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Little Sur Trail

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby cstumbo on Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:55 pm

Date Hiked: June 7, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Overall, I do not recommend this trail past the junction with the road. As with many trails here, it needs a lot of work. You can see the trail, but it's slowly being taken over. The creek just before the junction is fantastic though and a great place to swim and hopefully get some PO off before heading home!

From Old Coast Road to Granite Creek Rd: passable
The trail is easy to follow, with some overgrowth. Hacked away some PO with loppers. There was one sketchier section, as others have noted, but with good footing, and a nicely placed tree (thanks tree!) it's not hard to navigate. Careful of deadfall here - on the way back a small redwood fell over the trail.

From Granite Creek Rd. to 1.3 miles in: Difficult/Impassable
My friend and I chose to stick to the trail rather than take the inviting road. There are new signs clearly pointing out the trail, so we were hopeful that the trail might be in better shape than most. It started out promising, but quickly became overgrown with PO and scrub brush. We trimmed back some PO and other brush growing over the trail and continued on until we were up on the hillside in the chaparral. At that point, the coyote brush, chamise, etc... had clearly taken over the trail. We got to a section with a low angled rock slab and I scrambled up hoping for a better route/trail up there, but alas, it just continued and looked to get worse. We bailed at this point, knowing we covered little ground and were still far away from the campground and covered in PO. I tracked our hike back to the junction with the road and we had only made it 1.3 miles.

There were also some areas of trail that were loose and eroding. Stepping on them was a bit sketchy as I watched it shift under my feet. I've been on sketchy trails before, but this was the most unnerved I've felt.

Note on the inviting road
We ran into a few other backpackers who had done the same thing as us but they scrambled up to the inviting road. They told us they ran into the land owner who was not too stoked to see them there. They explained they were trying to get to the campsite and escape the overgrown trail. He seemed to ease up after that, but I would not take the road. Signage is clear to stay off.

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby jdoelman on Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:25 pm

Date Hiked: March 11, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From the Hoist thru Bottchers Gap and the boy scout camp to Duvenecks.
Water is currently available at Duvenecks but it may not last for long as it was not flowing robustly. The lack of use along this trail is making it sketchy. Lots of downfall to go over/around. Route finding in the area near the divide between the north and south forks of the Little Sur river was particularly difficult. I added some flagging in that area and other areas where I thought I might get lost on the return trip. I managed to lose my gloves on the return trip, these are a pair of mismatched black fleece gloves, I will be overjoyed if you find them and return them to me.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby adagioca on Thu May 14, 2020 11:23 am

Date Hiked: May 2, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trailhead off Old Coast Rd to Junction with Graniterock Rd: Passable
Junction with Graniterock Rd to Magic Pool: Very Difficult/Impassable

First section from trailhead to Graniterock Rd is beautiful. Easy to follow, mostly clear. We had brought machetes and widen the trail some and took care of the encroaching PO growing all over [Ed. Note- While suitable for hacking one's way through soft tropical vegetation, machetes are more dangerous than useful in Californian coastal scrub or chaparral. Loppers, hand saws, & training in specific vegetation types are the best tools for maintaining trails through shrublands without inadvertently adding to a future trail crew's workload]. Made some cuts along the deadfall to help get over them. Couple of sketchy spots, worst being 1/4 mile from trailhead with a steep drop if you slide. Proceed with caution.

Once you get to GraniterockRd, it gets worse and worse pretty fast. We were going at pretty slow pace considering we were trying to get the trail more visible and clear it out some. Maybe going about 1 mile per hour. Our plan was to get to Pico Blanco public camp. Eventually, about 1.5 miles from Graniterock Rd, we lost the trail. Plus we were covered in PO, ticks and were quickly running out of water.

Had to make a B line towards GraniterockRd and retreat back. Oh, and some point, a branch must have snagged my machete that came in this cool indian sheath. If you find it, I'd be happy to get it back. Otherwise, looks like nature won against me that day and took the machete as reward :-)
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Steve B on Fri May 08, 2020 7:00 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I walked the Little Sur Trail from the Old Coast Road to the river crossing, this is an off forest trail but it is listed as a forest service trail (18S06). The trail has become overgrown and there is a lot of dead fall, the last time a trail crew worked the trail was December 2012. There are signs that the trail is being used and someone has done some clearing with a machete. To my knowledge the Little Sur trail is not on the forest service COVID 19 closure list. Although the trail is overgrown the walk is not difficult and someone has done some work on the slide which is still a little difficult to get around. About a quarter mile west from the Granite Rock property line I found an abandoned camp with tent, backpack, bedspread, and lots of clothing which I hauled out and disposed of.
Abandoned Camp
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Steve B
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Location: Del Rey Oaks, CA

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby C9H13NO3 on Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:37 pm

Date Hiked: April 24, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Little Sur trail is pretty good for a Ventana trail. Some dead fall, brush, but nothing bad for the Ventana. Wear long pants, but no safety glasses or bushwhack kit required.

The trail along the river does have some sketchy looking washouts I wouldn’t want to be standing on in wet weather.

Also the campground host at Bottcher’s gap insisted the trails there were closed despite not being named in the order, turned us around. Coast road side is open for now.

Pico Blanco is a nice scramble, skip the road and climb the grippy limestone.

