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Santa Lucia Trail

Re: Santa Lucia Trail (Arroyo Seco to Last Chance Camp)

Postby greg meyer on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:42 am

Date Hiked: November 17, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

For the Fall Break the VWA sponsored a trail service project with students from California State University, Monterey Bay - for more details and photos see our Youth in Wilderness Facebook page ( ... ts&fref=ts)
Sections Hiked
Arroyo Seco Campground to the Adobe via the Santa Lucia Trail
Wilderness Freeway. This piece of trail is in good shape with excellent tread and clearly gets well used. We removed two small trees and cut back a number of shrubs and trees that were encroaching on the trail.

Adobe back to Arroyo Seco via the Cawatre Trail
Clear and passable. This trail is much less used, longer and steeper than the Santa Lucia Trail. The tread is narrow and uneven in places, with shrubby sections that are crowding the trail. We did some light lopper work to open up the path.

Adobe to Last Chance camp via the Santa Lucia Trail
Passable. We flagged two areas, cut back encroaching shrubbery, removed 4 small trees and worked on 5 washed-out sections of tread. Much of the thread is narrow and uneven. It should be noted that if you are using the Wilderness Press Ventana Map, the trail is clearly mis-marked on the map, showing it starting on the north side of the creek canyon and then staying down in the creek bottom. In reality the trail starts by crossing Santa Lucia Creek and then climbs up and stays on the southwest wall of the canyon for most of the way to Last Chance camp. The canyon is folded and steep; the exposed metamorphic rocks and sheer walls of the creek are really beautiful.
trail sign.JPG


trail work.JPG
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby KathyW on Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:45 pm

Date Hiked: November 24, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Trailhead near Santa Lucia Memorial Park Campground to the summit of Junipero Serra.

A beautiful day.

Although bushes do encroach on the trail in many places, the trail is easy to follow all the way to the summit. There are few down logs, but nothing difficult to go over or around. Just wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt to avoid getting scratched up.

Driving Conditions from Jolon to the trailhead: No problems - an easy drive. The gate did not have a guard on duty and it was open, there wasn't any water at the first creek crossing, there was a little water at the second creek crossing.

Some pictures of the hike:!i=2237808413&k=3WQBS6F
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Guest on Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Date Hiked: October 8, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The lower portion of the trail is passable until the climb becomes steeper and switchbacks up to the junction of the trail coming from Arroyo Seco Campground. Brush is the major obstacle. Tread is in good condition. After the junction, brush quite often encroaches on the trail. The last 1 1/2 miles becomes unpleasant due to the degree of encroachment by manzanita, oak, and ceanothus. Contact with brush is inevitable and frequent, although the trail is obvious. Many trees have fallen over the trail on the last portion of the climb to the tower.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Arroyo Seco Side)

Postby jpdoelman on Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:30 pm

Date Hiked: October 7, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The hike from Arroyo Seco, past the Adobe to Last Chance Camp was passable except for the difficulty(described in an earlier post) in the short section in the Santa Lucia Creek. From Last Chance Camp to Eagle Creek-SantaLucia Creek divide is still difficult, though not as difficult as it was when I last passed through. No water at the "Ant Camp" (see map) in the Eagle creek area. Water was found (thanks to helpful hints from VWA expert JL) about 100 yards "downstream" of the camp area. That water prevented a hasty retreat back down to Last Chance Camp. Continuing up/south, the trail is very difficult to find just past some tree downage which spans the creek. On top of the tree crossing the creek is a rock marking the trail. After that point it is necessary to climb steeply going generally upstream until finding the trail about 100 feet above the creek. From that point the trail is in passable condition until getting near the Eagle creek/Roosevelt creek divide.... after that I presume the trail is in poor/impassible condition

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby mikesplain on Fri May 18, 2012 9:31 pm

Date Hiked: May 13, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section hiked: Santa Lucia Memorial Park to Junipero Serra summit.

It occurs to me that we should consider separating the summit trail from the remaining Santa Lucia Trail to avoid confusion.
In the meantime, I'll rate the southern part of the route as generally passable. This is the section from the trailhead at Memorial Park (the Indians) to Junipero Serra Peak.

Section- Santa Lucia Memorial Park to the saddle at 3.7 miles -
Clear, but maybe not for much longer as lots of fire-killed manzanita and ceanothus is beginning to collapse into the trail;
poison oak is present but generally avoidable, deerweed (probably tick-ridden in the wet season) is seriously encroaching & completely unavoidable

Section- Saddle at 3.7 miles to the divide between the Roosevelt Creek and Santa Lucia Creek drainages-
Clear with a bit of encroaching ceanothus & scrub oak here & there

Section- Roosevelt/SLC divide to summit-
Passable, occasionally approaching Difficult-
lots of deadfall to step over & at least 2 significant detours

The summit is littered with unsightly debris & I dream of the day when hikers, pack stock & helicopters
have hauled off the remnants of the cabin, outhouse & tower once & for all.
Nevertheless, it's still fantastic up there & the weather was remarkably mild & bug-free for May.
deadfall past the second saddle
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby jack_glendening on Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:34 pm

Date Hiked: April 8, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

For the section from the adobe to Last Chance Falls viewpoint (just north of Bluff Usecamp)

In "clear" condition except for the creek-crossing section, where there were a good number of flags to guide one. I was expecting at best a "Passable" trail, instead found it a delight to hike through the gorgeous Santa Lucia Creek canyon. My thanks (and those of the other 9 hikers with me) to Jan Doelman and anyone else who has worked on it.

