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Santa Lucia Trail

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby gfelsman on Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:45 pm

gene a wrote:Date Hiked: April 9, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Just tried to follow the trail from the Indians Memorial parking lot trailhead to the summit of Junipero Serra peak. I did this route over ten years ago and the trail was in great shape - expected a cakewalk. The progressively deteriorating trail seemed to peter-out into a wall of heavy brush near the north end of the last big meadow, near the 3000' elevation, well before the switchbacks or the junction with the Santa Lucia Trail. Even before the meadow, going up, the trail was in increasingly poor condition due to disappearing tread and overgrowth. No flagging. There were no trail signs. Had to turn back. I had the two 1:24000 usgs maps that cover the area, but not have Jack Glendening's e-map or a gps. Any tips on how to negotiate this trail would be appreciated. Thanks!


Note: The hiker here took a wrong turn before the bull dozer, thus his description of the trail is inaccurate. He went up the wrong canyon
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby gene a on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:32 pm

Date Hiked: April 9, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Just tried to follow the trail from the Indians Memorial parking lot trailhead to the summit of Junipero Serra peak. I did this route over ten years ago and the trail was in great shape - expected a cakewalk. The progressively deteriorating trail seemed to peter-out into a wall of heavy brush near the north end of the last big meadow, near the 3000' elevation, well before the switchbacks or the junction with the Santa Lucia Trail. Even before the meadow, going up, the trail was in increasingly poor condition due to disappearing tread and overgrowth. No flagging. There were no trail signs. Had to turn back. I had the two 1:24000 usgs maps that cover the area, but not have Jack Glendening's e-map or a gps. Any tips on how to negotiate this trail would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Elliott Robinson on Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:39 pm

Date Hiked: February 15, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Wow, a completely different experience from years past. Don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved. From Arroyo Seco Campground to the summit trail it was all mellow, if I ducked to get under a fallen tree, it was only once or twice. Past Bluff Camp, where the route finding was always interesting, there are lots of tags and no crawling or fighting through brush. Here's a nice before and after shot:

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Before

P2150113.JPG
After


There were only a couple of spots on the contour around 4,000' where the trail was a bit eroded and there were a couple of short sections with enough brush to give a hint of the effort it used to take. The rest of the trail to the summit and down to Memorial Park Campground seemed fine as always. Kept going over Cone Peak and ran into Mike Heard at Vicente Flat who said that the brush clearing wasn't VWA sponsored - kind of glad because there are way to many tags hanging in the trees, but between the tags and the lopping it all made for easy travel. OK time for another VWA donation.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trail (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby jack_glendening on Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:38 pm

Date Hiked: August 17, 2013
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

FOR THE SECTION FROM THE NORTHERN TRAILHEAD (Arroyo Seco) TO FIRST SANTA LUCIA CREEK CROSSING (just past adobe)

Being a trail which I don't think many use (as most use the ArroyoSeco-Indians Road - likely many don't even know this trail exists above the road), I was very surprised to find this a "wilderness freeway"! [Much better than some sections of the Pine Ridge Trail I've recently hiked.] Especially notable was the trimming of the poison oak from the border of the trail. A pleasure to hike and peer into the Arroyo Seco gorge below.
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Carmel831 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:53 am

Date Hiked: July 20, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Trail was in good condition. Glad I got started at 6am. Heat really hit me on the decent. It was 95 degrees when I reached my car. I had to cross 2 or 3 large trees on the upper switch backs. Nothing major and were easy to get across. Saw a bobcat in the morning on the valley floor. In certain spots you had to put your head down and get through the over grown bushes. Only pulled three ticks off of me. Overall a great hike.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby jpdoelman on Fri May 10, 2013 3:50 pm

Date Hiked: May 5, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From Memorial Park to JSP spur trail, clear.
From JSP spur trail to the waterfall in Santa Lucia Creek area is difficult. Sometimes no tread. Navigation is by following cairns along portions of the trail (no tread). Route finding can be difficult, it needs some flagging.

The good news is dispite the above issues the trail is in better condition than years past. It should not take 14 hours (as reported by Elliot Robinson). We walked at a leisurely pace and arrived in Arroyo Seco after 11 hours of walking.

Water near last chance camp and Roosevelt creek and in between at the "Bluff use-camp".
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby RSIBryce on Mon May 06, 2013 4:51 pm

Date Hiked: May 5, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Beginning at the Santa Lucia Memorial Campground to the Pimkolam Summit

On a rare cool cloudy day yesterday we left at 7 am for the Pimkolam Summit from the Memorial Campground and found the trail to be in good condition, clear all the way to the summit. Recent trail work further up the trail the last mile or two is evident, many fallen logs across the trail have been cleared. The first creek crossing a was dry, the second had just enough trickle to top off our bottles before we begun the long climb up once leaving the creek valley. encroaching brush exists and old dead branches to duck under the first few miles after the Indian meadows along the climb toward the ridge, but nothing that slows you down too much. The trail can be narrow with brush, and with the cloud condensation blowing heavy, I picked up a lot of wetness from the plants. A sizeable group with the 'Monterey Hiker's Meetup' were also hiking to the summit that day. It was cold and windy on top, and quite exhilarating to be inside the whirling moisture of the clouds at 5,857 ft. It wasn't quite raining when we were there around 10am, but wet. The temps seemed to be in the low 40s granted how quickly my fingers were going numb without gloves. We found three campsite fire rings up there. What a great hike, it was my third summit and a memorable one, inspiring to see others going for the top as well. Once you hit the sugar pines, you know you're getting close.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Spur to Arroyo Seco-Indians Road)

