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 jjjjeremy on Tue May 29, 2018 9:28 am

Date Hiked: May 28, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Trail is park-quality between China Camp/Tassajara Dirt Road to Pine Valley Trail. No GPS needed, complete wilderness freeway.

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sat May 12, 2018 2:24 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp

I hiked from China Camp to the Church Creek Divide on the 6th, then from the Divide to Pine Ridge Camp on the 7th.

The ACE trail crew was just finishing up as I went through. The entire length of this section is now either Wilderness Freeway or Clear. Where they worked to clear brush and smooth the trailbed, it’s Freeway. Where they thought the existing path was good enough, it’s a narrower, slightly more irregular, Clear trail. About the only quibble I could offer is that there is a fair amount of angled trailbed, even on newly worked sections. The crew was working residual trailbed issues on 7th as I went by, but I don’t think they have the weeks to clean up all. (And given limited time, making a wide, brush-free swath was the right priority.) There’s a bit of slumping in spots on the Clear sections too.

The trail crew worked the lateral to Pine Ridge Camp. It’s a little slice of Wilderness Freeway.

Nice to meet Betsy on the trail on the 6th.

The burned sections have *lots* of wildflowers. On the first ascent from the trailhead, I was a surprised by the sheets and sheets of miner’s lettuce, with their little white flowers, carpeting the ground. Over the first rise there are a few large patches of Eastwood's baby blue eyes (Nemophila pulchella). It's a little more purple than the ordinary baby blue eyes (N. menziesii). And it's named for Alice, not Clint. But the biggest show came a little farther on: fields of lupines (mostly Lupinus bicolor), in burned-out chaparral, mixed variously with linanthus, popcorn flower, gilia, and chia. The section from Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge Camp burned less and was less flowery.

The rattlesnakes were out. I had to detour around one on 6th and had one slither away, after a brief stand-off, on the 7th.
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Jim Ringland
Posts: 118
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Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby BirdSong on Mon May 07, 2018 3:38 pm

Date Hiked: May 4, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Beautiful trip from China Camp to Pine Valley. MINIMAL poison oak on the trail which was a relief to me. Minor spots of encroaching brush but basically the best conditions overall I've seen in years. Lots of water, green grass, lupine in bloom. Nothing to fear but watch out for rattlers, a few were reported to us by fellow hikers. ENJOY

***One note: one of our party lost an expensive dental appliance/retainer at the creekside camp closest to Jack English's cabin gate. It is clear plastic and was left on the grass. If found please send to [MG, 243A 4th Ave, SF, CA 94118] --- $50 REWARD!!!*** Thanks.

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Tom N on Sat May 05, 2018 8:22 pm

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

Hike the Pine Ridge trail from Black Cone trail junction to China Camp as part of a loop. Recent trail work was completed up to a point west of the junction with Black Cone trail. This has made it clear with no encroaching brush and decent tread between the Black Cone junction and China Camp. There was water a three spots between Bear Basin connector and the Church Creek/Pine Valley divide. Thanks to all the volunteer workers and donations that made it possible.
Tom N

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby williamleiter on Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:40 pm

Date Hiked: April 8, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Hiked from China Camp to the Church Divide Junction.

Trail was well-defined, easy to follow, offered beautiful views especially of the Church Creek area. No obstacles. No water on the trail between the trailhead and the junction, but easily accessible from near the junction if you go down into Church Creek or Pine Valley.

Did not explore past the junction.
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:09 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:08 pm

Date Hiked: April 1, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From China Camp to 1/2 mile beyond Bear Basin Connector JCT: Wilderness Freeway. Awesome stretch of clear trail.

1/2 mile beyond Bear Basin Connector JCT to trail closure at JCT with Big Sur Trail: Passable to Difficult. Current and upcoming trail crews are working this section toward Pine Ridge Camp so it's becoming more pleasant as I submit this report. However, whatever section has not been worked on yet will be brushy with sections of eroded trail. The brush continuous down from Pine Ridge Camp for a couple miles before it transitions to a burnt zone with post-fire regrowth. As long as the Pine Ridge Trail remains closed at the Big Sur Trail JCT, there probably won't be too many visitors beyond Pine Ridge Camp... hopefully the Redwood Camp can be reopened sooner which is a fine destination.

