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Little Sur Trail

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby rt1 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:09 pm

Date Hiked: September 1, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Pico Blanco Scout Reservation to base of Mt. Pico Blanco

The trail is definitely in better shape than this time last year due to the clearing of the descent to Dubeneck's Hole (Thank you VWA!). The trail is still brushy and there are several deadfalls that must be gone around or under. There is some poison oak, but the only sections that are not avoidable are the final approach to the saddle of Launtz Ridge and while descending from the Saddle to the Manuel Peak Trail. Still, it's knee high. The large downed redwood is still present in Dubeneck's Hole. The trail could definitely use more work, but, by Ventana standards, it's doing okay.

We headed up Mt. Pico, and the use trail has continued to become more defined over the years. Views were beautiful.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Guest on Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:23 pm

Date Hiked: August 2, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Two of us were looking for a long out and back day hike, and were deciding between Sykes and the Pico Blanco waterfall. Reading prior reviews of Little Sur Trail we were thinking it sounded pretty bad and were leaning towards Sykes, but then realized we were planning to come in from Bottcher's Gap rather than Old Coast Road and decided to give Pico Blanco a shot rather than risk crowds at Sykes.

We had originally thought to camp at Bottcher's Gap Friday night, but ended up getting a reservation elsewhere, good thing because it sounded like Bottcher's Gap filled up really early on Friday and Saturday there were quite a few people who made the 8 mile windy drive out to Bottcher's only to see Campground Full.

Easy three mile hike down the road to boyscout camp. We weren't excited to spend almost half the hike on the road to/from boyscout camp, but it was just a fire road and there weren't any cars so it was fine. Leaving boy scout camp it's single track. There's some deadfall, but nothing too bad, just enough to keep it interesting. I think we counted about a dozen. Plenty of PO; I wore pants knowing it would be out there.

Once we came out of the trees, the views of the hills/valleys on our clear day were really nice, although that section is all exposed and was pretty hot.

Took about three hours to get to the waterfall and it was SO INCREDIBLY WORTH it. Was hard to believe we were the only ones there on a Saturday. The water was freezing, but still took a quick dip. We were lucky enough to get there during the one hour (for us 1:45 - 2:45) that the sun was actually on the pool, and it was spectacular.

Hike back took another three hours. The fire road isn't the most interesting way to end a hike, especially since it's pretty much all uphill.

Overall was a fun hike and the waterfall with the pool was awesome.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Guest on Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:24 pm

Date Hiked: July 4, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked in from old coast road. Initial section along the creek was gorgeous and great conditions. From the road crossing to Pico Blanco was the most miserable hike of my life. 2 miles of squeezing through brush, Around p.o., and climbing over washed out sections of trail. Passable, yes, but i highly recommend you avoid this trail if possible. Thankfully we found our way to the dirt road for the hike out. Site was very nice & waterfall gorgeous, but can someone tell me what is the deal with people squatting in camp sites? 2 nights in a row, we returned from day hikes to find people had set up camp in our site. I wouldn't have minded sharing if they had approached me politely and asked, but the way these people acted like they had a right to my site was astounding.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby matycakes on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:01 pm

Date Hiked: July 4, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Old Coast Road trailhead to Pico Blanco public camp. After crossing the fire road (just after the river crossing) the trail starts to get a bit sketchy. The brush has grown completely over the trail in many places. There's a lot of poison oak, most of which is avoidable if you keep your eye out for it but there's so much of it that you're bound to brush up against it at some point even if you're really vigilant about avoiding it. The rest of the vegetation is kind of prickly/thorny. I never consider hiking in long pants due to getting too hot but I thought about it on this trip. There are some spots where the trail is really narrow and comprised of loose, rocky sand. These spots were all passable but I could see them being problematic in the future. All in all, it was kind of a miserable trek in. My wife was ready to divorce me...until we got to the waterfall/swimming hole, which was awesome. I wouldn't do this hike again unless I could confirm beforehand that the brush had been cleared from the trail. It was just really tedious and annoying to push through that stuff.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby hayleyandjason on Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:06 am

Ed. note- this report is for the Jackson Camp Trail, not the Little Sur Trail.

Date Hiked: June 16, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked with two kids (11 and 13) from Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp to the Circular Pool upstream of Fox Camp for a three-day trip, staying in Fish and Fox Camps. Trail had plenty of deadfalls throughout. Combined with the numerous (but well marked) river crossings, the trip was a bit more technical than we had anticipated, but also very fun. Poison oak was prevalent, as were mosquitoes. But the river views and Circular Pool upstream of Fox Camp were well worth it. Water flow was good given the drought, and the pool very refreshing. Camps were in excellent shape.

Great trip for adventuresome kids--ours loved it.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby julianbobilev on Tue May 13, 2014 9:41 pm

Date Hiked: May 10, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Bottchers Gap to Pico Blanco camp over the weekend. From the beginning of the Little Sur trail at the Boy Scout Camp, the trail has some encroaching brush and there's at least fifteen deadfalls which require hopping over/crawling under. Once you approach the top of Cardiac Hill, the trail becomes more overgrown and there's quite a bit of poison oak; most of it can be avoided with some careful dodging, but there are a few spots where it is unavoidable. Trail from Duveneck's hole down to Pico Blanco camp has encroaching chaparral vegetation (Ceanothus, grasses, yucca, etc), but no poison oak. Some ticks, but nothing a quick tick check can't solve.

Waterfall at Pico Blanco camp is surprisingly vigorous considering the dry year.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Justinj14 on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:48 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Bottcher's Gap to Pico Blanco Camp

Hiked in for an overnight stay at Pico Blanco Camp over Easter weekend. Overall, the trail was in good shape and easy to follow with only a few deadfalls to navigate over/under/around that are consistent with those reported below. Pico Blanco Camp is in great shape and the falls are flowing well.

