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Mount Carmel Trail

Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby ZacharyRD on Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:38 pm

Date Hiked: November 24, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Date Hiked: November 23rd and November 24th, 2012.
[Ed. note- this trail report covers the Skinner Ridge, Big Pines AND Moutn Carmel Trails]

The trail from Bottcher's Gap [Ed. note- Skinner Ridge Trail] to Mt. Carmel is in surprisingly great condition, especially since while it's on the Wilderness Press map, it's not on the map posted at the Bottcher's Gap Trailhead.

From the trailhead:
The first intersection on the map, a T intersection at Turner Creek Trailhead [Ed. note- Skinner Ridge Trail to the west, Big Pines Trail to the east], has a signpost and is very clear. The second intersection -- the trail up to Devil's Peak and Mt. Carmel -- looks more like a 4-way intersection, due to a false trail. From there, no poison oak, no brambles, well cleared trail all the way to Mt. Carmel. No major confusion, or navigation difficulties. There's some wonderful campsites at the peak of Mt. Carmel as well. There is an improved trail going past Mt. Carmel as well, that's not nearly as easy to find, but still doable if you want; we went as far as 36°23'42.3" -121°48'7.6". (To find the trail past Mt. Carmel, look for the cut down trees, each about two inches diameter). It would not surprise me if you can connect all the way down to the road near those coordinates, but I have no verification of that, nor can I recommend the trail past Mt. Carmel to people who don't want a challenge -- from that point, it's Passable to Difficult. I was carrying a bush knife / machete, and did minor brush clearing when it was a bit narrow as we went. A stunningly beautiful trail.

No visible water on the trail anywhere as of this posting, but several signs that by spring there will be. I also posted more details here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1050 . I will try to update this with a GPS track later on, for those who find it useful.

(Ed. note - use of a machete sounds like it would be a fast and efficient way to clear the trail. Many of us have thought of this. But in practice, a machete sharp enough to cut through the woody brush in the Ventana is also sharp enough to cut through your legs and cause some really bad injuries. Some of us have some serious scars to show for it. And essentially, cutting through the soft brush alone is a very temporary way to clear the trail. The cut stems dry out and become sharp pokers. Come on a VWA work trip and learn some safer ways to clear the trail.)
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:25 pm

Date Hiked: November 12, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail is actually a bit better than passable. In fact, it's in better condition than it's been in years. There are a few deadfalls, but they are very easy to get over or around. The brush has been cut back to the point where it's no longer necessary to push through it, although you will still make some minor contact with it. Unlike in the past, you can now walk this trail in shorts without getting scratched. Was surprised to find snow on the trail near the top.
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby MtCarmelHiker on Mon May 16, 2011 9:02 am

Date Hiked: May 15, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Three inches of snow atop Mt. Carmel in May! The snow-covered brush was encroaching on the trail making progress very chilly. Without wet or snowy conditions this trail would be "Passable" but under the conditions of the day it wasn't easy going. I struggled pulling the camera out of my backpack because my fingers were very cold. I ended up getting no photos because I had forgotton my reading glasses and was thus unable to remove unwanted old photos from the stupid camera... Enroute back to Bottchers, I did not stop along the way because I was trying to get warm. When I returned to Bottchers, I still had a small ball of snow clinging to the top of the backpack.
This is a nice hike with some good views along the way. There is an alternate route from Bottchers to Skinner ridge which leaves the Bottchers campground at uppermost parking-lot camp-site. That route has the best views of the Double Cone-Ventana Window area.
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby Dan Gearhart on Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:04 pm

Date Hiked: March 11, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Date Hiked: March 11, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

See report of March 11, 2011 for the conditions from Bottchers Gap to Devils Peak. (Skinner Ridge Trail) From Devils Peak to Mount Carmel the trail is faint in places but generally easily to follow. Just past Devils Peak, there are about three dead falls that must be crossed over before before entering the brushy area. With a little determination, we were actually able to clear one completely off the trail. Spent a lot of time trying to clear encroaching brush especially the branches sticking out at eye level. Always wear some type of eye protection in this area. Made it to the summit without much difficulty. The only view available is by climbing on top of rock to look over the brush. If you're tall enough, the view to the North is worth the effort. Maybe someday a clearing can be created since the area in front of the rock is only about 100 square feet. This would give the climber more of a sense that they actually reached a summit rather than just a small opening in the brush next to a rock.
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby jdoelman on Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:53 am

