Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Santa Lucia Trail
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Re: Santa Lucia Trail

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:45 am
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: December 20, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This is an update on the DANGEROUS spot between Last Chance Camp and the Indians-ArroyoSeco Connector Trail reported on earlier. The tread has been widened somewhat and the dangerous section more clearly marked, so it it LESS dangerous than before if crossed carefully with feet against the rock side. But it remains dangerous, as a fall there would result in a 60 ft near-vertical drop with at best serious injury. Updated photos below.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:10 am
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: December 20, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

NOTE: though I did not hike from the northern trailhead down to Camp Cawatre Trail intersection, I've heard that the northern end of that route has been worked on by an Americorps team, and so should be in excellent condition, and the southern end has been crossed in several places by dozers lines, making trail identification more difficult.


The section south to the first creek crossing has just been worked on by an Americorps team and is in excellent "Clear" condition (slightly narrow in places, hence not a "Wilderness Freeway"), making hiking the Santa Lucia gorge a very enjoyable experience. Further south the trail crosses the creek 8 times and so becomes rocky and more difficult to follow - some cairns have been created and I flagged the crossings which were not already flagged but this section remains "Passable" to "DIfficult".

Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:39 pm
by jsisalinas
Date Hiked: April 23, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Trail is in excellent condition from Memorial Park to about 2.75 miles in. Thanks trail crews for your work. A little brushy up to the saddle at trail junction with Arroyo Seco trail, but not too bad.Brush becomes a little worse from there to the top but the the tread is easy to follow. About a dozen deadfalls but they are easy to step over. As always beautiful views of the Los Padres in every direction.

[Ed: must mean junction with Santa Lucia (Creek) Trail]

Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:14 pm
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: March 12, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)


Trail well marked by cairns and flagging. Tread generally in good shape, except for one small section of eroded tread (not dangerous) AND ONE DANGEROUS SECTION. Relatively little brush, except for poison oak encroachment.

The DANGEROUS SECTION is between the Connector intersection and Last Chance Camp (36.19399,-121.47464). A 4 foot section of tread has been eroded AND UNDERCUT, with minimum tread of 10 inches. It's stability is unknown. The upslope side is rock with no good holds. I (150 lb including daypack) passed it in both directions cautiously, with my foot against the upslope rock - but found myself wondering how much of a chance I'd taken. If it goes, there is a 57 ft (rangefinder-measured!) NEAR-VERTICAL DROP. A pick axe might be able to break up the upslope rock since it had fissures, not a monolithic slab - but it would take a lot of work. A small tree is further upslope, above the rock - a rope could be placed around it for safety.


Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:25 am
by jack_glendening
Date Hiked: July 11, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Will echo previous report for Santa Lucia Trail - except I found spur to road more passable than difficult (with daypack). Added some flagging to those creek crossings not clearly marked (though currently creek is mostly dry).


Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:48 pm
by ScottB
Date Hiked: July 1, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Note: the Difficult rating is for the Spur to Indians-Arroyo Seco Road, not the entire Santa Lucia trail to Last Chance Camp.

Hiked out of Arroyo Seco Campground from the upper parking area, taking Santa Lucia trail that tracks above gorge "road", then down to adobe and out to Last Chance Camp. The trail up until about halfway to Last Chance Camp was fine, but then some (merely) bothersome growth crept in (but some of it was poison oak, so worth paying attention). Trail was still quite reasonable down to Santa Lucia creekbed. At this point the trail was challenging to follow, in large part because the terrain was dry creek rocks and brush rather than dirt path that could be easily beaten down to show route. Plastic ties on the trees were very helpful in marking crossings, but it was still a challenge, and plenty of undergrowth to push through.

Further down the creekbed (before the fork), the trail turns right and switchbacks up the slope to the signed intersection of "Road 1"/ Last Chance Camp/ J. Serra Jct. 7/ Cawatre Tr. The spur from this intersection to the Road had a great deal of woody overhang and an abundance of poison oak, sometimes intermixed. The trail route is obvious, but the intruding shrubs really slows you down and grabs at your pack as you navigate pushing through it. At one point, no kidding, I had to get down on hand and knees to get through the small opening below the brush (the slides were too steep and/or overgrown to pass above or below the trail). Most of the trail was plagued by the overhanging growth. Definately not for someone without long pants,etc.

The views are remarkable, so it was a worthy hike, but the spur desperately needs clearing.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 5:27 pm
by gfelsman
Date Hiked: May 2, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

14 of us hiked to the summit today. It a beautiful day, not too warm. There are still plenty of flowers to found along the trail including larkspur, scarlet bugler, gentian, wooly blue curls, bush poppies and an occasional Mariposa Lilly. Be aware that there is no water along the trail at this time and depending on the temperature the flies may come out.