Postby Betsy M on Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:48 pm

Date Hiked: March 9, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

A VWA Trail Crew, with help from Cal Poly students, worked on the spur trail, clearing all the logs and doing minor brushing. The spur from the junction where the sign points to Last Chance Camp is clear. There are still a few issues with brush in this section, but nothing serious.
DSCN0589.JPG
DSCN0585.JPG
DSCN0590.JPG
DSCN0569.JPG
Sign at the junction
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Re: Santa Lucia Trail (Arroyo Seco Side)

Postby mikesplain on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:34 pm

Date Hiked: March 4, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section- Camp Cawatre / Adobe to Santa Lucia Trail / Arroyo Seco-Indians Road Cutoff junction-
Passable, well-signed and easily followed except where the trail follows the creek bed (ample flagging there so you won't get lost);
I counted eight crossings, 1 large tree and 3 small trees down, not another human soul on the trail that day.
Not too brushy, but a good bit of off-camber and collapsed tread that could use a little work.
THANKS to the VWA Trail Crew's efforts on the first mile or so- a major improvement to the last time I hiked here.
Poison oak is unavoidable and I counted 3 species of ticks, which were fairly abundant in cool, moist north and east-facing pockets.
Lots of flowers already in bloom- annuals like Nemophila, Dodecatheon, Trichelostemma, Castilleja, Cardamine, Saxifraga, plus 2 species of Ceanothus- C. oliganthus and (I think) C. leucodermis.

Section- Cutoff junction to Last Chance Camp-
Passable, almost "clear", but lots of encroashing poison oak and a boggy stretch just before the camp that could use a few stepping stones;
Last Chance is a fine camp in a lovely meadow alongside SL Creek- you'd probably have the place to yourself any time of the year.
Again, not another human to be seen on this day.
Claytonia, Calandrina and many others in bloom throughout the area, trail appears to be well-flagged upstream, but I didn't go very far beyond the camp.

The cutoff trail back to Arroyo Seco-Indians Road would also rank passable, but it appears to have been poorly brushed somewhat recently, so watch for overhanging and protruding branches that could easily poke an arm, leg or eye.
LOTS of ticks encountered on this mostly shady stretch, and a large recently fallen coast live oak near the top makes for very difficult passage- above seemed easier than below.
Again, no other humans encountered.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trail only

Postby orfalecchio on Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:54 pm

Date Hiked: December 30, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

My plan was to make a daytrip on Santa Lucia Trail up south as far as I could get in one day (including return). At Arroyo Seco parking, a couple told me about a slide from 2011 somewhere on this trail rendering it impassable and that it was closed at the intersection west below Junipero Serra Peak. I took Arroyo Seco Road until the cut-off at P. 1050 (Wilderness Press map) to the adobe hut at Santa Lucia Creek. So far so good. The trailhead beyond the ford was easy to find. The trail climbs out of the valley on it's west side. Easy to follow, no obstacles. After 30 minutes or so it eventually drops down until the bed of the creek. Now the creek has to be followed until a kind of promontory forcing the river to make a sharp bend to the east. Until that point I had to ford about eight times which was annoying and had quite some deadfalls. Though the trail was well flagged and easy to find. It was way more straightforward once the trail climbed out of the gorge to the junction with SE03 (see photo below).
IMG_20121230_134354.jpg

Soon afterwards the trail drops again and Last Chance campground is reached. I then continued only until the top of the next step in the valley. The trail climbs this step on the east side and opposite you can see a waterfall (picture below).
IMG_20121230_115739.jpg

Until there, it was easy to follow the trail, only some brush on the last stretch. Orientation was generally good and the entire stretch of trail from the adobe hut until the step above shown waterfall (I would say about a 3/4 mile south of Last Chance camp) was evident.

On the way back I chose the SE03 branch to Indians Road because I didn't want to deal with the 8 fordings down the gorge again. The first part where it parallels the contour lines is easy to find but you have to deal with more deadfalls. Then the trail climbs the slope directly to the west for about 400 feet and this section is through open wood and little meadows and is straightforward. Though I lost the trail on the last stretch until Indians Road due to lots of deadfalls and ended up on top of a little ridge above Indians Road, south of the official trailhead. To get back on trail, I decided to stay on the ridgeline which was easier to follow because of less vegetation and had magnificent views (below). I then reached the trailhead within a couple of minutes.
IMG_20121230_143300.jpg

Following Indians Road and Arroyo Seco Road back to the parking was no problem.

All in all, I was hiking for about 8 1/2 hours (including breaks) and it was a magnificent day with the gorge views and the crest vistas. All but the last stretch of SE03 was fairly easy to follow and evident. On the sections hiked I have seen no evidence of a slide.
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