Highway One is Open. The washout at Rat Creek has been repaired and the highway is open throughout Big Sur. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road -- which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge -- is significantly damaged and will be closed indefinitely. 

What's Open: NEW: The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp IS OPEN effective April 13, 2021. 

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness trails inland can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) and from Tassajara Road off of Carmel Valley Road). Along the coast, Wilderness trails may be accessed via the Pine Ridge Trail at Big Sur Station, the North Coast Ridge Road, the Boronda Trail, and the De Angulo Trail on Highway One.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are open. 

What's Closed: Click here for a map that shows the current fire closure boundaries

Road Closures: Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Cone Peak, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge Roads remain closed.

Know Before You Go: Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever. 

Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and stoves are currently permitted in the backcountry. Click here for a permit and take it with you

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 
Open for day use: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Manuel Peak Trail

Manuel Peak Trail

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:36 pm

Date Hiked: September 14, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I'd heard a firecrew had worked on the trail but no details, such as how far they'd gotten, so went out to see for myself. This report covers the trail up to the ridgeline. [This was also a foot testing hike for me, since I've been trying to recover from foot problems for over 2 months - in fact, I tried to do this hike just last week but had to turn around after only 2 miles due to foot pain. Since I'm able to make this report today shows progress is being made!]

The good news is that the trail is in the best shape its been since the 2016 fires. Brush has been cleared along the entire route, though the corridor is narrow at times. The tread is in decent shape to the wilderness boundary but then starts to deteriorate, becoming rough and tricky to negotiate in spots. It is thin (boot width) at times, often sloped, and sometimes two layered. Beyond the seasonal spring (which I marked with a green ribbon to keep from being forgotten, since the use trail leading to it is now indistinguishable) I had to continually watch where I placed my feet. The worst section was from where the trail turns north, with the VDC being visible, to the ridgeline.

In many places the tread created by the firecrew departs from the smooth ascent of the old trail, instead dropping down then having to awkwardly ascend to get back to the old trail. Don't know whether they were following small usetails which had been created when there was a lot of brush on the trail or whether they simply followed the path of least resistance. In places the current tread is very un-trail-like, with relatively steep ascents/descents and sometimes has had steps kicked into it, like a ladder. Just below the ridgeline, new tread has been created to reach the ridgeline earlier, and more steeply, than the old trail. Interestingly, the old trail tread was _also_ cleared but then later blocked with brush on both ends - for some reason they seem to have decided to divert people to the new tread instead.

I found a pole _very_ useful in helping to deal with the rough sections, particularly on descent. There are no dangerous slide sections, as there have been in the past and may be again if we get strong rains, but a mis-step can easily cause a fall at many, many spots. So you do have to keep your eyes on the trail. Since the views along the trail are often wonderful, I found myself stopping so I could enjoy them and then pushing on again.


PS: I saw a condor on the hike, circling in a more stately manner than vultures do - so keep an eye out for them.
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby Jpdoelman on Sun May 20, 2018 3:56 pm

Date Hiked: May 13, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Descended from Post summit by Manuel saddle to the Manuel trail then followed it to Vado camp. The trail was hard to follow in places. I missed some parts of the trail but always managed to find it again to proceed. Above the switchchbacks near Vado I did some x-country but gained the trail again in 1/4 mile. Put up some flagging so I can find the trail easier next time

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby Todd Perkins on Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:52 am

Date Hiked: April 22, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

View from false summit of Manuel Peak trail as it reaches bulldozed ridge with low brush.

Described route: Up East Molera -> Post Summit -> Cabezon Preto Ridge -> Manuel Peak -> Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. If you are hiking up Molera Peak from Pfeiffer Big Sur, read this report from bottom to top.

Trail to Post Summit is wilderness freeway up past the Redwoods and the Golden Staircase. The left turn cutoff to the saddle to Post Summit is indistinct. The trail up Post Summit is similar to prior years. It was previously bulldozed and has many gravel sections easy to slip on coming back down.

The trail to Cabezo Prieto Ridge and across to Manuel Peak has been bulldozed and has ankle to waist high brush in patches, easy to get past for now. It likely will fill in and become difficult.

