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Lost Valley Trail

Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby Betsy M on Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:34 pm

Date Hiked: February 23, 2019
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Section: Marble Peak Trail to 4th Crossing ONLY
A group of VWA trail crew volunteers cleared fallen trees from the Lost Valley Trail starting at the Marble Peak Trail, to beyond Pelon Camp. See the before and after photos of a large pine that was fully cleared. We ended up halfway between the 4th and 5th crossing. The trail is holding up beautifully. It is just that lots of trees both small and large had fallen. We did this trip soon after the massive February rains so Higgins Creek was pretty high. The creek crossings required most of our group to take off our boots. But the flow was not high enough to seem hazardous. More of an inconvenience. We rock hopped the first crossing, and we positioned rocks at the second crossing to allow rock hopping, only getting our boots a little bit wet. But the next crossings required getting wet. Photo shows one of our group crossing at Pelon Camp.
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We did leave several large trees that will require a crosscut saw. These trees are easy to climb over and do not pose much of an obstacle to hikers.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby Eric on Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:57 am

Date Hiked: December 28, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Greetings all, first post.

From Escondido Campground descending to Arroyo Seco River was clear. The ascent from Arroyo Seco River to the summit (USGS BM 2852) was clear but with a couple small deadfalls. After the summit into Lost Valley before and after Pothole Slide Falls was intermittently brushy with several deadfalls but passable and cleared up near Fish Camp. When the open, golden meadows of the Lost Valley revealed itself it was a wonderfully disarming experience.

I decided to camp at Lost Valley Usecamp per Jack Glendening's recommendation. A pair of campers had already taken the attractive and level spot near the picnic table so I set up camp just East in the large meadow. The frost on the grass in the AM as the sun beamed down into the valley refracted thousands of tiny iridescent dew drop rainbows. I went down to Lost Valley Creek to get some water and on the way back approached the campers to say hi and noticed that they were just starting a fire. I politely asked if they knew about the current fire restrictions - (No campfires in the backcountry, Camping stoves with permit OK) and he genuinely was not aware. When I shortly after said bye while leaving the fire was out, so I believe he received the information well and extinguished the fire.

Lost Valley Trail from Lost Valley Usecamp to Marble Peak Trail was clear/passable and a joy to hike. Navigation was made much easier by whoever (I presume VWA Volunteer Trail Crew) periodically flagged the key points and river crossings of the trail.
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Aforementioned frosty grass poorly captured in comparison to IRL.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby hydrologic on Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:32 am

Date Hiked: December 10, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

what a difference a few days can make since the last report by Leor. There are multiple blow downs along the entire length of LV trail all the way to Escondido. Most can be handled with man power or a hand saw. We cleared several but others would take more time. Tread is slumping in some area due to heavy rains. Wild boars made a mess of the tread a few hundred feet down from Higgens camp. Overall a total joy to hike but be aware there are some blow downs you have to navigate
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:13 pm

Date Hiked: November 25, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the entire length of the Lost Valley Trail.

From Indian Valley to Lost Valley: Clear Thanks to the incredible work of VWA volunteers this once "lost" stretch of trail is now clear with the exception of a few new step over logs. After recent rains water was flowing in all streams, including the headwaters of Higgins Creek in Indian Valley. With additional heavy rain anticipated this week the Higgins Creek crossings lower down toward Lost Valley may become difficult. This section of trail has some nice forest canopy sections passing through excellent diversity of tree species including a incense cedar, Santa Lucia Fir, Coulter pine, sycamore, big leaf maple, alder, oaks and willows. As the tread work is still fresh, the trail is "soft" after rain; one set of (presumably big, heavy) boot tracks visible throughout. Per the previous report, the crossing of Higgins Creek in Lost Valley, which was previously confusing amid the sprawling willows, has been cleared out and is obvious - thanks! If you run into a wall of willows you've made a wrong turn.

From Lost Valley to the Arroyo Seco Saddle: Passable Hard to believe but this section is now in worse shape than the Indian Valley to Lost Valley section. All of the blowdowns from my last visit in 2016 remain with a few new ones over the last couple years. Most are small diameter and probably a couple dozen in aggregate. The somewhat sketchy scree slope sections remain the same but passable with care. The brush-prone chaparral section between Fish Creek Camp and the saddle is filling in quickly with a stretch of moderate brush to push through. Water was flowing in all of the creeks, including plentiful at Fish Creek camp. Even Pothole Slide Falls had a small flow.

