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Marble Peak Trail

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby bigsurnut on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:14 pm

Date Hiked: March 20, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This is a very clear trail. A couple river crossings before you get to willow campsite. Otherwise it's all good!

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Betsy M on Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:31 pm

Date Hiked: February 18, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Marble Peak Trail is clear from Horsebridge to Camp Creek. It is a pleasure to hike. Beyond that, it is brushy, but there are no major obstacles until past Tan Oak. About a half mile past Tan Oak Camp, the trail vanishes. Completely gone. There are blackberries, ceanothus, and fallen trees. The trail could be anywhere in there. It is not like you have to climb over or crawl under, and then you find the trail on the other side. It is rather, there is no sign of where the trail is, so you don't even know which direction you should be crawling. Do not expect to be able to get west of Tan Oak Camp without a large amount of thrashing and blindly exploring. Unless of course you have a GPS track, then you would still be thrashing, but not blindly. When we hiked in February, all the creek crossings were easy and we did not need to change to water shoes or get wet.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:12 am

Date Hiked: December 16, 2012
General Condition: Clear

A VWA Trail Crew worked on the section between Willow Springs Camp and Tassajara Creek Camp,
removing two large tree blowdowns and many smaller trees from across the trail. The trail still has blackberry vines and poison oak in spots. Even after the large amount of rain that created logjams in the creek, Willow Creek had subsided almost to pre-rain levels and the creek crossings were easy. The section from the trailhead at Horsebridge to Tassajara Creek Camp is Clear, and verges on Wilderness Freeway conditions.
The mist was rising in the canyon Sunday morning.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:17 pm

Date Hiked: November 25, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked the section from Strawberry Camp to the Tony trail junction, and conditions were pretty much as per the 4-May report. Brush was thick in spots, a couple of blowdowns. Water in all the creeks. Willow Springs was shady and chilly, par for the course this time of year.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Date Hiked: November 10, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Section: Tan Oak Camp to Half Mile West: Impassable

Several VWA hikers started at the Coast Ridge,
hiked down the Marble Peak Trial to the junction with the Lost Valley Trail, and continued towards Strawberry Valley. We encountered impenetrable brush about a half mile before Tan Oak Camp. Well, maybe if you had more time, you could penetrate the brush. But it was pretty clear that no one had been hiking over that particular section of tread in a while. If you plan to travel between Tan Oak Camp and Indian Valley on the Marble Peak Trail, expect to do some crawling in the half mile section west of Tan Oak.

The section of trail between there and the top of the ridge overlooking Lost Valley was Passable. Really not bad. We stopped to enjoy the views at the top.
The section from that ridge down to the Lost Valley Trail junction was Difficult, with brush growing into the trail and sloping tread. We tried to clear up a couple of confusing spots either by adding flagging or by removing enough brush at a switchback that you would be less likely to miss the turn.

The section from the Coast Ridge to the Lost Valley Trail was clear, although the brush is starting to encroach.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sun May 06, 2012 8:04 pm

Date Hiked: May 4, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Strawberry Valley to the Tony Trail junction

My report is reasonably consistent with previous ones. Lots of this section would rate a "Clear" rather than a "Passable", but a short section near Shovel Handle Creek and a longer section near Camp Creek were slower and required some caution. In both, there were spots with considerable brush incursion. Around Camp Creek, the trail is perched on a rather steep hillside. There was a some slumping and even when not, I needed to be cautious with my footing. The trail opened a bit then as it rose to the Zigzag Creek / Willow Creek divide. There was one more seriously brushy section near the top of descent into the Willow Creek canyon, then wilderness-freeway-quality trail down. Once in the canyon, I had to do a little dancing around PO and other soft growth, but there was nothing especially problematic.

Camps: The maps show a Camp Creek Camp. I didn't see anything that looked like a camp there. An obvious flat spot candidate was littered with downed trees. Willow Springs Camp, an open flat under trees next to Willow Creek, is huge and lovely. There's a nice, if smaller, makeshift camp at the Tony Trail junction.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby moglythewildchild on Tue May 01, 2012 1:26 pm

Date Hiked: September 7, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This report is on trailhead off Indians road to somewhere between tassajara camp and willow springs camp.

