Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Church Creek Trail
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Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:01 am
by trolleypup
Date Hiked: December 19, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Tassajara Road to Wind Caves

Generally in decent condition. One large dead pine on the trail south of Lime Point, large sycamore across the camp area at Wildcat Camp (missed the fire ring). Brush and tread issue increase towards Wind Caves but are not major.

Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:12 pm
by Akaleek
Date Hiked: November 26, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Left China Camp later than expected. The plan was to explore some of the rock formations on the west side of Church Creek but I didn't fancy driving back down Tassajara rd in the dark. It's bad enough in the daytime. Anyway, headed down Church Creek trail from the Divide. Lots of encroaching brush early on, wishing I'd packed my machete. Looked like Church Creek was flowing somewhat. Trail was easy to follow. Turned around after about 10 mins and headed back to China Camp. Beautiful day to be outside. Planning to go back again soon with tent, sleeping bag... and machete 8-)

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Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:27 pm
by mikesplain
Date Hiked: October 9, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

section- Church Ranch Road to Church Creek Divide-
wide open and easily travelled,
almost "wilderness freeway" but for a few detours around small deadfall
& a bit of encroaching brush.
This stretch of trail is much sunnier post-Basin Complex- lots of pine mortality
(watch for widow-maker branches if it's windy!)

Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:06 am
by trolleypup
Date Hiked: April 16, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail is in very good condition from the Tassajara Road to just short of Lime Point with brush removed and most tread issues addressed. From there to Wind Caves, tread is decent, brush is much reduced. All logs removed except for one low hanging stub just south of Lime Point.

From Wind Caves to the Church Ranch Road, the trail has been flagged and some deadfall has been removed.

Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:37 pm
by Rob
Date Hiked: February 11, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Tassajara Road to Pine Ridge Trail and found conditions to be much the same as below. There was some blowdown near the beginning, some requiring a little scrambling. Just before Wildcat Camp there is a spot where a gully has washed out the trail, but it isn't a showstopper for hikers yet.

As mentioned below, the trail is faint in some of the grassy areas north of the Wind Caves and south of Church Ranch Road. Some flags and cairns were present amid the game trails and use trails. Be wary around there.

Early-season wildflowers were blooming in places -- shooting stars, bush poppy and paintbrush, among them.

Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:37 am
by jack_glendening
PS: have now put a panoramic photo (but not 360 degrees, due to sun glint problems) of the rocks at the "wind caves" region of the southern Church Creek Trail on the web, two different sizes - second image is twice as large as first one: http://www.drjack.info/HIKES/PANORAMAS/ ... ersize.jpg and http://www.drjack.info/HIKES/PANORAMAS/ ... lfsize.jpg

For GPS'd route information please consult my on-line Ventana Trailmap http://www.ventanahiking.net/ventana_trailmap.html

Jack Glendening

Re: Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:30 pm
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: November 17, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Paul Danielson and I hiked the entire Church Creek Trail, wanting in particular to GPS the route since the USFS official track was known to be badly in error. Previous VWA posts had indicated that while the northern segment above Church Ranch road was in good shape, the southern segment was not. So we started there with loppers and saws and thought we might not have time to do the northern segment, but to our pleasant surprise found that someone has worked on the southern section such that it was in generally good shape with good tread (except for a few puzzlements which were quickly resolved with the help of occasional flagging) -- EXCEPT for the segment between the ranch road and the meadow 0.4 mi south of it.

That segment has a history of problems, e.g. Schaffer's 1987 remark that it is in "disarray". We did find a flagged path through that section, but at one point the flags and tread turns southwest and follows an indirect route at a place Schaffer's track went northeast. I have now replaced the USFS Church Creek Trail on my "on-line Ventana Trail Map" with a "correct" version - it includes short "spurs" showing the locations and directions where Schaffer's trail departs from the current tread/flags. I've also included a few explanatory waypoints at those locations in the associated GPX file which can be downloaded.

The other point of note is that south of the ranch road the trail crosses a very steep slope (130 ft of elevation at a 60% slope) which one must ascend/descend. A burnt wooden post by the roadside indicates the expected trail/road intersection and Schaffer's map depicts a long cross-slope track at that point. But many hikers, probably ascending from below where the road junction point cannot be identified, have simply scrambled somewhat directly up the slope in several different spots, so there is no definite tread and much disturbed soil - in addition, some pink flagging encourages this route. The route depicted on the on-line trailmap instead depicts a more gradual cross-slope track ala Schaffer, but still steep (35% slope), and we have flagged that route with green ribbon - it is to be hoped that this route will be followed by more people and in time a better tread will result. Switchbacks would be even better. This slope is the only portion of the trail that I would describe as difficult, especially with a large backpack.

The southern portion of this trail is very scenic, with interesting rock formations not normally found on Ventana trails, so we hope that this report will inspire any who were reluctant to hike this trail based on previous reports. We thank whoever is responsible for the work put into restoring the southern portion of this trail to a usable condition.

Jack Glendening

Re: Church Creek Trail - Church Ranch Road to Tassajara

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:29 pm
by Kirse
Date Hiked: April 10, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

As per previous post we enjoyed the stroll down Church Creek trail and considered going on to Tassajara. We had to backtrack to find the trail where it cut off the Ranch road. The only remaining part of the original sign was a burnt post. We followed what was like a game trail along contour from there and found pink flagging tied up for the first several hundred yards of the trail route, but the tread was totally gone both slope-wise and entirely grown over. We decided not to continue for fear the entire trail was in that condition, but were able to ascertain some sections the trail from above on Ranch road and many sections looked open and evident past the initial stretch.

Re: Church Creek Trail - Pine Ridge junction to Church Road

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:21 pm
by Kirse
Date Hiked: April 10, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Gorgeous trail from Pine Ridge junction to Church Ranch Road. A few minor obstacles but deadfall had been cut through allowing trail passage. Tread was evident. Wildflowers off the hook. No other travelers all day. Great lunch by the creek then scouted the connection to Tassajara - found that to be in the opposite condition (as in non-existent) see next post. Continued up the Ranch Road back to China Camp trail head. A nice 12 milish day.

Church Creek Trail

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:14 pm
by mikesplain
Date Hiked: May 25, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Reported by LuvPO:

From Pine Ridge to the Church Ranch the trail is generally well defined with no major obstacles. In a half dozen or so areas the trail appears to disappear into overgrown grass for awhile, but becomes evident soon thereafter. Overall, this section of Church Creek is manageable. I heard second-hand rumors of the section from the Ranch to Tassajara being difficult.