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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated April 26, 2021

Highway One is Open. The washout at Rat Creek has been repaired and the highway is open throughout Big Sur. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road -- which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge -- is significantly damaged and will be closed indefinitely. 

What's Open: NEW: The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp IS OPEN effective April 13, 2021. 

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness trails inland can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) and from Tassajara Road off of Carmel Valley Road). Along the coast, Wilderness trails may be accessed via the Pine Ridge Trail at Big Sur Station, the North Coast Ridge Road, the Boronda Trail, and the De Angulo Trail on Highway One.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are open. 

What's Closed: Click here for a map that shows the current fire closure boundaries

Road Closures: Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Cone Peak, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge Roads remain closed.

Know Before You Go: Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever. 

Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and stoves are currently permitted in the backcountry. Click here for a permit and take it with you

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 
Open for day use: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve

 

Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Pine Ridge Trail

Pine Ridge Trail

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue May 04, 2021 10:33 pm

Date Hiked: May 2, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

SECTION: Big Sur Trail Junction to Pine Ridge Camp Trail Junction

As reported by others, the section between the Big Sur Trail junction (.8 miles above Redwood Camp) and the Pine Ridge Camp Trail junction is super brushy. Not so brushy that you could lose the trail. But enough that you really have to focus on watching where you are going, pushing brush out of the way, and watching your step so you don't trip on low branches. I day-hiked this section and it was annoying. With a backpack it would be even more so. When you reach the end of the brush, it is amazing how much easier it is to walk on open trail with good tread.

There is a good bit of tread slump in the lower sections, caused by chamise, scrub oak, and other chaparral species growing on the uphill side of the trail, making hikers step off on the downhill side and eroding the tread.

In the upper sections, manzanita bushes growing in on both sides make the trail corridor tight. Someone has been working on the upper sections of the trail which has really kept it from being completely impassible. There are also quite a few stretches up top where the trail has wandered from its original (straight) route. Watch for clipped brush to find the trail.

For a while in the middle, more rocky section, the trail remains fairly open, with good tread and not so much brush.
20210502_144546.jpg
You can see the work that went into construction of this beautiful rock wall (right side of photo).
20210502_084615.jpg
There was lots of creeping sage on the middle, more open part, of this section, with beautiful fragrant flowers.
20210502_134038.jpg

Note 1: If you are hiking up this section, watch for the switchbacks. After a long straightaway above the Big Sur Trail junction, hikers have been continuing straight at the first switchback. I tried to pile chamise clippings to block the wrong route. The sticks laid across the trail here were not doing the job, as a pretty good trail had been established continuing straight at this switchback. Then at the next switchback, there are some odd jogs in the trail. Just watch to make sure you are staying on what looks like tread and you should be fine.

Note 2: The trail clearing coming up from Redwood Camp reached about a half mile above the junction with the Big Sur Trail. After that it is 2 miles of brush before the trail opens up again on Pine Ridge.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby PDunn on Sun May 02, 2021 12:15 pm

Date Hiked: May 1, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Started at China Camp:
After the first few hundred yards of clear trail the bushes closed in again. Very brushy but worth the effort to enjoy the lupines and poppies.

IMG_2834.JPG
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby sfrake on Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:28 pm

Date Hiked: April 14, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My son and I hiked the length of the trail from China Camp to Big Sur Station. The section from China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp is described well in the previous posts. From there, for about 2.5 miles, it is very brushy, with poison oak to dodge at times. I would rate it passable, but pushing through growth for that long becomes a bit of a chore (fortunately the incredible views are distracting). Then, maybe 1/4 mile above the Big Sur Trail junction, the trail opens up and is wonderfully clear, the result of recent trail work. It remains so the rest of the way to Big Sur. This is indicated on Jack Glendening's map so is not news (though I suppose the green section on his map could extend just a bit north/west of the Big Sur Trail junction). I can't thank enough those who worked so hard to clear and repair the western portion of the trail.

I should note that the re-route at Barlow Camp was confusing for us; when we reached the creek there wasn't an obvious trail on the other side. We crossed where it looked like the trail continued and indeed it did, so it wasn't a big deal, but for a moment we were flummoxed. If you're traveling east there is detailed signage of the re-route so this isn't an issue, and then on the return you'd of course have experience. So this only applies to anyone heading west on the re-route for the first time.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby BP22 on Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:18 pm

Date Hiked: April 15, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

so nice to have the this wilderness playground back from BSS to Sykes. the trail is immaculate, so many thank you's to trail crew. The Terrace Creek Trail also looks great. The slide re-route through Barlow Flat is very nice and gives us two river crossings. I only saw like 5 other hikers and nobody at Sykes, NO TRASH. Not missing those hot springs. Very enjoyable hike.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:50 pm

Date Hiked: April 12, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I did an in-and-out from China Camp to Pine Valley on April 12, 13, and 14. On the layover day I day hiked. This report draws from all three days. I did various parts in various directions but I’ll describe all from east to west.

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide Junction – Clear

Most of this trail is wide open, some of Wilderness Freeway quality. There are a few places where the brush is lapping over the trail and a very few places where it’s come in from both sides and you have to swish through. The trail bed is in pretty good shape, with a few sloped or rocky spots here and there.

Section: Church Creek Divide Junction to Black Cone Trail Junction – Passable

This is more interesting. The gloss is that this is brushier than the first section, and there are numerous deadfalls, but most are easily managed. There are large stretches of open trail.