From Manuel Peak false summit down the west side of the ridge the trail passes 50 yards of brush tunnel followed by open trail. Hikers are cutting the switchbacks and creating erosion by descending directly down the steep face of false summit. There are a few more areas of brush, one detour around a tree, and some sections of narrow trail with steep drop-offs descending the east, then south side of the ridge. Two miles down from Manuel down to Pfeiffer State Park the trail widens to freeway width with passing lanes thanks to recent VWA trail work.

Enjoy this trail before the brush fills in the ridges at the top!
Cabezo Preito Ridge showing bulldozed trail and ankle to waist high brush, easily passable.
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby gene a on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:26 am

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

Trail degrades from wilderness freeway to passable as it nears the false summit. No sign of Manuel spring. Trail winds around small deadfalls. Fifty yards of brush tunnel near false summit. Hikers are cutting switchback and creating erosion by descending directly down the steep face of false summit. From false summit to Cabezo Prieto bulldozers flattened the high brush; its is low to waist high and growing fast and will eventually become a labyrinth of tunnels as it did in years following 2008 Basin Complex fire - enjoy it while it lasts!
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby scottmacdonald on Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:51 pm

Date Hiked: February 18, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Starting from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, the first 2.5 miles or so of trail are wilderness freeway, great condition with recent trail work evident. After the trail turns north around the ridge things get a bit rougher, though still plenty clear and very hikable. There is some encroaching brush and you need to watch your step (instead of the incredible views) because the tread is tricky in spots.

Continuing on from the summit, the trail is clear and easily navigated along the ridge all the way to East Molera Trail. Some brushy areas but no problem to walk through them.
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby Trail Wanderer on Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:34 am

Date Hiked: November 24, 2017
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

started at Cooper School, proceeded up a very steep and brushy slope keeping to the west of the fence line before exitting the brush to a flat grassy area at elev 1400ft. From this point to elev 2400 is an excellent use-trail to the base of Post Summit. The firebreak up Post-Summit is exceedingly steep and slippery on its western slopes. No brush related to live brush or fire mitigation encountered above 1400ft.
Descended from the Post Summit - Mt Manuel Saddle to elev 2880, where I was able to find the Mt Manuel trail. While searching for the trail I found a wood trail sign advising 3-miles to Vado, 4-miles to Launtz. This sign likely at the intersection of the Tin House trail ( will have to try the tin house trail some other day ). Followed the Mt Manuel trail for about 2 miles past 3 flowing springs until being confounded by particularly dense area of brush. Turned back there. The confounding brush was on the north-slope of the minor drainage 1/4 mile south-west of Vado Camp, ENE of point 3342
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby TimMcL on Mon May 23, 2016 12:05 pm

Date Hiked: May 21, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I started from Pfeiffer State Park and only hiked 3 of the 4 miles. For the section we hiked, there was very tall grass, but the trail was easy to follow. Starting at mile 2.5, the trail was still possible to follow, but there was a lot of scrub to wade through. We turned around after hearing others report that the final mile was even more grown in with lots of poison oak. We passed 3 groups that day, none of whom reached the summit.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: December 12, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

*NB* This report is for the NORTH end of the HISTORIC ("lost") Mt Manuel Trail, i.e. starting from the Little Sur Trail.

Roger Beaudoin, Jesse Cude, Jean LeBlanc, and I went out to see what we could find of the route to Launtz Creek Camp, my last trip out there being 3 years ago. We were pleased to find that a VWA trailcrew lead by Steve Benoit and Betsy MacGowan has cleared much of that route, partly following some clearing done by firefighters. In particular, an extremely brushy "Apex of Brushiness", which has always been problematic, where I've lost the trail twice in previous trips, now has a tunnel cleared through it and the route is very apparent (and easy). On our trip we did additional clearing up to where the trail lies above Launtz Creek Camp, such that I can now rate the route from Little Sur Trail to that point as "passable" - the tread is very apparent, albeit rough, and brush mostly cleared.

At Launtz Creek Camp, we found additional tread and some recent clearing heading up a gully northbound, ala Schaffer's 1988 map. The map below depicts the two separately cleared sections.

Unfortunately we could not find any old tread connecting those two sections. But we tended to stay somewhat high on the slope, where it was more open - the old tread might lie in the brushy band below our route. I think I will need to go back to explore that area in more detail.