Date Hiked: December 11, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The views are being encroached on by the brush.
After going to the summit, we continued along the ridgeline via an obvious and passable trail towards Twin Peak. This part of the trail tunnels through dense brush as it follows a defunct jeep road. Several nice rock outcroppings are encountered along the way, these provide rare opportunities to view out from under the brush. After 1.5 miles or so, the trail arrives at a former Marijuana operation. There is a lot of evidence of brush-clearing and holes where MJ had been. Other than the brush clearing, there is none of the typical marijuana growers trash to be found. No irrigation tubing, no fertilizer bottles, nothing to speak of in the way of trash. Apparently this was operated by Eco-friendly pot-growers. The trail continued on further toward twin peak, presumably going all the way to the the newly constructed house there.

The Twin-peak-Mt. Carmel ridgeline traverses through some particularly dense brush and some other interesting forested environs.
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Sun May 09, 2010 12:52 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Manzanita, scrub oak and ceanothus (currently heavily flowering) are encroaching, but heavy use is keeping the trail open and the tread obvious. The summit register is filling up fast and, as I returned to Devil's Peak, I passed three separate groups heading for the summit.
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Re: Mount Carmel Trail

Postby riatch on Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: April 7, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

A friend and I hiked to Mt. Carmel on a beautiful Spring day. The trail is very passable with some encroaching manzanita as you get nearer to the summit. We saw a few small patches of snow. There is an olive jar summit register next to the rocks at the "peak." From atop the rocks we could see across the Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz.
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Mount Carmel Trail

Postby mikesplain on Thu May 28, 2009 4:41 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2009
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Reported by Carl Mounteer:

I only hiked about 100 yards of this trail off the Skinner Ridge Trail. At that point the trail stopped abruptly and was completely overgrown. About 100 feet beyond that was a huge oaken deadfall completely blocking the trail.
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Trail Conditions History 2001-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:43 am

Date Hiked: March 16, 2008
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Dan Gearhart
Survey date: 16-MARCH-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail was covered in snow and very narrow through the brush. Long sleeve shirts or jackets and long pants will make this part of the trail less painful. We brought clippers and a folding saw and trimmed what we could along the way.

We knew we reached the summit when we came across the large rock next to the remains of the old utility pole. Not much left of the old pole that is now nearly covered by the brush. Great views from the summit but they can only be seen by standing on top of the rock. About 40 degrees or less and windy on the summit but but well worth the effort.
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Conditions reported by: David Goode
Survey date: 4-AUGUST-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail is fine until Skinner Ridge. After that there is a steep 280 ft drop to the saddle below Devil's Peak. At one point near the top of this drop the trail takes a sharp right turn and seems to disappear into thick brush. However, the trail is merely obscured and one only needs to brush-bash for about 20 yards or so before the trail becomes clear again. There is an apparent detour to the right around this thick brush but it actually quickly leads nowhere.

You'll also encounter thick brush near the summit of Mt Carmel and for the first 0.5 mile or so of the climb up to Devil's Peak. As well there was a lot poison oak, especially along the first mile or so of the trail and during the descent into the saddle below Devil's Peak.
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Conditions reported by: Carl A. Mounteer
Survey date: 27-JANUARY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The first third of this trail to Mt. Carmel is a "wilderness freeway". When you enter the manzanita brush for the last 2/3 of the ascent the trail becomes very brushy but easily passable with the tread well-defined.

