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Lost Valley Connector Trail

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby Hillary on Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:30 am

Date Hiked: April 18, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Dropped our packs at the sign that points down to Lost Valley and did an out and back on the Lost Valley Connector Trail. The trail was very well flagged, which was nice because it would have been harder to follow. The terrain is a lot of bare earth so sometimes it is hard to see what route to take, but there was enough tread to figure it out - I never felt like I lost the trail. Lots of fallen limbs and small brush to step over. Overall, I thought it was a great little trek but I was glad I didn't have my pack on because it is pretty steep and coming back down with my pack would have been harder. Beautiful views at all moments along this trail. Flies were starting to be a problem - it was 80 degrees but there was a nice breeze that kept them away. I never busted out my headnet so that says a lot. If you are ever doing the Lost Valley trail and want a bigger view, this is a great little excursion. I would avoid this trek between May - September... too hot, too exposed, and too many face and biting flies. Spring is best for this one.

Looking North East

Looking South East toward Escondito Camp

Looking North into Lost Valley

Day 3 GPS.png
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby hydrologic on Tue May 05, 2015 10:18 pm

Date Hiked: May 3, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Did this from top to bottom. some PO and brush at beginning. some steep sections. faint tread and easy to lose at times. a short section of downed pines slowed you up for a bit. one of our party got off trail about 2/3 of the way down and ended up bushwhacking to lost valley.
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:21 pm

Date Hiked: April 15, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I did this bottom to top.

From the junction with the Lost Valley trail at about 2300’, the connector more-or-less follows a ridge up to about 3000’. While steep, this was pretty straightforward. Up at 3000’ or so the trail make a right turn, drops about 40’ to a saddle, and then climbs to and along the next ridge west. While I found no problems getting through, the trail is a bit faint through that saddle. There are several not-too-hard-to-manage deadfalls on that next ridge, most at a place where the routing is just a bit east of the ridge crest. That second ridge reaches a low crest at about 3200', at which point the trail makes another vague right turn, goes down just a little, and then heads up to yet a third ridge. There are a few more trees and larger shrubs here -- nice -- but that richer growth meant about 300’ vertical feet of climbing (topping out at about 3530’) was a bit brushy. No route finding issues here though.

Once back in the open, I was more than delighted to be buzzed (within about 50') by two condors!!!

After running along this third ridge for a while, the trail makes one more right turn, drops a bit, contours along a sometimes steep slope, and then pops up to the Coast Ridge Trail. I almost missed that right turn: it looks like the trail should just keep going up the ridge. Then I saw a pink ribbon and the absolutely obvious opening where the trail goes. The footing on the contoured section is sometimes a bit loose. No real problems, but awareness is in order. The very last, short pitch -– only 10 or 15 vertical feet -– is very steep. It looks like the trail once went elsewhere and this is a make-shift.

Once up top, take a look west and little down towards Lost Valley. There is a lone large live Santa Lucia Fir in what was once a grove of them.

(Note: edited after posting to correct some of the elevation details after reviewing my GPS track.)
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby bobbomcc on Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:43 pm

Date Hiked: February 25, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Our Stevenson crew hiked north, down off the North Coast Ridge trail to Lost Valley camp. The Lost Valley Connector trail junction was easy to find (it was flagged and signed) and the beginning part of the LVC trail down was easy to follow and passable despite some downed trees and encroaching shrubs (which we cleared) for the first 1.0 mile of the descent. Once on the firebreak, the trail slips off to the west. It is easy to miss, but some flagging was evident, and we added some more. The lower part of the descent is steep, slippery and heavily eroded, but easily passable to the valley floor.
Lost Valley Connector 2.JPG
Lost Valley Connector.JPG
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby Tony R on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:23 pm