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby jdoelman on Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2020
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Did the trip from the Hoist to the boy scout camp and to Dubenack's. I almost rated this as passable, but I did lose the trail in spots so Difficult it is. At one of the difficult spots I was looking for the trail and found the tent. There is lots of flagging that is helpful.
Found this tent and a ripped inflatable sleeping pad
Found this tent near the turnoff to the Manuel trail. Email me and I can get the tent back to you.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Derek and Lynnelle on Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:04 pm

Date Hiked: July 14, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trailhead off Old Coast Rd to Junction with Granite Creek Rd: Difficult
Junction with Granite Creek Rd to Magic Pool: Very Difficult/Impassable

Just hiked this yesterday and looking at my arms, dreading a massive reaction to poison oak, as we were swimming through a lot of it, towards the end of the hike, trying to find the disappeared trail. Never did make it to the pool, running out of time, and spent too much time bushwhacking/trailfinding.

First section from trailhead to crossing of Granite Creek's rd is not too bad, nice and shady and cool, with trail mostly easily readable thru lovely redwood sorrel. Many downed trees across trail, and trail has narrowed and clings to cliff with steep dropoff, plus lots of big healthy poison oak reaching out into the trail. Gnarly and challenging slide area in the first 30 minutes of the hike, that is pretty dangerous, not recommended for children or dogs. Could always just hike in the river to bypass it.

Second section after crossing of Granite Creek Rd:
lots of trees down that you get to climb through or around, but luckily you can (mostly) find the tread of the trail, if you peek under thick, healthy poison oak and massive bushes of California Broom. Helps to have done this trail before, or bring GPS, to find trail as it zigzags up the steep slope part, almost completely covered in head-high, slippery California Broom. I was looking forward to getting to the marble-ly section, because the poison oak usually thins out there, but NO! it was just as large; plus, the trail has been taken over by 4-ft high purple thistle and yellow star thistle. So at least you could find the trail, by following the horrible thistles. Until there were too many crisscrossing thistle trails and without our GPS, we couldn't find the correct trail and we gave up. Plus it was a million degrees and we were covered in poison oak, thistles, and sweat. Good luck to anyone attempting this trail, you will have it to yourself. It's still very beautiful, and there's lots of beautiful and unafraid hawks (probably because of few humans).
Derek and Lynnelle

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Bond13mac on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:39 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Almost rated this impassable.
Marked by orange tape from Boy Scout camp to S Fork Little Sur River, but wicked brush and treefall and only a few sections of actual trail left.
Massive poison oak.

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby pantilat on Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:49 am

Date Hiked: February 10, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From Old Coast Road to crossing of the Granite Rock dirt road (first 2 miles):
First of all, Old Coast Road is currently closed so it's 3.7 miles on Old Coast Road from Andrew Molera to reach the Little Sur trailhead. For this section of road, it's actually in the best shape I've ever seen it, likely due to the lack of any winter to speak of, repairs completed after last winter, and lack of use. As a pedestrian it was nice not having to worry about any vehicles and their associated dust.

The Little Sur Trail starts on El Sur Ranch land before passing onto public land. I'm guessing the public has an easement for this portion as it is an official USFS Trail, but El Sur has always engaged in over-the-top intimidation with forboding signs attempting to keep people off the trail. The start of the trail is marked by a wooden door that allows passage thorugh an otherwise scary barbed wire fence that lines both sides of Old Coast Road. This door is currently nailed shut (from behind) with a sign that says the trail is washed out, closed and the land is private.

Once over the fence, the trail descends to the South Fork Little Sur River where heavy flows in the river last winter have rearranged immense amounts of logs and debris. At the height of flooding last winter the river was flowing on top of the trail at several points. I had no trouble staying on the trail, but those less familiar may become disoriented in a few of these sections. A little over a half mile in the trail has a major slip out. It's straightforward to circumvent by crossing the river before the slide and then cross again immediately after the slide to rejoin the trail. In current low flow on the river these crossings are simply a rock hop. Back on the south side of the river the trail continues to be a bit rough with several blowdowns along the way as it rises above the river for a period. This section burned in the Soberanes Fire and while most of the redwoods survived, the pretty understory of ferns and sorrel is just recovering. The trail descends to the river and crosses it (which is now an easy rock hop) before commencing a climb out of the canyon. The regrowth post-fire has made the area above the canyon quite brushy. There were also numerous small slides on top of the trail.

From meadows immediately beneath the SE Face of Pico Blanco (noted as Pico Blanco South Usetrail on to Pico Public Camp:
The regrowth post-fire was immense and the trail is completely covered in it. The situation gets worse as the trail descends toward Pico Camp where the regrowth is taller and thicker. There are sections where it is difficult to see where the trail is underfoot or where it goes ahead. It's a good idea to have a GPX track through this section to reference occaisonally. There's also many yucca plants growing in the trail so be careful! The junction with the Pico Public Camp Trail burned and there is no obvious tread in the vicinity (in either direction). The Pico Public Camp Trail becomes more obvious as one descends and then disappears once more in the meadows near the camp. By then the camp area is already obvious and the picnic tables are visible across the meadow. A little bit of use on this section of the trail will go a long way to making the trail more obvious since the brush is mostly grasses and other post-fire regrowth that can be easily be tamped down.

There were big changes at Pico Falls as log jams both above and below the falls were completely moved. Several large redwoods came down over the trail down to the falls and there is large redwood log positioned in the falls and across the plunge pool, along with several other large logs that ended up in the plunge pool. It certainly looks different than it used to but this is still a charming falls.

pico falls1.jpg
Pico Falls
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby mbrewer206 on Sun May 08, 2016 8:03 am

Date Hiked: May 6, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Ran up to pico blanco from Little Sur trail. Trail is in great condition. Plan on getting your feet wet when crossing the river on up to pico blanco. Starting to get overgrown in some spots. Just an amazing trip.


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