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Marble Peak Trail

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby pantilat on Mon May 09, 2016 12:04 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Willow-Zigzag Saddle to Strawberry Valley the trail is pleasant Wilderness Freeway.

West of Tan Oak Camp along Tan Oak Creek to BM 3537 conditions have deteriorated from the last conditions report with vigorous riparian and chaparral spring growth (characteristic of this corridor) making it brushy and some new blowdowns over the trail from recent wind. The encroaching brush holds a lot of ticks this time of year. The section from Tan Oak Camp to BM 3537 is now "Passable."

West of BM 3537 into Indian Valley, the upper part has waist high brush becoming increasingly clear as one descends into Indian Valley. Water is flowing in all the creeklets in Indian Valley.

From Indian Valley to the trail end at Marble Peak the trail is Wilderness Freeway with just a little bit of avoidable poison oak in the upper part.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby cehauser on Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:44 am

Date Hiked: January 2, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked the western half of the Marble Peak Trail, from the North Coast Ridge Road to Higgins Creek (Lost Valley Trail junction) on January 1, then I continued on to the Tony Trail turnoff on January 2. From the North Coast Ridge Road, heading down the hill the trail was recently brushed and it is very clear with the exception of a few tree limbs across the trail. There was plenty of water flowing where the trail crosses Higgins Creek (in Indian Valley) and at the little campsite at the junction with the Lost Valley Trail. From Higgins Creek the trail climbs up a ridge... this portion is very well graded, and the bottom portion is clear, but the upper portion is brushy. Dropping down into Tan Oak Creek was mostly clear, and there is flowing water at all the different Tan Oak campsites. After the climb above Tan Oak Creek, the trail is mostly clear as it skirts high above the Zig Zag Creek watershed, and there is flowing water at at Shovel Handle Creek and Camp Creek. After the trail drops down into the Willow Creek drainage, there is blackberry overgrowing the trail, tread creep, and large trees on the trail... this short section along Willow Creek is mostly clear but a few places are difficult to get through.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Betsy M on Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:43 pm

Date Hiked: July 26, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This is an update regarding water, since this is such a dry year it is important to know where there is water. I'm combining observations from three separate trips which covered most of the Marble Peak Trail except for the Tassajara Camp section.

As of last weekend, July 25-26, there was water at Tan Oak Camp. The closest water was in Zig Zag Creek, just a hundred feet upstream of the camp (towards Strawberry Valley). This isn't flowing very well, but it is plenty enough to fill your water bottles. And it is right where the trail crosses the creek so it is easily accessed. There was a better flow in Tan Oak Creek, about 500 feet up from Tan Oak Camp (the other direction, towards Marble Peak). You can hear the water in the creek in several spots, but there is one place where the trail drops down very close to the creek and that is the best place to get water. It is convenient to fill up on your way to camp if you are coming from the west. There is probably water in Zig Zag Creek just below the camp, but to get there you would have to climb over and under fallen trees, and crawl through brush. This wasn't stopping an assortment of birds, visible from the camp, but it wasn't very appetizing for me.

There was no water in Higgins Creek at the junction of the Lost Valley Trail.

As of July 6th, there was no water at Strawberry Camp (technically this is on the South Fork Trail), but Zig Zag Creek had a small flow 1/4 mile upstream where the trail leaves the creek. There is flagging marking the spot where you have to drop down from the trail to the creekbed. A good backup camp if Strawberry is dry would be Tan Oak Camp. Just don't camp near the dead snag in the center of camp. Sometime during the night a tree came crashing down nearby. It is always a good idea to check for dead trees before you set up your camp.

Camp Creek had a good flow. Willow Springs had plenty of water in Willow Creek, as did the unofficial camp at the Tony Trail.

As of yesterday, August 3rd, Tassajara Creek was flowing at Adobe Camp, barely. This is the first time I can remember being able to walk across Tassajara Creek where the Horsepasture Trail crosses, without having to rock hop. There was water, but sections of the creekbed were completely dry.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby MarkMoeh on Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:09 pm

Date Hiked: July 10, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Marble Peak trail from Arroyo Seco to Marble Peak, hiked on 7/10/15 and 7/11/15. (Continued on to Lost Valley trail, I will post about that in the appropriate forum). I took the trip with information from the previous posts about the trail, and they were spot on. I'll add my experience here.

Great trail from Arroyo Seco to the Black Cone trail junction. About as close to a wilderness freeway as I've seen in the Ventana backcountry. Some vegetation overgrowth at the creek crossings, but easy hiking the whole way. I camped at Willow Spring, which was very spacious. I had the whole place to myself (in fact I didn't see another soul on the trail the entire weekend!). There was plenty of water in the creek all the way to camp.

When you get to the junction with Black Cone trail, the trail starts to get a bit more overgrown with more fallen trees. But the flagging is adequate along this steep section. At the top of the ridge there is an absolutely incredible view of the coastal range and of the valley you just climbed out of.

Make sure to load up with water at Willow Spring. There was a trickle at Shovel Handle Creek, but that was the last water I found along the trail until a few miles down the Lost Valley trail.

From the top of the ridge down to the Lost Valley trail junction was beautiful and clear, and a fun descent after the previous climb. I ditched my pack for the quick climb up to Marble Peak. It was clear up to North Coast Ridge road, and a short but brushy bushwack will get you to the top of Marble Peak for a stunning view of the ocean!

All-in-all a great trail, and very fun trek all the way from the inlands to the coast.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby js_radford on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:07 pm

Date Hiked: March 20, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I've helped with most of the two dozen or so VWA crew trips which have worked over the entire length of the Marble Peak Trail over the past 16 months, under direction of Betsy MacGowan. So I've seen what has been done on all parts except part of the Tan Oak Creek section, which was partially cut through about a year ago and which VWA tackled gain in a couple of recent trips that I missed.

