Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Manuel Peak Trail

Manuel Peak Trail

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:14 am

Date Hiked: January 14, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Trailhead to "Viewpoint"

I hiked the trail primarily to see how it fared after the recent rain events. As expected the trail is rough, with sections of tread having been eroded away from below or having slumped or been covered by erosion from above. In general, even after erosion at least 8 inches of useable tread remains on the trail. By far the worst spot [at N36.25716,W121.76121] is a 70 ft long section which has eroded from above the trail, covering it and producing a steeply sloped area which one must be careful crossing, as a slip would result in a long slide/fall downhill. Hikers have crossed it to create a very rough use trail - as more people cross that tread should become more even and hence safer. This was the only place where I decided to use my pole for safety but with care could have crossed without it - on my hike I met six people who had crossed that section sans poles, including one person carrying a baby (and two who came over Cabezo Prieto with loppers, which gladdened my heart to see - Mikhail and Dennis said they have been on VWA trailcrews). [This slide is much less dangerous than the one I reported on March 20, which left absolutely no tread.]

I could not get a good photo of this slide but below is a photo of another area which illustrates the susceptibility of the slope to erosion, both at the trail and elsewhere. I plan to hike the trail periodically during rainy season to see how the trail fares.

Mt Manuel erosion
Big Sur Trailmap:
User avatar
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jpdoelman on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:22 pm

Date Hiked: October 21, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We found the trail marked by a sign and a switch back at the point directly below the MtManuel-PostSummit saddle. The sign there was likely the TinHouse/Manuel trail intersection. From that point the trail is obscure. Not tread or trail evidence was found going north. This position is along the now "historic" route of the Mt. Manuel trail: ... &z=14&t=t4

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby donkris on Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:04 pm

Date Hiked: June 15, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Agree with previous poster. This trail is disappearing after mile 4. Impossible shoulder high brush that must be bulldozed through at a very slow pace. I saw two red marker flags where I suppose the trail is, but the head high impenetrable growth swallowed any sign of a trail. At this point I had had enough of bush whacking and decided to turn back.
The weather was very fine with good ocean breezes coming through. Flies were prevalent at higher altitudes. I had one tick on my pants and saw one dangling on the end of a weed, waiting for me to pass. Saw a baby rattler poking his head out of a hole in the trail.
The first 3 miles are a methodical climb of moderate effort. After the third mile, the trail is very overgrown in spots and must pushed through. There are a couple slide areas which can be dicey. Views west were somewhat disappointing.
I hope to complete this trail someday, as it was strenuous but very interesting.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby guest on Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:48 pm

Date Hiked: June 11, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

went up there yesterday, trail is bad. from pfieffer up the grade is great but once you get up on the ridge its parting brush with legs when wading through it, with shoulders in other spots, as in the brush has completely grown in from each side and connected in the middle. made it to post summit, didnt see any of the junctions i thought i would. trail 'tread' on the manuel ridge is decent though braided at times. on the hike up, to be totally honest, bench less than a foot across for a bunch of segments. not quite sure whats going on. the brush was imho about as bad as it gets before you start referring to the trail in the past tense. maybe they need to get a use exemption to run saws or something. ticks werent that bad. it was super dry so- i wouldnt count on any late running springs this year (sidenote: itd be cool to see a map of those). skeeters absent. poison oak barely there. biting flies were. lots a pretty flowers and strange birds.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby Guest on Mon May 07, 2012 12:18 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

amazing day for hike. Tread well defined but there was a lot brush encroaching the trail. Lots of ticks....hundreds....on the leaders bare legs but an occasional stop and swipe and we were fine. I didn't have pants but if you are freaked out from ticks and brush go ahead and wear them. All slides have been fixed and there are no downed trees on the trail.

Editor: I've inserted a photo of the repaired slide, courtesy John Howerton. You can see the drop below it. Hopefully it will last ...
Repaired slide

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby treesis on Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:44 pm

Date Hiked: April 22, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The only reason I am writing this review is to urge everyone to take a LOT of precautions against ticks. I usually never wear pants, but read about poison oak so decided to. It was a foggy morning so when saw in my side vision what I thought were darker drops of dew on my pants - I looked closer only to realize I had over 15 ticks on my legs. Im an avid hiker and have only encountered 1 tick at a time previously, so to find over 15 was very alarming. I turned back as I was wearing Teva sandals and didn't want one to crawl up my leg. I ran down the mountain, stopping every now and then to brush more ticks off my legs.

As far as trail conditions - the 1/4 of the trail I hiked was clear.

