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Little Sur Trail

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby MelissaS on Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:29 pm

Date Hiked: April 3, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We started out from the Old Coast Road trailhead, intending to turn around at Pico Blanco public camp for an in-and-out day hike. We made it almost all the way to Pico Blanco camp for an 11 mile day.

Most of the trail was in pretty good shape except for Ventana-standard vigorously encroaching brush, a few washouts, and relatively easy-to-duck/step-over deadfalls as described by earlier posters. I give the trail an 'impassable' rating however, because about 1 mile past the intersection with the Granite Rock road we completely lost the trail, at what looked to be the site of a significant slide. Others with better route-sensing abilities could, and probably have, found their way out of this area, but because of the encroaching vegetation, we could not see where others had made their way past. Instead, we spotted the cut of the private road about 100 feet above us and bushwhacked up to it. According to the Wilderness Press map, the trail should have met up with or come very close to the road about 1/2 mile ahead on the road, but our only glimpses of the trail after that were several hundred feet below us. So we stuck to the forbidden private road to the point where a trail (actually old road) branches off to the right and down to Pico Blanco public camp (due to impending poison oak doom from the bushwhack, we turned around after we got a good vista of Pico Blanco itself and cannot describe trail conditions all the way to the camp). I'd recommend either trail data+GPS or a good topo map, especially given that the brushy plants (including copious amounts of beautiful lupine and pea) are only going to keep growing!

Final note: even though it was "not advised," we managed to get our two-wheel drive Passat wagon from the southern Old Coast Road & CA-1 intersection and back without serious incident (the experience is not for the faint of heart, however).

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Kirse on Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:37 am

Date Hiked: March 12, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

HIked in from Bottchers Gap as we had concerns with our 2 WD on Old Coast Road.

Trail (road) was Clear through to Boy Scout Camp where we forded the river on the way over (cold but fun!) (FYI used the footbridge near the kitchen/volleyball court on the way back). Lots of deadfall blocking the trail in the 1.5 mile above the camp. Some could be punched through/ducked under. There were several large blockages (2 separate locations with very large redwoods and one location with tan oak crown tangle) that had to be tramped around on the steep slopes (moist soils helped). It was straightforward to reconnect with the trail after navigating around the blockages. My hiking partners got some pics of one of teh large trees down, will try to load up here later when she emails them to me.

After cresting Launtz Saddle the trail is blocked by downed trees but a walkaround is easily found, which leads down through a right-now lovely shoulder high lupin and blooming vetch meadow. Tread has green growth coming in too, so not sure if this will be too overgrown in a few months, but gorgeous and passable now.

Once at the junction, we could not find the Mt Manuel trail toward Launtz/Vado camps at all. The junction trail sign is still there propped against a tree, although the post burned through so its direction is not 100% obvious. We followed what we assumed to be but could not confirm was the Little Sur a litte further - about halfway down to what I later learned from guys at the Scout camp was the Dubeneck(?) cabin site to where the trail was blocked by deadfall. Trail seemed to cut east across a small drainage here but we could not find the trail picking up on the burned out slope to the south. Not having more detailed topos with us than the Wilderness Press Map (which seems to be slightly incorrect for the noted area anyway) and having scouted for about 45 minutes toward the east on the burned slope and south down to the cabin sites we could not pick up the trail. Later the scout camp guys informed us the trail leaves the grove near the cabin sites but we did not see it. We returned up to the saddle and headed up a use trail that approaches the East flank of Pico, walking the ridge about 400'elevation and enjoyed a late lunch, looking across the gully to the meadow we knew the trail traverses and watching a flock of doves roost in a nearby tree while the sun dipped behind the peak. That section of the use trail was not overgrown yet, but had poison oak coming in low all around boding more challenging passing later in the season. We did not proceed further up due to time so not able to report past that. Headed back out the way we came and enjoyed the long uphill pull back to Bottchers while the stars came out.

Got a nice look at the summit, a great day of hiking, a sweet sunset view of Double Cone but will have to come back another day to get to the top!
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Bothchers Gap to Pico Blanco

Postby E Holmes on Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:40 pm

Date Hiked: January 30, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Five of us hiked from Botcher's Gap along the Little Sur River Trail almost to the junction with Pico Blanco Public Camp. The big redwood is still down (and crawlable under) and a similar-sized fir blocks the trail on the north side of Launtz Ridge. We had to scramble around 4-5 sections of deadfalls, and stepped over and through many others. We cleared some of the easier-to-move obstacles, but there is still a lot of debris in the trail. One fallen "grove" of poison oak could almost be cut into logs!On most of the trail, poison oak could be avoided, if great vigilance was practiced. Overall, the tread was very nice! We were dayhiking, but with a backpack, I would probably rate this as "difficult". PS We recommend a side loop to the peak!
E Holmes

Pico Blanco Camp

Postby mstellman on Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:38 am

Date Hiked: January 9, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hi Everyone,

On Saturday 1/9 four of us hiked out to Pico Blanco from Old Coast Road. The trail was in pretty good condition all the way to Pico. It was a great and exciting trip for everyone that went. Pico Blanco if definitely a place to see in the Ventana Wilderness.

