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Church Creek Trail

Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby hydrologic on Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:38 pm

Date Hiked: March 29, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked form trail head to Pine Falls. Church Creek was in pretty good shape. There are a few dead falls to navigate around or over and some brushy sections. The upper part has had a lot of work is relatively clear. Some trail slumping and faint tread but overall a good trail.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby YNVNE1 on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:44 pm

Date Hiked: January 24, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Parked at Wildcat camp and hiked to Pine Valley. The trail is steep but has apparently been worked on in the recent past. Some areas are brushy and there are few deadfalls but an overall good trail.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby Billy R on Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:32 pm

Date Hiked: July 24, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Section: Pine Ridge Trail to Church Ranch Road

It was quite clear that this section of the trail has not been used or maintained for quite some time. The trail was overgrown for the majority of the hike (except for when it was in the pasture) and at a few points we even lost the trail and had to track back to find it. If you go, don't plan of finding a whole lot of water, and expect to get hit by copious amounts of poison oak. You will have to fight your way through a few sections, and watch for extremely loose footing towards the top. Despite all that, it was an absolutely spectacular hike and I look forward to doing it next time I get leave, probably next summer! Image
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby Hydro-Logic on Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:58 pm

"You cross that drainage, and contour around a knife edge ridge. Once you are at the apex of the small ridge, turn left and go STRAIGHT UP THE RIDGE."

We did an out and back from Tassajara road. When coming back we didn't go STRAIGHT UP THE RIDGE because there was a branch someone had placed on the trail heading up the ridge. We kept going straight and eventually the trail dead ended into a bunch of deer trail and we ended up bushwacking up the ridge to rejoin the trail. So yes left turn straight up a super steep ridge is the proper way
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby Betsy M on Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:27 pm

Date Hiked: September 18, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Tassajara Road to Church Ranch Road

All the deadfalls are cleared from the trail. There is a new sign at the Ranch Road that marks where the trail takes off towards Tassajara Road. People were apparently missing the trail completely. If you are hiking from Tassajara Road, you won't have an issue, but if you are coming from Church Ranch, you need to know where to look for the trail. Once the road comes out on a flat hill, and you have a view to the east, start looking for the sign:
2014-09-18_12-45-52_32.jpg
2014-09-18_12-46-13_935.jpg

This photo shows the view towards Tassajara Road, looking from the Church Ranch Road.
2014-09-18_12-40-53_714.jpg
The trail drops down to a meadow, and drops again to a drainage (dry when we were there). You cross that drainage, and contour around a knife edge ridge. Once you are at the apex of the small ridge, turn left and go STRAIGHT UP THE RIDGE. Then follow the trail east, until you reach the meadow shown in the photo. The trail splits a few times in the meadow, but stay generally to the bottom edge of the meadow and you will pick up the trail when it leaves the meadow. From there on, there should not be any difficulty with the route.

The spring halfway between the road and the wind caves area was flowing well. Water was flowing minimally at Wildcat Camp.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby Hydro-Logic on Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:58 am

Date Hiked: September 7, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Tassajara Road to Church Ranch Road

Tread well defined with a few loose spots but about 50% of the trail has encroaching brush and good amount of poison oak. We wore shorts and short sleeves and got pretty scratched up. I most likely would wear at least pants of not long sleeves also.

Maybe 3 or so dead falls that were easy to go over/under

Stagnant water at wildcat camp but a nice steady flow from a spring? about 3/4 of a mile from wildcat toward Church Ranch. It was upper 90's and not much breeze so this was a very welcome stop to drench the head and back. If needed this could be filtered.
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Church Creek Trail

Postby mikesplain on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:37 am

Date Hiked: October 13, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section- Church Creek Divide (Pine Ridge Trail junction) to Church Ranch Road-
Quite a bit of encroaching brush along this stretch, with a couple unnecessary detours to be avoided.
Staying on course is not difficult though; ample water was available in Church Creek despite this year's drought conditions.
A new sign attached to an oak warns hikers to stay on trail and not camp on private property for the next 2 miles,
but by my GPS, the sign is ~1 mile northwest of the ranch boundary, and thus well within public lands.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby scrachelm on Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:39 pm

Date Hiked: September 29, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail in great condition overall!Thanks trail crew! As with all trails there was very minor brush growing over trail, a few downed trees, few double trails, but I'd call that great. Sign at Church Rd burnt however and at first I wasn't positive that was the turnoff (though there were a few ribbons). Getting a new sign that says "trail" or something would be helpful. Camped at Wildcat. Lots of fun critter activity-birds, deer, squirrels+/but only had to shoo something (probably a curious hog) away once in the middle of the night. Agree with earlier post, that water at Wildcat is less than desirable, but with a bucket it was possible to scoop some up to pump (plus there are not a lot of other great water options until you get to Marble Peak Creek if headed south). This was the highlight of my 4-day Arroyo Seco-based 40 mile solo loop.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:40 pm

Date Hiked: September 7, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Tassajara Road to Church Ranch Road

The Church Creek Trail is clear and easily followed along the entire section between Tassajara Road and the Ranch driveway. There is some brush growing up around your knees in a few places, but there are no deadfalls and no major obstacles. It is apparent that hikers have been using the trail, and this really helps make the route more obvious in the meadow areas. There was water at Wildcat Camp, barely. As noted previously, the many dead, standing trees at Wildcat should make you think twice about camping there. There was a good flow of water at the creek between the Wind Caves and the Ranch Road.
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Re: Church Creek Trail

Postby kaleek on Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:49 am

Date Hiked: August 31, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Headed down Church Ranch rd to the caves. Hot, humid and swarms of relentless black flies. Spent an hour or so shooting (photos) at the caves then headed up toward the Divide. Church Creek was flowing well down at the caves but soon disappears, as does the trail, within a mile or so of the Divide. I sort of knew what to expect so I brought along my machete, which came in handy but was useless for the most part. Most of the overgrowth is around 6 or 7 feet high and there were a couple of times when I took the wrong 'trail', but both times ended up back on the main trail. I think the heat made this part of the trip more difficult than it would have been otherwise. Finally made it to the Divide with less than a pint of water left, and that got me by until I reached Pine Valley camp. The river was not flowing down in Pine Valley but I was happy to share what was available with old Jack's horses. Spent a very warm night in P.V. All-in all a good trip, and I am so glad I packed my bug net, which I wore more often than not.

[Editor: a machete is not only ineffective on the type of brush in the Ventana, it is downright dangerous. When the blade is sharp enough to slice through brush, it can just as easily slice through skin. A small slip is all it takes to open up your leg, thigh, or arm. And the long stubs left by machetes not only are a hazard to the hikers that follow you, they often resprout vigorously. VWA trail crews do not use these tools.]
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