The downed tree mentioned in the previous trail report that covers a reported approximate 40' of the trail is still there. But a new and easily negotiable detour has developed around it.
===========
Conditions reported by: Steven Waggoner
Survey date: 28-AUG-2004
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Ventana Double Cone trail jct. to Mt. Carmel

Though unmarked off of Skinner Ridge Trail, someone has placed a stack of three rocks at the Junction to this 0.8 mile trail. Though that typically means not to pass, I believe this was ones method of marking Mt. Carmel Trail. After the left onto the trail, about 60 yds back there is a small fork. To the right is an area that appears to have been camped in, but would make a good picnic area.

Heading on up the trail a short distance is a fallen tree that obstructs about 20 to 40 ft of the trail. A short but unstable trail goes around this impass. There is another tree or two across the path, but nothing to worry about.

The trail eventually ventures into some undesirable underbrush that could leave quite a collection of welts on the shorts clad hiker. It looks like one came through and cleared some of the brush before the growing season, but it is all back now.

The views at the top are obscured by the oaks, and the old telephone pole has rotted away having seen better days. With a careful climb of the rock, you can have 360 degree viewing for miles!

I recommend taking some shears at least to clear some of the trail. I didn't happen to have mine with me.
===========
Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 13-MAR-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Double Cone Trail to Mt. Carmel

I crashed through this short but brushy route in hopes of a fine view and was not disappointed! From the interesting granite outcrop on the summit, the Santa Cruz, Mount Hamilton, Diablo, Gabilan, Sierra De Salinas and northern Santa Lucias ranges are all laid out in a 360 panorama, with the Pacific ocean and Monterey Bay to the west and north, respectively.

A scrub variety of Canyon Live Oak and massive amounts of Ceanothus basically enveloped most of the trail, but since the tread is in such good shape a few hours with clippers on the way back down rendered it very passable, perhaps even "clear".

I urge folks to get out on this trail - a little snipping and sawing are all that's needed to keep this very worthy route open.

Maybe someday we can build a link to Palo Corona Ranch...
===========
Conditions reported by: Matt Dally
Survey date: 19-APRIL-2003
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

While you aren't in any danger of getting lost, you'll have to do some major bushwhacking as soon as you start going up. Following the eastward trail from Devil's Peak, you'll come to a fork, where you take the left trail, and again the left trail when it branches a little afterward. I personally recommend that you have your arms and legs covered for this, and maybe even your head, because you'll be plowing through a whole lot of brush on the way. After following this seemingly endless maze for about half an hour, you'll come to a small clearing with a shattered telephone pole and a boulder pile. I suppose that you were originally supposed to climb up the telephone pole in order to see anything, but in lieu of that, you can still get a great view from atop the rocks. It's a stellar side hike for anyone who doesn't mind getting slapped around a bit by all the overgrowth.
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Conditions reported by: Jonathan Dirrenberger
Survey date: 21-APRIL-2001
General: CLEAR to PASSABLE
Specific:

The trailhead to Mount Carmel is just past the second summit of Devil's Peak where the trail forks. There is no sign for it, but you can easily see Mount Carmel (a round and rather uninteresting looking peak just to the north), so it's impossible to miss. At the beginning of the trail where you briefly descend to the saddle, a few major trees have fallen, but you can easily negotiate around them. Otherwise the trail is clear until you start the ascent. Once you start the relatively mild climb, you have to wear long pants and a long shirt unless you want to get scratched up with the thick and stiff brush that encroaches over the trail. The trail is very visible (ie, don't worry about losing it), but extremely overgrown, so be prepared for a little bushwhacking. It's only about a 20-30 minute uphill hike to the summit of Mount Carmel, even though you have to push through brush most of the time. At the top, the telephone pole that I had heard so much about is unusable. It is leaning over with brush growing all around it, and it has been split in half (with the other half long gone). So the views are magnificent and well worth the extra 30-minute detour, but you have to climb on top of a small pile of boulders to see anything.
===========
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Mount Carmel Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:42 am

* USFS Trail #1E04
* Parking: Bottchers Gap ($5/day)
* Watershed: Turner Creek
* Junctions: Ventana Double Cone Trail
* Connects: Ventana Double Cone Trail at Devils Peak with Mt Carmel Summit
* Camps: None
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