However, the ticks are out in force beyond the Manual Peak trail junction. Be sure to stop frequently to check for tagalongs. My girlfriend and I picked nearly 20 off our clothing over the last 2+ miles of the hike. Luckily, no bites.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:55 am

Date Hiked: April 6, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Fox Camp to Pico Blanco Camp

Ed. note- this section report is for the Jackson Camp Trail, not the Little Sur Trail.

I hiked in from Bottcher's Gap and went to Jackson Camp the first day, dayhiked upstream the second, went over to Pico Blanco Camp the third, and out the fourth. My experience was close to that of previous posters.

The route from the scout camp to Jackson is mostly clear, save that impressive deadfall and straight-down re-route that RSIBrice mentioned, some deadfall just short of Fish Camp, and some easy step-overs between Fish and Jackson. Just a little trail slumpage here and there. Two stream crossings between Fish and Jackson. Upstream from Jackson to Fox there are many more stream crossings, but most (all?) are well-marked by flags. Mostly ankle to mid-calf deep; maybe once I went in up to my knees. There are more small obstacles on this last use trail section between Jackson and Fox but no real difficulties.


Ed. note- this section report is for the Little Sur Trail.

In the other direction, the route from the scout camp to the high point on the shoulder of Pico Blanco might be described as wilderness freeway with deadfalls. The trail bed is in very good shape. Almost no brush incursion. There are maybe a half-dozen deadfalls that variously require hopping over, crawling under, pushing through, and going around. From the high point until where the trail opens out on the south slope of Pico Blanco, the trail is just a bit less clean. There's more poison oak, not really avoidable in all spots, and, later on, a few more Ceanothus branches leaning in. An impressive redwood covers the trail at the bottom of the draw just west of the Manuel Trail junction. (Is this Duveneck's Hole?) Going around it through some brush or shimmying under it are the options. So nothing hard here, but it's no longer wilderness-freeway quality trail. Along the open slopes on the south side of Pico Blanco the trail is mostly clear. The rocky trailbed is a just a little slower going than the smooth forest trail on the other side. A few brushy deadfalls – two, I think – require negotiation.

Lots of flowers out. I saw gazillions of iris, three kinds of violets, sheets of in-bloom pacific star flower and redwood sorrel, plus other more localized delights.

Camps: All four camps I passed on this trip were in excellent shape with fire pits or grates and nice flat spots for sleeping. Fish Camp is big, open, and clean with two areas and room for many. To my eye the fire pit and back country furniture are overbuilt, but it's probably wonderful for a really big group. Jackson is smaller but spacious for a not-too-large party. There's a second site are a few hundred feet upstream from the main Jackson Camp, sufficiently unused that a tan oak seedling is poking through the fire grate. The Fox Camp area has sites on both sides of the river: a smaller one on the north side and a large area on the south side. Pico Blanco Camp has space for several parties, including two areas with tables. The South Fork Falls and associated pool is lovely. All four camps are under redwoods. Pico Blanco has a few gorgeous big-leaf maples too.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:55 pm

Date Hiked: March 14, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Pico Blanco Scout Camp to Fish-Use Camp

I lead a group of 11 students, two teachers, and two Youth in Wilderness coleaders on a backpacking trip along the Little Sur River this past weekend. After the rain storm in late February we were sure to see deadfall, and sure enough there was quite a bit. Luckily I brought along my trusty little samurai hand-saw and was able to remove much of the more meddlesome smaller tree obstruction, but there remains several large downed trees along the 1.5 mile stretch. One particular downfall is a very large redwood that shattered along the trail near one of the small creek crossings, apprx. 1 mile in. A reroute down along side it was passable, though a bit precarious. It's gonna be a tough one to remove!

Fish-Use camp was a mess with deadfall from a dead tan-oak snag that stands above the camp-fire pit, but we were able to clear it away and use for firewood (hooray restrictions were lifted!). There was also quite a bit of trash left in the fire pit (boo!) that we packed out.

Section: Fish Use Camp to Fox Camp

We day hiked up to Fox Camp on Saturday but did not see as much deadfall, but there was certainly some, we were able to clear much of it. The river was running well but crossings were wadable, never really above knee deep. The trail is well flagged at crossings with pink ribbon. We ran into a family of 3 who had hiked to Fox Camp and beyond, they were glad to see us and learn we had cleared much of the obstructions for their hike out. Poison oak was not too bad, no encroachment on the trail and easily avoided for the most part. We had one tick, and it found me.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby AdamW on Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:45 pm

Date Hiked: January 11, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Trail has seen vast improvement over the last two years!

Section: Bottcher's Gap to Jackson Camp West

Clear, aside from a few large trees at the end that are easy to get over. Although the trail still needs tread and brush maintenance and the large trees removed, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Trail Crew and Scout Volunteers from Camp Pico Blanco really rescued this trail. Thank you!

Section: Bottchers Gap to Manual Peak Trail Junction/Duveneck's Hole Canyon
Wilderness Freeway! Another rescue by Scout and VWA volunteers. This trail was in terrible shape and nearly impassible in 2012 and has seen a great turnaround. Aside from a large Douglas-Fir blocking the trail near the scout camp, trail is in great shape (but steep). Of course, some tread work and regular brushing is needed.

Section: Manual Peak Trail Junction/ Duveneck's Hole to Pico Blanco Public Camp
Passable. I was able to do some brushing and tread maintenance but a blowout needs to be repaired as well as some tree removal (planned) and stone/tread work past the meadows at the flank of Pico Blanco. The waterfall at Pico Blanco Public Camp is still flowing well, even in these dry conditions.
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