Date Hiked: February 20, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Note that I never hiked the ridge trail or the Lost Valley connector. I hike from Madrone camp with the intension of revisiting the lost valley. I am reasonably certain I was at the top of the connector with great views of Cone peak, double cone and Mount juniper Serra all at once. I saw foot prints. I bush wacked some wondered around for maybe an hour but just was not sure enough that I wanted to solo scramble over a small ridge to see if I could make out the trail. It was getting late also and I was tired so I found upper bee camp with water and was happy I wouldn't be hiking back down 1800 feet to madrone camp. After day hiking north on the coast ridge trail the next day I believe I saw the only plausible rout which probably went down a rocky ridge. Next time I will start earlier in the day so I have time to find the trail.
Tony R

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby greg meyer on Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:34 am

Date Hiked: March 8, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked up the LVC from Fish Camp and found it generally easy to follow. There are some cairns, some flagging and a few places where you just have to stop and look around. As stated in previous reports, knob cone pines have created cluttered deadfalls along the way but they can be stepped over and negotiated. About 1 long mile up, the trail turns to the west in an open area on the ridge and it would be easy to miss this and wander around. From there the trail to the Coast Ridge is brushy but easy to follow. This is a classic Ventana trail - steep and brushy with downed trees, abandoned tread and no signage.

At the top, if you are hiking south along the Coast Ridge be aware that the trail does not go up the steep firebreak but the Coast Ridge hooks out to the southwest at a much more moderate accent.
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:51 pm

Date Hiked: November 4, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I started at the bottom and for most of the way it wasn't bad -- the old sign was still there, and the tread was impossible to lose for most of the way. But near the top the brush closed in -- this part seemed to have burned in the last fire and brush filled it in. Nasty.

Mostly it was in decent shape except for the top part. Great views.
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby mikesplain on Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:38 pm

Date Hiked: October 6, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Reported by nelsoid:

Starting at the top the way is faint but very followable but brushy with a few snags. There are pink ribbons. When it gets to the firebreak open section it is pretty easy to follow until about 2/3 way down. At a point where there are hundreds of downed knobcone pines and thousands of knobcone seedlings, we lost the trail. THE RIBBONS THEN SHOW THE WRONG ROUTE. I also put up several orange ribbons. DON"T FOLLOW THEM. The pink, and now orange ribbons, show an ancient firebreak route that leads to the left if descending. We had a hellish day trying to get down to Lost Valley which we could easily see. Going crosscountry in this region can be very dangerous. Out of water, we finally arrived at camp just before dark.

Our friend tried this the next day, unaware of our problems, and had a similar difficult trip. He did ascend the correct route the next day having started the connector at the bottom where it meets the main trail so it can be done. I just want to stress that anyone coming from the top should pay alot of attention to staying on the 'right' route.
The 3 of us have about 65 collective years hiking the Ventana and were a bit befuddled at losing our way.
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby wavejumper on Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:59 am

Date Hiked: June 14, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail up from Lost Valley, where it is the unmarked third option at a sign crossing: one way goes to Fish Camp, one way down into Lost Valley, and a dry wash heads steeply uphill; if you follow it up for ~300 feet it resolves itself into a more obviously human-built trail that then climbs fairly straight up a deserty-soiled ridgeline to the coast ridge. Trail condition was very good at first, deteriorating as you go; near the very end I would say it's "Difficult," more of an overgrown tunnel that requires some crawling and hopping. Note that at the top it's marked only by a single piece of pink tape, would be easy to miss along that overgrown firebreak / ridgetrail.

Along the ridge on the way up, I lost the trail two times where lots of burned fallen pines and prickly desert-type shrubs have confused things, however while the trail itself is not super clear or maintained, the general -route- is fairly obvious, i.e. which shoulder of the mountain you're preceding up or down on - the ridgeline was probably at some point in the past cleared and graded as a firebreak. So you should be able to find your way!
Saw no evidence of other humans hiking this recently; only deer and coyote tracks. Wasn't too unpleasant a climb in the early evening.
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Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:42 pm

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

Can only report on upper 1/4 mile, but that was passable with evident tread.

Jack Glendening
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