From the Arroyo Seco Saddle to Escondido Camp: Clear There's no blowdowns and the brush situation becomes lighter to nonexistent the more one descends toward the Arroyo Seco River. Volunteer work on this part was noted and appreciated. From Arroyo Seco River up to Escondido Camp is wilderness freeway.
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Lost Valley Trail at Higgin's Creek

Postby hydrologic on Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:00 pm

Date Hiked: October 28, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

is now open! We spent a few hours getting through the wall of brush and blow downs and now there is a 5 foot wide path you can easily hike. We also did some work from Higgins to the first crossing of Los Valley creek. Another crew was working on a mile section out of Arroyo Seco heading uphill. The entire Lost Valley Trail is now mostly hike friendly. There are some sections from the top of the saddle heading down towards Fish Camp and then continuing to Lost Valley that has encroaching brush and some blow downs and some slumped tread. I would call most of this yellow with a few orange sections. But from Lost Valley all the way to Marble Peak trail intersection I would call green with a very few yellow sections.
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Lost Valley Trail from Lost Valley Camp to Pelon Camp

Postby FlyinBrian on Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:10 am

Date Hiked: July 11, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This 3-mile section took 4 hours. Code red trail for sure. From Lost Valley Camp, there are multiple trails to various campsites and water sources. None of them is obvious as THE trail. Getting from Lost Valley Creek to Higgins Creek is the first problem. All of the trail segments I could find ended at Lost Valley Creek. None crossed. So I pushed through the dense creek-side brush and found some more animal trails on the far side and headed generally toward Higgins Creek. Once I found the creek, there were signs of old trail along the right bank (heading upstream) of the creek. These disappeared in creek-side brush whenever the trail ran right next to the creek. Most of the route is a trailless walk in the creek. Thanks to Betsy and crew for the beautiful trail from Pelon Camp onward! It's very obvious where it heads up the right bank to Pelon Camp. Look for it soon after you pass a 5-foot pour-off waterfall into a beautiful circular pool.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby Betsy M on Wed May 30, 2018 4:12 pm

Date Hiked: May 27, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

SECTION COVERED: Two and a half miles at the north end of the trail - from the Marble Peak Trail to Pelon Camp ONLY.

VWA trail crew volunteers succeeded in reaching Pelon Camp from the junction with the Marble Peak Trail. This section is now a pleasure to hike. This milestone is the culmination of a series of work trips and the effort of many volunteers, some of whom are breaking out in poison oak now thanks to the intense exposure. Additionally thanks go to Jack Glendening for mapping assistance in the most confusing sections.
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Upper Higgins Camp and Pelon Camp both have reliable water and nice pools in the creek. The start of the trail below Marble Peak has water now, but it usually dries up quickly. The waterfall near the Indian Valley Camp Trail was flowing well.
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We were able to work just a short distance downstream of Pelon Camp, enough to tell that the trail is completely impassible in this section. However we met a group who had hiked up Higgins Creek from Lost Valley. We didn't check out the creek route but if you were willing to hike a mile in the creek, you could make a loop hike using this trail.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby lylegordon on Tue May 29, 2018 10:35 am

Date Hiked: May 27, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Mostly easily passable from the Lost Valley Connector trail to Escondido. Some sections are a bit overgrown and there is quite a lot of poison oak, especially where the trail crosses the numerous small drainages. Another group had cleared some brush. Water is available at Fish Camp and at numerous small creeks along the trail and at the Escondido Spring. Pothole slide falls is flowing nicely. Buggy at Fish Camp. Trail is eroded or covered with fallen dirt from above along some of the steep scree sections and care was needed to not slide down.

Crossings of the Arroyo Seco were well marked with cairns but we lost the trail for a bit when it started to gain elevation leaving the Arroyo Seco drainage , around (36.144, -121.503), hiked up a steeper rocky section to find the trail a bit higher.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby Jacob Nie on Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:18 pm

Date Hiked: April 20, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Escondido all the way to the junction with the Lost Valley-Coast Ridge Connector Trail.

Section from Escondido camp to the Arroyo Seco was all clear. Make sure that you find the right place to cross though. Shortly after the crossing, there was a huuge tree blocking the trail, but it wasn't too hard finding a shortcut around it. The trail is somewhat brushy for the next mile or so, after which it opens up and becomes very hot and sunny all the way up to the pass.

From the pass to Fish Camp, the trail is also somewhat brushy with some deadfall, but it's easy to find.

Fish Camp to the Connector trail junction---trail is mostly clear. However, there are a ton of sketchy scree slopes that you'll want to watch out for---nothing impassable though.
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Re: Lost Valley Trail

Postby at_scott on Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:55 pm

Date Hiked: April 14, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked from Escondido campground to Lost Valley and spent the night at Upper Lost Valley Camp. I found the conditions to be pretty much as Rob had reported them. I really enjoyed the hike and it was more scenic than I expected. The views before dropping down into the valley were pretty good. Plenty of California Sun Cups on the way but other than that not a lot of flowers. Fish Camp was nice and clear with plenty of room for a couple of tents. Upper Lost Valley Camp was nice with a picnic table, fire ring, and good access to water.

We didn’t see another human during the 24 hours or so that we were on the trail or in the valley.

The location marked by Lost Valley Camp on bigsurtrailmap.net isn’t really an acceptable place to camp. It is close to the river and is choked with downed wood making it difficult to get there. There’s a camp site to the east of the location marked on the map at the western end of the meadow that has a table and fire ring that would be a nice place to camp. I think the GPS point marks the location of an old sign for Lost Valley.

NOTE : I edited this post to correct the location of the camp to the east of the old sign marking Lost Valley.
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