Highway One Closure: Due to a washout at Rat Creek, Highway 1 is closed from just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north to Big Creek Vista Point in the south. Expect this closure to be in place until late April, 2021. 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 or 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 pantilat on Mon May 13, 2019 7:45 am

Date Hiked: May 11, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This report is from China Camp Trailhead to Church Divide: Clear. Trail is clear and heavily used. Blowdowns and collapsed brush skeletons have been removed. The uneven tread through the grassy sections were much better than a month ago.

Wildflowers: The upper part of Pine Ridge Trail through the grassy sections is traditionally a "hotspot" for spring wildflowers. While there are still lots of flowers to enjoy, so far this is a below average (based on my experiences) year for flowers in the higher elevations of the Ventana, and especially the upper Pine Ridge Trail. My theory is it went from winter straight to summer bypassing spring in the higher elevations. Unusually snowy and cold conditions through mid March kept growth to a minimum and then the last six weeks have been warm and dry. The net of it is things dried out before they could get going. Late season rain (March and April) seems most important for higher elevation flowers and this spring has been dry. However, with rain in the forecast (potentially substantial) I'm wondering if the fields of lupine will be resurrected? Time will tell...

Access: Tassajara Road was recently graded (it was much needed) and it's a much smoother ride.
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:31 pm

Date Hiked: April 12, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Access: The Tassajara Road is worse for the wear after a wet and snowy winter so it's even bumpier and slower than usual, but passable. The large puddle at the LPNF boundary has dried up substantially and is no longer very deep. I hope grading this road is in the plans this spring!

Trail: From China Camp TH to Church Divide is mostly Clear with a few exceptions: (1) a few chaparral limbs succumbed to wind and/or snow weight and have fallen into the trail; (2) the tread in the grassy areas has become narrow and very uneven; and (3) vigorous brush growth post-fire is starting to encroach in a couple spots.

From Church Divide to the Black Cone Junction is Passable. There is about a dozen trees and limbs over the trail. Most of these are new from the winter storms. About half are foot+ diameter trunks. Some are easy step-overs or step throughs but a few require walking below or above the tread to get around.

From Black Cone Trail Junction to the Junction with Pine Ridge camp is Wilderness Freeway. The trail to Pine Ridge Camp is also clear except a large downed tree blocks the trail at the entrance to the campsite.
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Mackenzie L on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:55 pm

Date Hiked: March 9, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This difficult rating is only for Tassajara Road; we did not actually hike Pine Ridge as planned.

We made it within 4.8 miles of China Camp in my Forester and came upon a large, deep puddle that covered the width of the road. I attempted to drive us along the right side, since there was already some tread from tires. I felt like we got stuck about halfway over the puddle, so I put it in reverse and gunned it out of there. We decided to turn around since it was unclear if we’d be able to drive back over it the next day. A few trucks came up as we’d turned around and were probably able to go over it just fine. If you have a vehicle with more clearance than 8.5”, you’d probably be okay.

Hope to get back out there in a few weeks, if the rain lets up!
Mackenzie L
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:38 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby KilaMoon on Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:57 pm

Date Hiked: December 29, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked Pine Ridge to Pine Valley to Jack's cabin, then turning onto the Carmel River trail, following the Carmel River Trail for around 2 miles until I turned around and headed back up. Clear and beautiful the whole way with a few spots where I had to navigate around small trees that were down, but nothing too crazy and nothing impassable. Cold nights but beautiful.

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:45 pm

Date Hiked: November 18, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Conditions are largely the same as the last report from China Camp to beyond the junction with Bear Basin connector. There's a burnt step over log just after (west of) Church Divide and another log (~1 ft diameter) just before the Carmel River headwaters. Just after Divide Camp the crown of a small blown over oak is over the trail (a couple cuts of primary branches ~6 inch diameter should clear it out).