Just this past Friday, I walked west from Tan Oak Camp to where the trail departs Tan Oak Creek and found that those recent VWA trips into that last worst section plus, apparently, one recent trip by Stevenson's School sometime in the past 5 weeks (my last visit), have finally converted what was a miserable series of crawl-unders and brush beating sections into a clear route.

FREEWAY (though not very heavily used):
- from Arroyo Seco trailhead to Strawberry Valley (perhaps the best trail in the Ventana at present)
- from Marble Peak end down to Indian Valley and parts of the trail eastward to Tan Oak Creek area.

CLEAR:
- Strawberry Valley through Tan Oak Creek area.

The latter section still needs some overhead/under foot deadfalls cut (about 60 small branches or small logs and 12 or so logs up to 14" diameter) and still needs some major tread repair. However, it is for the first time in years, truly "clear sailing" - in better shape than most of the eastern half of the Pine Ridge Trail! There is no real ducking, zero crawling, a few easy step-overs, almost no brush pushing and the tread is no longer in any doubt.

Many dead trees and large dead brush will fall in future storms but for now the trail is in such good shape one could run its entire length w/o slowing down.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby mack on Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:17 pm

Date Hiked: March 21, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Loved this trail! The trail was in great shape for the most part -- it got a tiny bit brushy in the section past Tassajara Creek Camp, but was totally manageable and the tread was clear as day, no chance of getting lost. Poison Oak was everywhere, but that's pretty typical for all Ventana trails -- minor PO encroachment, and it was easily avoidable.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Hillary on Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:42 am

Date Hiked: February 22, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Marble Peak trailhead to Camp Creek Camp was clear though the Poison Oak was definitely encroaching in areas, particularly as entering and exiting the multiple creek crossings. Water was plentiful. Camps along the way were clean and free of trash (hurray!). I think we stepped over one deadfall on the 8 mile trek.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby pantilat on Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:01 pm

Date Hiked: December 6, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We ran and hiked the entire Marble Peak Trail from Arroyo Seco to Marble Peak and back. It was great to meet Betsy on our way back near the trailhead on the Arroyo Seco Road section - thanks for all your hard work to make a run like this possible! The VWA work crews did an amazing job on the Tan Oak creek section and I can only imagine how hideous this must have been before. Unfortunately, there are a lot of old burnt snags from the 2008 fire in the Tan Oak Creek drainage that are just waiting to fall over. In the week since Betsy's crew worked on this section there was the first significant storm and there were already about a dozen new blowdowns of these burnt snags. I'm assuming yesterday's storm added many more. As we passed by these new blowdowns we removed the small branches allowing for easier passage. The trail travels in the Mill Creek riparian zone and I was surprised how lush it is with several wet crossings and consistent forest canopy. There was a lot of new leaf and branch debris from the recent storm. This is a wonderful trail!

Marble Peak Trail Photo Album

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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Betsy M on Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:24 pm

Date Hiked: November 29, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The previously DIFFICULT section of the trail between Tan Oak Camp and where the trail leaves Tan Oak Creek, heading west to Marble Peak, is now CLEAR of fallen trees with the exception of a few step-overs. A VWA volunteer trail crew spent Thanksgiving weekend removing 36 fallen logs and brushing out the worst sections. There are still a few places with brush encroachment, easy stepover trees, and uneven tread.
2014-11-29_10-49-47_874.jpg
2014-11-29_10-49-37_389.jpg

While we were there, we checked the Tan Oak use camp just west of where the Marble Peak Trail drops down into Strawberry Valley. There is currently no water in Zig Zag Creek at this use camp. There is water in Zig Zag Creek just above the official Tan Oak Camp, where the trail crosses the creek. There is also water in Tan Oak Creek, which is easily accessible from the trail, several hundred feet west the camp, as you are coming down the hill from the direction of Marble Peak.
We hoped to be able to clear the snag in the middle of the camp, so camping here would not be so hazardous. But it did not seem safe for us to do this, so we elected to camp at the end of the camp, at bedsites that were out of range should this snag come down.
We installed a new camp sign.
2014-11-29_08-13-48_244.jpg

As before, the west end of the trail, from the trailhead at Marble Peak to just before the top of the ridge dividing Higgins Creek watershed and ZigZag watershed, is a WILDERNESS FREEWAY.
The section from this ridge, to the saddle with a view of the window, is CLEAR.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Wilderwill2 on Tue May 06, 2014 10:15 pm

Date Hiked: April 21, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Alan Robertson and I (William Salmon) hiked this trail a week before Betsy's report below. We started on the Boronda Trail on Hwy 1, a 2,200 ft elev. climb to Timber Top on the Coast Ridge Road (CRR). We spent the first night at Cold Springs, and hiked on the CRR to Marble Peak Trail. The sign for the De Angelo trail has been restored on CRR. Cold Springs had water at a horse trough at the heli-pad.

The trail is in excellent condition except for the DIFFICULT portion at the saddle north-east of Indian Valley for about 3/4 of a mile as previously reported. We explored Indian Valley Camp trail which ends after about 1/4 - 1/3rd of a mile in a dense clearing. The southern end of Indian Valley Camp Trail still is marked by its burnt post, but the trail is obliterated. Betsy has done an excellent job of describing the difficult section on the Marble Peak Trail, so I won't go into detail.

We met the ACE crew coming west on the Marble Peak Trail, with Betsy following them to Strawberry Camp. Thanks to all of you who worked on the trail !

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