Ok so this was a day trip for me from array seco to as far as i could scout on a Sunday knowing i had work the next day. From Ventana Wilderness sign to Tassajara Camp it was more of a wilderness freeway , I had never been hiking in the area before so i was taking my Time but shortly after passing Tassajara Camp the trail turns to brush and zig zaging across the willow creek several times. I'm not sure if tassajara camp is still there or if i passed it, or never reached it. [editor: Adobe Camp is located just past the Horsepasture Trail junction, and Tassajara Camp is a large camp on the right, where Tassajara Creek turns, and the Marble Peak Trail begins following Willow Creek, with many creek crossings.] either way the trail was gone.there were tons of small fly swarming and it was very dense brush.I loved it( other than bugs). not for everyone took 3.5 hours to reach my turn around point. 1.25 hours of that time was spent working my way threw dense growth on willow creek.i will be returning on may 12 this time for 7 days, can't wait to go off trail and find something new. i will report after the trip
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 21, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is for the western-most section, between its junctions with North Coast Ridge Rd and Indian Valley Trail

The trail was considerably deteriorated from its condition on my last backpack to Indian Valley, just 5 months previous. due to extensive downfall along the eastern slope of Marble Peak, likely from the November windstorm. I took along a 15 inch saw and was mightily glad - it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible given the steep friable slope, had I not been able to saw limbs out of the way.

On my last visit I had noted that someone had been maintaining this trail, since many large diameter tree trunks had been sawed and moved aside and the path was "Passable". However the maintainer seems not be have been back since the windstorm. After my sawing, one can now squeeze through with a backpack, except for one place, hence is also currently "Passable", but not as easily as it was before.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby David Stone on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:16 am

Date Hiked: November 28, 2011
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Marble Peak Trail, from Tan Oak Camp to Lost Valley Trail

Apologies that this report is many months late, but I was thinking of coming back up to Big Sur soon and recalled that I had intended to write this report up.

My friend and I spent the last night of our 4-day Thanksgiving weekend trip at Tan Oak Camp. We departed for the coastal ridge before 7 AM and encountered intense brush on the Marble Peak Trail heading west from Tan Oak Camp about a half mile from camp. The trail went from highly camouflaged in the heavy, chest- to head-high brush to non-existent within a quarter mile after first encountering the overgrowth. We attempted to stream walk but were thwarted, again by dense overgrowth, and decided to bushwhack straight up the sides of the canyon (we both had to be back in San Diego the next day, so we didn't see much of an alternative at the time). What resulted from this was the worst bushwhacked I have ever done in my life, where my clothing and skin were abrasively tormented with everything from insurmountable brush to razor-sharp burned out and dead manzanita plants that populated the upper echelons of the canyon. We managed to cross the first ridge and recover some semblance of the trail when passing over. We were actually able to follow the trail 75% of the time to the Lost Valley Trail, mostly thanks to the survey tape one of the board members here had placed (THANK YOU). As the trail wound down through the canyon fringes, however, it was still relatively easy to follow but basically unfeasible to hike upon. The trail, mostly rough sand in texture, would frequently crumble underneath our footsteps and threaten to send us sliding 50 feet into what were essentially crevasses with dense brush hiding one's ultimate fate at the bottom; we frequently pondered some fate similar to the pack horse. It took us over 5 hours to hike around 4 miles to Lost Valley Trail; we lost a Nalgene and sleeping pad (!? I have no idea how my partner managed that, and we are both deeply regret leaving behind such traces) through the brush, and I came out, due to the immense amounts of cuts across my body, with systematic poison oak that lasted until late December, even after steroid treatment.

The Lost Valley trail junction was covered with signs of mountain lion, with enormous amounts of footprints and scat within a tenth of a mile around the junction. The signs became more sparse but still noticeable as we hiked up towards the Coastal Ridge Road; we were hoping that we might have the delightful surprise of encountering one, but the encounter never presented itself. The trail from Lost Valley junction to the Coastal Ridge Road is quite passable, aside from a few large downed trees, and had evidently been cleared up recently (again, thanks to forum members!).

In hindsight I wish I had the advice available here! Furthermore, this was my friend's first wilderness backpacking trip. I may have turned him away from this wonderful place forever, mostly thanks to this trail (and my poor planning).

Bottom line to take from this melodramatic report: avoid Marble Peak Trail east of the Lost Valley Trail junction (up until Tan Oak Camp) at all costs, the wilderness has reclaimed it.


Editors note: as the person whose previous Trail Report is mentioned by this poster (reporting impassable conditions west of Tan Oak Camp and placing the ribbons mentioned), I was certainly interested to hear that someone made their way through - I still consider it the worst bushwhacking experience I've encountered in the Ventana in terms of energy expended for distance made (and I had just a day pack). JG
David Stone

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Chad H on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:05 pm

Date Hiked: February 19, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Strawberry Camp to Willow Creek Camp:
This is a nice section of trail. There are a few spots near Camp Creek, and Shovel Handle Creek where brush is encroaching. Green and fast growing near the water, but nothing difficult. The creeks were both flowing quite well. We were happy to run into Betsy, Jacob, and Greg doing some trail maintenance just west of Willow Creek Camp. They had taken care of the issues in Betsy's report (just before this one). This was also quite welcome after the Black Cone Trail.
Thank You Betsy, Jacob, and Greg for volunteering and working some trail magic for everyone to enjoy!
Chad H


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