Jack Glendening

Added later: forgot to mention that the short section from Last Chance Camp to the crossing of Santa Lucia Creek just south of it is better rated "passable" as the tread was not well defined there, so relied upon flagging in its stead.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby AT Girl on Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:43 pm

Date Hiked: February 11, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail is still in good condition with the creeklet still flowing across the trail before you climb the headwall to the first saddle. From the first saddle to the saddle at the W ridge the trail is in good condition but the brush is growing to turn into a scratchworthy enterprise above the reddish rock outcrop. The treadway is easy to follow but the scrub oak makes for some scratching. From this point to the end of the traverse and the final climb up the summit dome the treadway is in good shape but covered with many many wind downed pines. (The "water" sign on the tree is gone but the nails are still in place.) The pines were burned in 2008 Indian Fire so the majority of small branches are off, enjoy your clambering over and around the trunks. The final climb up to the summit is in good shape.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby jpdoelman on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:39 am

Date Hiked: February 11, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The last time I did this trail I was heading for Eagle creek and I was turned back by dense brush and time. This time I was looking for some payback. I loaded up my backpack with loppers and a bow saw, intending to camp at Eagle creek. I thought to myself, " I have all day, I'll do a little trail clearing along the way".
To quote Elliot Robinson, "Difficult to describe the difficulty". After hiking and lopping for a long while, I looked at my watch and it was 4:00, I stepped up my brush crashing and reduced my trail clearing activity. Next time I looked at my watch it was 5:20 and I was about a mile from the Eagle-creek/SantaLucia Creek ridgeline. It was time to stop fooling around with the trail clearing and make some time. Unfortunately, at this point the trail was significantly brushier. After dragging my packpack (once) and crawling (50+ yards) I arrived at the ridgeline at 6pm. So I had to negotiate the next mile to eagle creek via headlamp. Along the way, my watch had been ripped from my wrist, and I had lost my water bottle. I finally arrived at Eagle creek well after dark.
Next day, on a morning excursion up the Eagle creek, I was able to locate the continuation of the trail up towards the Roosevelt creek. The trail seems to be missing some switchbacks just past the point where the creek divides. When faced with a choice to go up the left, or right creek, choose the left. Then, shortly after that, it is necessary to ascend steeply to regain the trail.
On the way out, the idea was to remove the obstacles that had required me to crawl on the previous day. I did some significant trail clearing on the way down from the Eagle-Ck toward Santa Lucia Creek near the top. When I found my watch, it was 2:00pm and I was still way up on the mountain. Time again to push through the brush and make tracks for home. There was still one spot where I needed to crouch down too low to walk on my exit out of the brush area.

It is amazing to me that someone could push through to JSP in a push.

Great Hike !

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Jim Ringland on Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Date Hiked: February 6, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Santa Lucia Memorial Park to Pimkolam Summit

Reasonably clear trail most of the way up. There were a few easy step-overs and -unders on the lower part of the trail through oak woodland. Scattered pitcher sage plants were coming into bloom. Once the trail starts to climb through open chaparral to the first saddle at 4200 feet or so, there was a little brush at knee level that was easily nudged aside, although I can imagine someone in shorts -- not my problem on a chilly February day -- might find it a bit annoying after a while. From the lower saddle at 4200 feet to the upper one at 5400 feet, the route was almost as clear, although the vegetation on this stretch includes some scrub oak at chest level. Brushing it aside can be a more scratchy affair. Wearing a coat, I had no problem. Someone in a short sleeve shirt might. Still "brushing it aside" is the right description. I had no sense of having to "push through" the growth. No stooping, ducking, or crawling. The tread on all of this was easy to follow, if a little broken down /washed out in a handful of spots.

After the higher saddle and a simple traverse to the first sugar pines, I hit that extensive area of relatively small downed trees. I went through some, around others, and eventually got well off-trail, or so I thought. At that point, I just headed up the mostly open hillside to the summit. That was not the best idea. A steep slope plus some soft footing (and about 250 vertical feet to go) made for a long, slow plod. On the downward return, I followed the trail all the way and discovered that when I headed up, I wasn't anywhere near as far off the trail as I thought. The spot that confused me on the way up was at a big (several foot diameter) burned out stump where part of the fallen tree had landed right on the trail. Alternate routes around seemed to go either way up or right though some dense brush. After going high and not seeing the trail, I began my steep plod. On the return, I found what would have been the better route: go up, but not far. Contour, and the trail emerges only 50-100 feet past the burned out stump and falling trunk, at about the same elevation.

And if no one has noted this before, the Wilderness Press map totally botches the route up to the first saddle, sending the trail up the wrong draw. See Jack Glendening's map for the right route.
Last edited by Jim Ringland on Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Guest on Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:05 am

Date Hiked: December 17, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Myself and a couple of friends did Junipero Serra Peak December 17, 2011. For the first 4.5-5 miles this trail is passable. It is rather overgrown but overall relatively easy to follow. About 4.5 miles in you hit the snow and that''s where the troubles begin and the trail condition turns into difficult. A lot of fallen dead trees in the way. Not only that but the snow obscures the trail and makes it easy to lose it. Be careful!. That's exactly what happened to us - we lost the trail and ended up scrambling up the slope the last couple hundred feet before we reached the summit. Overall, it's passable but things definitely get a little tricky at the end.
Unfortunately, it is clear that this trail has not been maintained in years.


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