed covers the tread.

Somewhere around the Avila ranch overlook things get more difficult because of regrowing burned vegetation and erosion including large rockfalls. We sawed, clipped and added some flags at points where we had to backtrack and look for the trail. The brush was very heavy and the tread quite indistinct as the trail enters the drainage a short distance below Carrizo Spring Camp. Since we managed to get lost despite the existing flags and cairns, we did a fair amount of clearing here and completely re-flagged that part of the trail. It should now be fairly easy to find the camp.

On a side note, one unpleasant surprise in the area below Carrizo Spring Camp was finding two Pampas Grass. One has been dug out and the other decapitated to prevent the spread of seeds, but we'd like to ask any other visitors to this area to watch for the presence of this unwanted exotic plant.

Carrizo Spring Camp to Salsipuedes/Agua Dulce Saddle:

There is some fairly heavy overgrowth at the crossing of Salsipuedes Creek immediately above Carrizo Spring Camp -- look for flags in order to avoid going astray there, like we did -- but the remainder of this section of the trail is reasonably clear and has the same steep trough character as the lower part. Slightly east of this saddle there is an excellent dry camp area in sandstone. We added some flags just below this saddle. This is as far as we went and believe the aware hiker would find the way easily now.
Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 19-FEB-2002

The lower trail sections have some brushy areas, but are easily passed with long pants. The difficulty begins as the trail enters the Salsipuedes headwaters/drainage a short distance below Carrizo Spring Camp. All of this area was intensely burned during both the Rat-Gorda Fires of 1985 and the more recent Kirk Complex Fires of 1999. Rampant regrowth and excessive erosion from loss of canopy has resulted in a faint or missing trail. Look for flagging, clippings, and/or cairns to the camp.

Above the camp the trail soon crosses usually dry Salsipuedes Ck., passes through more rampant regrowing brush and then opens up for the steep climb to the saddle between Salsipuedes and Agua Dulce Creeks.

The Kirk Fire left the Agua Dulce drainage mostly unburned, so the trail, through this section, is only difficult due to accumulating brush growth and there is a lot in a few areas.

Reaching another saddle, between the headwaters of Agua Dulce (a tributary of the San Antonio River) and the Arroyo Seco, the trail enters a mature pine/cedar forest. Many/most of these old growth conifers were burned during the past two large fires. Due to loss of canopy, highly erodible soils, and many downfalls this section of the trail is very difficult is many places.

At the open spur ridge separation the the San Antonio and Arroyo Seco drainages a trail fork is reached. The short-cut fire break trail up and west to the coast ridge is passable although brushy.

Back at the fork the pre-historic/historic Carrizo/Gamboa Trail traverses southwest across the headwaters of the San Antonio River through brush and intersects the Coast Ridge Trail just north of the Gamboa/Coast Ridge intersection. This section was recently clipped, slightly, and some flags were hung.

This trail has been used for thousands of years, and is rich in pre-history/history. Consult the local Sierra Club trail guide and/or Ventana groupies for more information.
Conditions reported by: Betsy MacGowan
Survey date: 21-MAY-00

Generally I found conditions as previously described. I took some time on the upper sections of the trail to pull off dead trees. Many burnt bushes will need to be cut with a bow saw-- the main stems are dead and leaning into the trail, and new growth is sprouting from the roots, but the six foot long burnt stems will not break off and I wished I had brought a bow saw or one of those folding saws. Lupines at the top not yet blooming. At many places the trail seems to vanish, but if you look carefully there is usually a flag, or duck, or sometimes brush placed across the trail to indicate the wrong way. One exception is just below Carrizo Camp. For hikers coming down from the Coast Ridge, look for the trail to continue up on the ridge east of the camp, not on the top but a little way down from the top, on the south side. Carrizo Camp itself is filled with oak tree branches, although the beautiful old oak with the name of the camp remains alive. Below the camp were loads of bush poppies, and other wildflowers, making this route a delight to hike.
Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 20-MARCH-00

Coast ridge to divide between Arroyo Seco and San Antonio drainages: Difficult
Heavily burnt, except for many mature pines and cedars. Many large burnt downfalls to climb over. Tread faint in many places due to erosion filling it in. We marked beginning and few places with ribbon during recent approved survey.

Above divide thru Agua Dulce drainage: Passable
This section unburnt. Some brush in places.

Agua Dulce saddle to Carrizo Camp: Passable
Burnt. Eroded trail is rocky in many areas but evident. Few burnt downfalls to climb over.

Carrizo Camp to trailhead: Passable
The area below the camp is heavily burnt for 1/4 mile. From that point to the bottom of the trail the area was lightly burnt which did not damage the trail. Some brushy areas.
Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: April 17, 1999

Trailhead(s) to Carrizo Spring Camp = Clear
Trail is steep, but mostly clear of brush and deadfalls until a few hundreds feet below Carrizo Spring Camp when groups of Rat Fire (1985) killed trees have fallen across the trail. But still very passable for hikers and backpackers.

Carrizo Spring Camp to Coast Ridge = Clear to passable
Above the campsite some deadfalls and occasional brush up to and through Aqua Dulce Creek drainage. Along forested slopes of upper Arroyo Seco headwaters, few areas of dense ceanothus (recently trimmed). At spur ridge intersection of trail and old dozer fire line up ridge, trail traversing south facing chaparral covered slope has MANY deadfalls. Old dozer line up spur ridge has less deadfalls and short steep detour, around massive Sugar Pine deadfalls, at intersection with Coast Ridge Trail.
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Carrizo Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 12, 2009 4:18 pm

* USFS trail #4E27
* Parking: Salsipuedes Ranch bridge
* Watersheds: San Antonio River
* Junctions: Coast Ridge Trail
* Connects: San Antonio River with Coast Ridge Trail
* Camps: Carrizo Spring Camp
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