Trail conditions:

The first two miles are clear with no major obstacles. Thank to the VWA Volunteer Crew at the end of March.

From there to the Santa Lucia Trail Sign, Deerweed is all over the trail with lots of encroaching vegetation. The trail is easy to follow.

From the Santa Lucia Trail Sign to the saddle, a little less Deerweed, but still lots of encroaching brush. Lots of areas required some pushing through.

From the Saddle to the saddle just short of Junipero Serra. The trail is considered passable. The tread is in fair shape. On the sunny south side there is encroaching brush., but not as much as on the northern side of this ridge. We had lots of scrapes and bruises along this section. A long sleeve shirt would really help. The regrowth of vegetation from the fire is finally working its way into the trail.

Once at the second saddle the trail does clear up quite a bit. Much easier going. about 10 trees down along this section, al easy to get over. Still plenty areas of encroaching brush. The summit is beautiful as always.

I would recommend a light long sleeve shirt to pass many of these areas with less scratching.

If trail work is to be done in the future I would leave the logs alone and work on encroaching brush. The leaves on the bush are very sharp.

We all had a good time, just a bit tired by the time we reached the bottom.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:50 am
by aprilbackpacker
Date Hiked: April 5, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)


The Trail from Memorial Park to the junction with the summit trail was perfect, clear and passable.

After the junction with the summit trail is difficult to say the least. It requires forearms up in front of your face to get through head-high brush. My shirt got more than a few new holes and the poison oak and ticks are out in full. If not for the very frequent bright orange survey tape on trees the trail would not be entirely obvious. There are multiple precipitous wash outs along the upper portion. The trail unties your shoes and takes your hat off. There were remnants of someone's sleeping pad that was slowly ripped piece by piece from their pack over a few miles. They served as trail markers, like Hansel and Gretel's bread crumbs. I have been backpacking avidly for 15 years and this portion of the trail was the worst conditions I have ever seen.

Once you get to the view of Last Chance Falls the trail clears out some. However, with out the ever-present orange survey tape and rock cairns the trail, again, would not be entirely obvious. There are multiple stream crossings.

From Last Chance Camp to Arroyo Seco the trail is in good condition and is a beautiful hike along the Santa Lucia Creek.

I would not want to attempt this hike without a compass and good topographical map. At one point it would be easy to follow the wrong stream and wind up heading west instead of north. It is a short section of the trail, 4 or 5 miles, but the upper portion is so overgrown it is a game trail at best. Expect to move at under one mile per hour. I made it through, so it is technically passable.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:12 am
by runcyclegirl
Date Hiked: February 15, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked the Santa Lucia Trail (at the Adobe) to a viewpoint overlooking Last Chance Falls. Overall, the single track portion of the trail is in good condition- tread well defined with little to no obstacles. However, there are numerous small rock slides and a few sections where the tread has eroded away requiring careful foot placement. But overall, the SLT is in very good condition. The only obstruction is a down tree that requires you to climb through. It's located before the second creek crossing near Culvert Use Camp.

Brush-wise, the only encroachment of concern is PO. Some vigilence is required to avoid contact.


Tree obstruction located before second creek crossing near Culvert Use Camp

View of canyon from SLT

Last Chance Falls

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:27 am
by hunter
Date Hiked: January 31, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Last weekend, I backpacked from near the Memorial Park Campground until the summit of Junipero Serro Peak. It was an incredibly beautiful hike, and I only passed one group of people. It is a very difficult hike; the elevation gain can be painful at times. The trail is easily passable, although you will run into a lot of brush and a few deadfalls. Just wear longsleeves if you don't want to get scratched. There is a sign for water near the summit, but I talked to a hiker who said that he followed it a long way and didn't find any water. I heard water about 1 or 2 miles into the trail (4 or 5 miles from the Summit). One spot that I heard it near also harbored an enormous patch of what I'm pretty sure is poison oak. That area and a couple of other areas near the beginning of the trail are the only places that I saw poison oak. I definitely touched some of it with my pants, but it's been a week and I haven't developed poison oak yet. Make sure that you bring plenty of water for this hike. There is a campsite about 1.5 miles in, and there are 2 or 3 places to camp at the summit. I passed an enjoyable, though windy, night at the summit right near the fire lookout tower. The views through most of the hike are absolutely superb, and you can find quite a bit of solitude as well. The boulders at the base are fascinating, but they're difficult to climb because the rock is so brittle. There was no snow when I hiked. Happy trails!