But George Graybill’s April 1, 2021 report was spot-on in using the word “awful” for the bit just west of the Church Creek Divide Junction. The half mile from there to Divide Camp has three messy obstacles. First (heading west from the Church Creek saddle), a piece of hillside trail above a small stream bed has partly washed out. There’s now big drop on one side. You can stay safe but have to move over into the brush to do so. Second, there’s deadfall that came straight down on the length of the trail so there’s 50-100 feet of stepping over various branches. It’s quite a log pile. No one step is all that hard, but there are lots of them. Finally, there’s a big deadfall that completely blocks the trail in an area that mixes open and denser brush. Even with just a day pack, I decided climbing over/through the mess wasn’t a good option and detoured. The go-around was slow, annoying, and longer than expected to find a workable way back to the trail. All three of these were within maybe a quarter mile. The rest of way still has the occasional brushy spot and lots of deadfalls, but almost all of the latter were simple step-overs or duck-unders. On one, a four foot log, I did have to climb up, scooch over the top, then slide down the other side. But I recall only one of those.

I walked down to Divide Camp. There’s one simple main camp with a fire ring and some sitting logs plus a lower, much less used camp, with a few pieces of an old icemaker stove. Water is limited. There is a trickle in the Woodwardia ferns above the main camp, but none lower down. On the other hand, back up on the Pine Ridge Trail, there a better rill a few hundred feet east of the Divide Camp Trail junction. There’s also muddy water about the same distance west where the gully feeding the water-and-woodwardia mix in camp crosses the trail above. If worst comes to worst, the small stream half a mile or so west of Divide Camp on the Pine Ridge Trail was running well.

On my dayhike day, I actually went a short distance west from the Black Cone Trail junction, but not quite all the way to the Pine Ridge Camp junction. All clear there.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby George Graybill on Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:06 pm

Date Hiked: March 26, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Beginning at Tassajara Road the trail changes from very good to awful at Church Creek Divide. Tread is fairly good, but there is a lot of brush and deadfalls. Passable but annoying. I only went as far as Divide Camp, where I spent the night.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby rcmd8418 on Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:31 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked the Pine Ridge Trail between China Camp and the Church Creek Divide (on the way to Pine Valley). The trail was extremely easy to follow, but there are several spots that you have to push through brushy overgrowth. However, we didn't see any poison oak on/around the trail.

Tassajara Road was passable. We took a Jeep given the road reports, which was helpful because it had rained and was muddy in the morning. The deep ruts are avoidable, and the Honda and Chevy 2WD sedans parked next to the Jeep the following day when we hiked out show that you don't necessarily need a 4WD SUV if you're experience and careful.
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Re: Upper Pine Ridge Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:45 am

Date Hiked: February 28, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: PARTIALLY OPEN, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is partially open per Forest Order 05-07-51-21-02
Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.

Description:

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has partially reopened, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare opening other parts of the closed forest and are continuing their regular patrols. Today volunteer Rangers returned to the Upper Pine Ridge Trail to remove the two downed logs in the first mile of trail, they then continued to the Miller Canyon Trail to remove 5 logs right at the junction.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Tassajara Road. - Lots of ruts and mud. High clearance, 4x4 and experience to reach the camp.

China Camp to Pine Valley Camp - Passable, a large Oak Crown near mile 5.5. Encroaching brush can be found all along the trail.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
Attachments
Upper Pine Ridge Trail Saw Cut 2-28-2021.jpg
A log being sawed by volunteer rangers.
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Re: Upper Pine Ridge Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:21 pm

Date Hiked: February 21, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: PARTIALLY OPEN, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is partially open per Forest Order 05-07-51-21-02
Current Fire Restrictions: Campfires and Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.

Description:

The Monterey Ranger District Forest has partially reopened, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare opening other parts of the closed forest and are continuing their regular patrols. Today volunteer Rangers patrolled from Tassajara Road(China Camp) to Pine Valley Camp. They cleared several small trees, did spot brushing, checked Pine Valley Camp for smoldering fires and trash. They also repaired a small slide found along the trail.

Trail conditions are as follows:


Tassajara Road. - Lots of ruts, mud and some snow. High clearance, 4x4 and experience to reach the camp.

China Camp to Pine Valley Camp - Passable, two trees down (12 " and 20") within the first mile. A large Oak Crown near mile 5.5. Encroaching brush can be found all along the trail

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
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Re: Upper Pine Ridge Trail

Postby VWA_Ranger on Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:10 am

Date Hiked: November 29, 2020
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

*** VWA/USFS Volunteer Ranger/Trail Crew Report ***

Forest/Trail Status: CLOSED, Los Padres Monterey Ranger District is closed per Forest Order 05-07-51-20-22
Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires, No Stoves in backcountry. Cold Camping Only.

Description:

With the Monterey Ranger District Forest still closed, VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers continue to prepare for its reopening. Today volunteer Rangers went back to the Upper Pine Ridge Trail to clear the two logs reported by other Rangers two days earlier near China Camp. They removed the two trees and did some brushing along the trail.

Trail conditions are as follows:


China Camp to Carmel River Jct. - Clear with encroaching brush.

Carmel River Jct. to Divide Camp - Passable is passable with heavy encroaching brush is places.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: This report is for informational purposes only. Trail conditions may change at any time. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance assumes no liability for the use of this information.
The Los Padres National Forest Website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf/
To learn more about the Volunteer VWA/USFS Ranger and Trail Crew Programs visit https://www.ventanawild.org/stewardship.
Attachments
Pine Ridge Tr_08_small.jpg
Setting up to cut a log across the trail.
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