Pine Ridge Camp: A narrow trail cut into the brush leads to Pine Ridge Camp which is positioned on a bench with a great view down the Big Sur River drainage to the ocean. Some ponderosa pines survived the Basin Complex Fire behind the camp site. The spring NW of the camp is flowing very well. Unfortunately, merely a few feet away from the campsite I found tons of toilet paper strewn about on the ground and bushes. Please do you part to keep it clean and wild; pack out your toilet paper!

pine ridge firs.jpg
Pine Ridge grove of Santa Lucia Firs

pine ridge toilet paper 2.jpg
Awful mess in the bushes immediately behind the Pine Ridge Camp

pine ridge toilet paper1.JPG
Pack out your toilet paper!
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Tristan on Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:36 am

Date Hiked: January 13, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I went backpacking with friends starting from China Camp and trying to get to Pine Ridge via the Pine Ridge trail. The hike from China Camp to Divide was very clear, and from Divide up to the Bear Connector/Pine Ridge junction was pretty clear as well.

However, soon after the Bear Connector junction, the Pine Ridge trail gets very overgrown and is very eroded on some steep slopes. The ground was very moist and loose from rains during the previous week which made the steep slopes quite dangerous at times. We were constantly going through brush for over a mile and had to find an opening to camp as it was getting dark. I believe we ended up camping somewhere near the Pine Ridge/Black Cone Jct.

If I had to do it again, I would just go to Pine Valley from Divide and skip the hassle. Otherwise make sure that there is enough daylight to make the hike to the camp.

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:42 pm

Date Hiked: December 27, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Black Cone Trail JCT to 1/2 mile west of Bear Basin Connector JCT: Passable. Brush is thick and encroaching in sections. There is one large blowdown.

From 1/2 mile west of Bear Basin Connector JCT to Church Divide: Mostly wilderness freeway except a couple new blowdowns. The Carmel River headwaters stream is flowing and also the Divide Camp stream still has a slow flow.

From Church Divide to China Camp: Clear. Tread is becoming more defined as grasses and weeds from my last visit have been matted down by more use.
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Dmitry on Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:54 am

Date Hiked: December 20, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Although passable, I did not enjoy the trail because it rained the night before, and all the shrubs were wet. I started where the Big Sur Trail connects to the Pine Ridge trail and going up was pretty easy, grass only knee high. The tread was faint, and as the trail climbed higher it got increasingly harder to track in all the bushes. I was soaking through and through, and I don't know if it's normal for that elevation, but the wind was howling and it was cold! I had to set my tent up at the Pine Ridge campground just to warm up. After I came to I went over the summit, it got a little easier, and eventually the trail became this wilderness freeway, that I could not help but run. Ever saw a person running with a backpack like a madman? Chances are that was me, cold, wet, but alive.

If you are coming from the other direction, I guess once you cross the Ventana Double Cone there is no way to go, as the Big Sur Trail is impassable, and the Pine Ridge trail is officially closed at Redwood Camp. Signs to this effect should be posted at the China camp, because right now people have an impression that you can hike the Pine Ridge trail from China camp all the way to Big Sur. I did it, legally, but also insanely, and do not recommend it.
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Rowan Hyland on Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:04 pm

Date Hiked: December 19, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Covers the section between Church Divide and Pine Ridge Camp:

From the Church Creek Trail junction to the Bear Basin Connector Trail the Pine Ridge Trail is in fantastic shape. There was only two recently fallen trees that were easy to navigate and look to have fallen after the recent trail work on this section. Except for these recent deadfalls and tall dead grasses on some parts of the trail the majority of the trail up to the Bear Basin Connector has been cleared wide enough to drive a car through! About a 1/2 mile beyond the Bear Basin Connector the recent trail work abruptly stops and typical Ventana Wilderness trail conditions resume with defined tread under encroaching brush. Despite the some of the brushier sections for the most part the trail that traverses the backside of the South Ventana Cone is quite easy to follow, as the brush seems to have a more difficult time consuming the trail on such a rocky steep slope. The saddle above the Pine Ridge trail camp seems to have the worse overgrowth, and there are many instances where brush must be pushed through with determination. This is short lived, however, as one begins the descent down Pine Ridge the brush for the most part stays at the waist high level. The short side trail to Pine Ridge Camp is quite overgrown but doable. The spring is flowing well and the camp itself was in good shape.
Rowan Hyland


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