I hope we can later establish the connected "historic" route for better backpack access to Launtz Creek Camp. Currently one can descend down the steep slope at the end of the passable route to get to the camp - but that is bushwhack and difficult on the return ascent. Alternatively, one could climb up a bit from the end of the passable section and go across relatively open terrain to connect the sections, as we did. But I did NOT put any flagging to indicate that connection, since I did not want to put flagging off the historic tread. Those who carry a GPS can easily go between the sections if displayed in the GPS, without needing any flagging.

To indicate the location of these newly cleared segments of the historic trail, I've created two "use trails" which I've added to my Big Sur Trailmap so others can see/use them. I hope that someday they will be connected, creating a "passable" route to the camp, so that I can change them into a resurrection of the "Mt Manuel Trail".

Jack Glendening

PS: personally, it was very gratifying to see faded green flagging I'd placed 3 years ago, when the trail was overgrown and nearly impassable, and think about how much the route along them has improved since then.
photo: J.LeBlanc
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jdoelman on Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:28 am

Date Hiked: December 5, 2015
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

A friend and I made a trip to Launtz recently. We were pleased to encounter significant recent trail work on the north end of the Mt manual trail.
The "trail"/route was usable (though not always easily followable) until it entered the Launtz drainage. At that point the trailwork petered out. We bushwacked
down to Launtz creek and hit the creek 100 yards below Launtz camp. After some scouting around we found what appears to be the remains of two cabins,
both upstream of Launtz camp and on the south side of launtz creek.
This trip was significantly easier than when I tried to hike to Launtz camp last year and ended up camping in the brush near the apex of brushiness, short of the Launtz creek drainage.
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby Sierra Mike on Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:40 pm

Date Hiked: July 2, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Even though I did not hike up to the peak today (have not done so since 2013) due to a late afternoon start, I hiked a little ways beyond half-way. The half-way point on this trail is within the oak-madrone-redwood forest, which is approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead, and officially within the Ventana Wilderness. For approximately 1/4 mile prior to this point it is a little brushy, but nothing that is difficult to push or navigate through easily. One person with a machete and a hour hacking away on this short section could definitely clear out some of the more pronounced vegetation impeding the trail. From the trailhead to this beginning brushy section the trail is under the control of the State Park System and is quite well maintained annually from such overgrowth. Periodically, and, especially during heavy winter rainfall, a few trees and/or severe erosion usually obstruct this steep beginning section of trail. Currently, I rate this section "passable" because there is one small tree trunk obstructing the trail at about 1/3 the way up from the trailhead, but it is easy to maneuver around. In addition, some areas of this trail section have moderate erosion, so cautionary hiking is prudent. The main obstacle that I encountered on my sojourn today transpired shortly upon entering the canopy of the forest section. There is a moderate sized oak tree that completely obstructs the trail forcing people to hike up the steep hillside for ten yards, around its base, and down another ten yards to meet up with the trail. Unfortunately, this detour is causing substantial erosion to the hillside, and will only continue to worsen as this trail gets more use during the summer season. Also evident are people having gone down the hillside and around the front of the tree to the trail, but much less so (hillside erosion minimally apparent) due to the abundance of poison oak and the previous route clearly established as the dominant detour. The only issues I think a trail crew would have in removing the obstructing section of this tree is: poison oak, working on a steep slope, and afternoon heat and flies during this time of year. Lastly, as you leave the large gully at the end of the forest you come upon a ten yard section of trail that was inundated by a relatively large landslide several years ago, but is passable. Again, cautionary hiking is prudent and a staff or hiking poles is highly recommended. Personally, a hiking staff or poles have many advantages over disadvantages, and after hiking for many years I seldom hike without them. Even though a staff or poles can get caught up in brush on narrow trails, you just have to know when to place them out of the way by holding them to your side, on your shoulder, or if possible stowed into your pack. Beyond this slide section I hiked approximately a 1/4 mile and the trail does get brushy and narrower. Watch your footing and tree and/or chaparral roots that protrude into the trail. If you were to trip (especially if you were hiking to fast) and be pitched off the trail (I'm not talking about the uphill slope) hope and pray that you land in a very dense cluster of chaparral, because the alternative could prove fatal. Parts of this trail can be unforgiving like many areas within the rugged but beautiful Ventana Wilderness. I will submit a trail report on the rest of this trails condition to the peak hopefully in the not too distant future. Until then hike safely, and remember the Lakota Indian proverb, "akita mani yo" ("observe everything as you walk")!
Sierra Mike


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