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Old Coast Road Trailhead to junction with Graniterock Road

Postby AdamW88 on Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:20 am

Date Hiked: November 20, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Old Coast Road Trailhead to River Crossing:
About 20 moderate sized deadfalls, most of these logs are rotten and a couple were able to be moved by hand. Looks like Sudden Oak Death has done its worst here already and there are much fewer deadfalls than compared to several years back. Note that anyone planning on doing trailwork here should contain & sanitize any tools and clothes to prevent the spead of sudden oak death.
The landslide would be difficult for people to get around with a day pack and very difficult with a heavy overnight pack. There are three options to get around it. One is to go down it, the other up and around, and the third would be to cross the river and go around.
Also the trail could be hard to find for those unfamiliar with the trail where it gets near the river, where high water and rains have obscured it.

River crosssing to Graniterock dirt road junction:
Recent rains have caused some heavy damage. The two switchbacks above the crossing turned into a little creek, where water ran down the trail making it very uneven. It looks like water bars were/are needed.
When the trail levels out it becomes brushy.
Then, about 1/3 of the way from the crossing to the dirt road, there is a landslide about 10-15 feet wide blocking the trail, if someone wants a photo of it email me.
At the junction/crossing of the dirt road, anyone coming the opposite direction FROM Pico Blanco might have a hard time finding the trail on the other side of the road due to some recent work on the dirt road.
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Postby Guest on Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:52 am

Date Hiked: October 17, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I took the little sur trail in August 2009 and generally it is pretty fit the whole way . there are wash outs and trail erosion but it is better then, say the big sur trail from coast rd, where the trail tread is hard to find all the way to the top of the embankment ....beyon in the forest where there used to be alot of down leaves....I don't know.

Conditions have improved

Postby rt1 on Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:10 am

Date Hiked: August 3, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report details both the North Fork and South Fork segments out of Pico Blanco Scout Reservation.

PBSR to Fish Camp- Clear
With the exception of the slide, which has a path cut in it, and a few downed old growth redwoods, the trail is clear.

Fish Camp to Fox Camp- Clear/Passable
A few deadfalls and some poison oak, but it is possible to go all the way to Fox Camp without getting your feet wet.

Fox Camp to Circular Pools- Passable/Difficult
Wherever there was a use trail there still is one, but you will get wet. I made it as far as North Fork Camp above the 3rd pool.

PBSR- Launtz Ridge Saddle- Clear
Massive amounts of trailwork have been done.

Launtz Ridge Saddle to Pico Public- Passable
A pretty good reroute has been cut descending into Dubeneck's Hole. In Dubeneck's Hole you must crawl underneath a massive old growth that fell in the fire and there is some brush and poison oak on the way to Pico Public.
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New Update

Postby rt1 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:58 pm

Date Hiked: June 26, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

After more clearing and many conversations with hikers, here is an update on the trail conditions from Pico Blanco Scout Reservation to Pico Public:

Scout Camp to Launtz Ridge Saddle-Clear/Passable
The tread is damaged in several places but almost all trees are off the trail now. The only poison oak is at the top near the saddle.

Launtz Ridge Saddle to Manuel Peak Trail Junction- Passable
The grass is really high but the trail is followable

Manuel Peak Trail Junction to Dubeneck's Hole (Old Hunting Huts)- Difficult
Many trees have fallen on the trail but a reroute has been made across the burned hillside and it is flagged. The tread visible after this reroute. The reroute is very slippery and is not reccomended for inexperienced hikers.

I have heard that from Dubeneck's hole onward to Pico Public the trail is passable.

This trail should only be attempted by experienced backpackers but is doable.
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Passable to Jackson

Postby rt1 on Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:31 am

Date Hiked: June 17, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We did some more clearing along the way to Fish Camp from the Scout Camp and then worked on the stretch from Fish to Jackson. After the river crossing at fish, there is a big log in the trail, but just follow it in the upstream direction and the trail will appear. There are a few climb over logs but otherwise the trail is easy to follow. Jackson Camp appears safe and is in good condition with the exception of some downed branches.
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Passable from Scout Camp to Saddle, then conditions deterior

Postby rt1 on Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:03 pm

Date Hiked: June 10, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

After 2 days of trail work, the trail is clear to passable from the trailhead at the Scout Camp to the saddle on Launtz Ridge. I am marking it as passable, not clear, since the tread is uneven in many places, there are several large deadfalls that needed to be rerouted around, there is some poison oak on the final climb, and, near the top, the tread dissapears for a short while.

Soon after the junction with the Manuel Peak Trail (the signpost burned so I leaned the sign against a tree, the trail conditions deteriorate significantly as the trail descends into Dubeneck's Hole (official name of hollow refered to in one post as Hunting Hut Hollow) to the point that we decided to turn around and return later to continue work.

The day before, we encountered a hiker who had returned from several days in the wilderness. Here are some nuggets of information he gave us:

-One the trail emerges from Dubeneck's Hole into the large grassland below Mt. Pico, conditions drastically improve
-The worst part is the descent into Dubeneck's Hole
-Pico Public is fine
-The swimming hole at Pico Public is fine
-Soon west of Pico Public the trail dissapears. He was unable to find it and had to turn around.
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