There is still seeping water in the Woodwardia Ferns above Divide Camp, but a good flow of clear, cold water is found at the Carmel River Headwaters, a reliable water source.

Ceanothus shoots and some scrub oak are filling in very quickly along a few spots of the trail between China Camp and Church Divide. Another reminder just how quickly the brush returns after a fire. Spots that were bare earth between brush skeletons last year are already filling in quickly. This rapid growth is already starting to encroach on the trail in a few sections, however it's not enough to lower the rating yet.
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby David Hirsch on Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:40 pm

Date Hiked: October 30, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Pine Ridge Trail from the Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge Camp is mostly clear with the exception of a few step-over/under logs. From the Pine Ridge Camp turn-off to the Big Sur Trail intersection, the trail is difficult to impassable (heavily overgrown, plenty of rough, slumped tread, and frequent deadfall) but it is flagged and can be followed.
David Hirsch

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Jana N on Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:50 am

Date Hiked: September 1, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Backpacked into Pine Valley from China Camp, the trail to Pine Valley was great, from Church Creek divide to Pine Valley there was a good mile stretch of head high grass and brush encroaching in the trail, but still very passable and the trail was easy follow.

I did not see any snakes, and only was bitten twice by bugs. There were face flies, but not many biting bugs out, granted I did wear bug spray. I also did not get any ticks.

There was water down at the creek in Pine Valley, enough to be able to filter plenty of drinking water. DO NOT FORGET YOUR WATER FILTER if you are staying the night, and it's good to have even just for a day hike into Pine Valley. I passed a woman on my way out that had gotten heat stroke, and needed water, she had a very difficult time getting out, it took her 7 hours.

There was a lot of traffic in Pine Valley, I saw about 12-15 people, mostly all that were camping in Pine Valley. My friend who hiked in on 9/2/18 passed 10 people on her way into Pine Valley.

This is a great trail, but I do want to emphasize that the trail is very steep, rugged, and unforgiving. The entire trail is either an incline or a decline, and very steep most of the time. If you don't hike often, or are not fit/strong physically, I would not recommend this trail.

I want to send a big Thank You to the Ventana Wilderness Alliance for all of the hard work on the trail, you've done an excellent job, and it is very much appreciated. Without your efforts, many of the trails would disappear, so I sincerely Thank You for the continued work in the Ventana Wilderness.

Happy Trails!!!
Jana N

Found retainer!!

Postby Megan Sebay on Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:37 am

Date Hiked: May 9, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Hey, Birdsong - I think I found the retainer you were looking for! It was on the grass at the creekside camp. Can I text or email you a photo to confirm it's the one you're missing and that it's in good enough condition before I mail it? My email is meganesebay@gmail.

As for the trail, it's looking great all the way to Pine Ridge. I've never seen anything like it in Ventana :)
Megan Sebay

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby edormody on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Date Hiked: June 3, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Backpacked Pine Ridge to Church Creek Divide into Pine Valley for an overnight. The trail is wide open to Church Creek Divide then chest-high grass into Pine Valley. There was a new hatch of Deerflies which combined with the 90+ Degree heat made the hike out not much fun so the best hiking is at 1st daylight.
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:44 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue May 29, 2018 11:19 am

Date Hiked: May 27, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Enjoyed the work of recent trail crews all the way to Pine Ridge Camp. What used to be brushy as of a few weeks ago is now wilderness freeway from the Bear Basin Connector all the way to Pine Ridge Camp. One can now enjoy the spectacular views into Bear Basin and toward Ventana Double Cone throughout this entire section, and then once over Pine Ridge there are excellent views of the Big Sur River watershed. With the completion of recent trail work, it's Wilderness Freeway for 7.5 miles from China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp. Water is flowing at the Divide Camp, the headwaters of Carmel River and at Pine Ridge Camp Spring. Ceanothus is currently in full and prolific bloom and sections of the wide brush tunnel are completely white with strong flower fragrance.
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm


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