Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Manuel Peak Trail
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Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 12:05 pm
by TimMcL
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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:20 pm
by jack_glendening
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.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:28 am
by jdoelman
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.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:40 pm
by Sierra Mike
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")!

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:34 pm
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: March 13, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked only to the bend where both Kandlbinder and VDC are seen. There are new erosions, but at least 6 inches of tread remains at each and many can be stepped over. While you must be careful not to lose your balance, I do not consider any overly dangerous .For older people like me with poorer balance a pole is definitely helpful at the eroded spots (but poles to get in the way in brushy spots, so I carry only a single pole as a compromise).

Beyond the wilderness boundary the brush and tread get increasingly rough. I had to keep eyes focussed on the path to keep from tripping and to avoid the poison oak, could only enjoy the view when I stopped. While passable, it is becoming increasingly more difficult and less enjoyable.

The poppies and blue dicks were at their height, the lupine part way there. I also noted that the warty ceanothus was blooming, while the smooth ceanothus was past its prime - there is some beauty to those plants which. try to overgrow the trails


Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:24 pm
by Bavaruspex
Date Hiked: March 10, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Date hiked: Mo, March 10, 2015
We hiked from Big Sur Lodge (Parking lot 3). We basically agree with previous reports but want to add that by now two slides have damaged the trail to a degree that crossing them is getting from difficult to dangerous. The slides removed not only the path itself, but also any sort of growth (or anything else) to hold on to, nor will anything stop your slide/fall should you lose your footing. If you’re vertigo sensitive, don’t be a fool and have the courage to turn back. By comparison the fallen trees are a mere nuisance and no danger is involved. Closer to the peak the undergrowth is by now high enough that, if you’re not exactly tall, you simply won’t have a worthwhile view! This trail starts to be in need of some professional maintenance, or it should be closed for safety reasons.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:20 am
by peter baily
Date Hiked: February 11, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I barely slowed...not much of a concern.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:19 am
by Guest
Date Hiked: February 13, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Hwy. 1 at Andrew Molera State Park up the East Molera Trail to Post Summit, then over to Manuel Peak, down the Manuel Peak Trail to the state park then Hwy. 1 back to my car. The entire journey with dog in tow took 8 hrs. Never saw a single other person!

East Molera Trail to the Post Summit "sub peak" is completely clear, open, easy to follow and absolutely stunning! Amazing views of the ocean, the peaks and wilderness. Zero poison oak. From the "sub peak", the fire break to Post Summit is obvious, but is beginning to grow in. The path alternated between knee to chest high brush, with an evident tread to an obvious idea of where to go. Easily passable.

From Post Summit to Manuel Peak the trail is mostly passable for the first 3/4 of the way, then alternating between passable/difficult for the final 1/4. Obvious most people don't make the journey on this section, and it's well worth it. While the trail tread is mostly evident, again alternating in places between knee to head high brush in a few places, the difficulty that does present is mostly due to many faintly worn braided paths in the last 1/4 of the way that go everywhere! It takes a little patience to find the correct way! Zero poison oak!

From the Summit of Manuel Peak down to the park, the trail is in no way evident the first 1/4. Brushy, poison oak, faint tread...reference your topo map to make sure you go the right way, there are paths going completely the wrong direction. The final 3/4 of the decent is easy and apparent, and despite the washouts mentioned in other reports I barely slowed...not much of a concern.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:33 pm
by peter baily
Date Hiked: February 11, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The first two miles or so is in mostly excellent condition, well cleared of brush. After this, just before the first "rock grotto" the trail becomes increasingly brushy all the way to the summit. A large slide just past the first "rock grotto" has damaged the trail and has the potential to get a lot worse and dangerous to cross. The tiny, drip of a spring below the second "rock grotto" is dry. New growth, post-fire pines are doing well in the area of the summit. The trail from the summit towards Cabezo Prieto is very brushy, tunnel-like in some areas, and slowly being obliterated by brush, but it is followable - nothing like the wide open conditions after the 2008 fire. I turned around before Cabezo Prieto. Encountered no people on the trail. Though the vistas of Big Sur are beautiful as ever, mucking through the brush is not very pleasant- no hike for shorts! I pulled off two ticks that had begun burrowing in. Next time I will use more tick repellent.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:28 am
by hunter
Date Hiked: November 7, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from the trailhead in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for about 2 or 3 miles up the trail to Mount Manuel. The trail was clear and well-maintained. There is no water, and be careful of poison oak. I got a case of Poison Oak shortly after this hike, but my skin wasn't completely covered. It is a beautiful hike; I highly recommend it!