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:38 pm

Date Hiked: March 20, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Up to the viewpoint the trail is "Clear", with evidence of much appreciated sawing, trail clearing, and tread re-construction work - EXCEPT for a 6 foot section where the tread has been entirely eroded away by a slide, see photo below. It's along a very steep slope making it difficult to get around - going either up or down is problematic. It must have been relatively recent, since there was scanty evidence of its having been circumvented - there was a thin line, either a track of someone sliding or additional erosion, going about 20 ft downslope from there. I opted to kick a few footholds on the upslope side and balance across, but it was definitely dicey.

There is still encroaching brush, however, producing my second-worst tick experience in the Ventana on the ascent, running a gauntlet on the lower trail section (before it turns north) and quite slowed by all the time spent searching, finding, and removing. On the return trip in the afternoon the tick problem was better, but still bad - this time I counted them, reaching 291 ticks removed. Based on that, I'd guess I removed at least 500 on the way up. I hate deerweed!

Beyond the viewpoint, to the trail's historical descent towards Vado Camp, the trail is "Difficult" per the last Trail Report. It helped to have a GPS track to follow on the times I inadvertently wandered off-trail.

I'm blending all the above into my overall rating of "Passable".

BTW, a rocky usetrail which descends along the ridge from the path (which may have been the original trail route) goes down to give a better view (IMHO) than at the "viewpoint" above, since one can look more deeply into the Big Sur canyon, get a better view of Pt Sur, and see Manuel Peak ridgeline above. I've put a panoramic photo from there into my Ventana/SilverPeak Trailmap (showing snow on the sides of VDC and Kandlbinder).

PS: latest report is that the USFS has officially "closed" the trail at the southern trailhead, pending evalutaion/reconstruction of the eroded trail section.
Erosion (N36.2540,W121.7660)
Big Sur Trailmap:
User avatar
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby RI_Chris on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:50 am

Date Hiked: December 13, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The hike up to the viewpoint is much the same as the Oct. 1 2011 report from jbl, though more of the deadfalls have been cleared and it seems all the slumping of the trail in earlier reports has been repaired.

Beyond the viewpoint it gets real unpleasant. The tread is obvious but the encroachment is bad - lots of head high branches and bushes reaching across the trail that are impossible to avoid. Since the trail doesn't get any sun (in the morning at least) the leaves are wet with dew. I ended up completely soaked and cold after half a mile and decided to turn back to find the sun.

I highly recommend the hike up to the viewpoint, but I wouldn't try any farther unless it's a real warm day or you have completely waterproof gear to slip on to continue to the summit.

Manuel Peak Trail-Upgrade from Difficult to Passable

Postby jbl on Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:00 pm

Date Hiked: October 1, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)


This report covers the section of trail as far as the viewpoint.

See below map:

The downed trees previously reported were all on the north-facing slopes in the two areas indicated and were removed (other than an easy stepover) and the tread around them was repaired on 10/1/11.

The section between points A-B is the hardest, with a bit of slumping and sliding and other trail diversion (forcing up- and downhill scrambling of up to 8' in places) and on and off brush encroachment.

The section between points C-D also has many pockets of brush encroachment, some of which was cleared on 10/1/11, but a lot remains to be done.

None of the brush encroachment blocks passage, it just gets a bit tight sometimes.

Contact with poison oak is virtually inevitable on the upper reaches of the trail, as it is growing up to face high mixed in with the other brush (and there's plenty of it at thigh and below level in the first 4 miles of trail as well, but you can generally dodge that).

mt manuel trail-2.jpg
Manuel Peak Trail 10/1/11
User avatar
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Re: Manuel Peak Trail

Postby dhodun on Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:00 pm

Date Hiked: August 14, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked Pfeifer to Manuel Peak and back

As state before, the lower section of the trail is well maintained and provides a nice view, and steady climb.

Starting at the first wooded section (maybe a third of the way up), there is plenty of scrambling, unstable trail, and it is incredibly overgrown much of the way to the peak. At least half the trail it seemed we were pushing through brush, though we lost the trail only once. I hiked this three years ago and it was in much better shape. Two people in our group this were in shorts and their legs are very cut up now. It's a great, challenging hike, but with all the brush, we regretted taking the hike. Hiking Manuel is tough and we were ready for that, but we spent LOTS of time ducking, scrambling, and pushing our way through overgrowth.

If you're up for the challenge, it is essential to wear pants... I wish I had read these trail reports.
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 1:51 pm


Return to Ventana Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest