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Santa Lucia Trail

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby mikelort on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:02 pm

Date Hiked: January 27, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Wife and I hiked to the summit and back from Santa Lucia Campground roundtrip in one day. Tuff hike in January due to short days. Tuff hike anytime in my opinion. Finished the last three miles on return trip by headlight. Trail to the upper saddle (4 mile marker) was pretty clear...a few deadfalls but easily went around or over. From the upper saddle to the 'summit saddle' the brush growth is beginning to impede travel. As noted by others earlier in the year, another year or two without pruning, it will be a difficult. Wished I read some trail reports before heading up because when we hit all the many downed trees near the summit (within 2 or 3 hundred yards?) we were unsure as to where the trail went and decided enjoy the views to the south and west before heading back down as time was getting short.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby jack_glendening on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:30 am

Date Hiked: October 16, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Coming down from J.Serra Peak on my annual Junipero Serra Loop SC hike, much deadfall on north side of mt, mostly 6-8" diameter trees - most can be stepped over, a few require leaving tread. Brush is encroaching all along trail, but route is apparent. Summit register only had a single page, first entry being July 17 of this year - wonder where all the previous pages went to (since last year there were pages going back to 2009).
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial

Postby Farley on Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:48 pm

Date Hiked: August 12, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is for the two miles of the Santa Lucia Trail from south Camp Cawatre.
Thanks to the FS for placing a "Trail" sign at the junction of the Camp Cawatre Trail and the Santa Lucia Trail where the Santa Lucia begins to climb the ridge on the west bank of Santa Lucia Creek.
Trail is in good condition with clear evidence of recent (last 6 months or so) of extensive brushing. The tread is in decent shape for the first mile through blue oak woodland and then begins to outslope pretty badly with a few short sections eroded away. There is a definite need for spot tread maintenance in the near future.
While many maps show this trail following the canyon bottom and stream course of Santa Lucia Creek, it is actually perched a few hundred feet up on sheer granite/metamorphic canyon walls. The views up and down the Santa Lucia Canyon are amazing from this perched trail.
Please walk on the inside, uphill side of the trail to prevent you and the trail from sliding away.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Elliott Robinson on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:31 pm

Date Hiked: May 29, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Difficult to describe the was a little easier than last year as someone spruced up the cairns, so I'm going for "difficult"..on the other hand, maybe my memory of what to do when it gets weird has just gotten a little better. "Impassable" may be a better description for most, but since it looked like someone passed through a couple of days before us and there was a little less fighting the brush, I'll step down the conditions. In any case, with so much action on the trail, it actually might be OK for someone 2 feet tall.

The most complex section turned out to be the last little bit of the Roosevelt Creek watershed right before the Junction to Pimkolam Summit. The brush is growing back robustly in that burnt out area and its filling up the space between the old burnt out brush - right where you want to be able to push through. I suspect in coming years this new growth will make the Roosevelt Creek watershed section VERY hard.

From Arroyo Seco Camp to Cone Peak Summit via Pimkolam Summit was just about exactly 24 hours. Decided against the descent to Kirk Creek via Vicente Flat and instead opted to trod down the Cone Peak road for a ride at Naciemento Ferguson. Wildflowers weren't so robust this time around. (And yes, I know it's strange that I keep doing this trail, it's just that it is such an excellent Valley to Coast over 2 summits route.)

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are few that give a sense of the track:
Just before it gets interesting
A whole lot of crawling
Can't remember if this is just before Eagle Creek or just before the Roosevelt Creek any case standing sections like this were pleasant
It's all freeway from the Junction
Pimkolam Summit after 12 hours, Nate looking towards Cone Peak in the distance...another 12 hours of walking away
A nice log to walk on the way down from Pimkolam
Cone Peak Summit 24 hours after starting
Looking back towards Pimkolam Summit
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Dan Gearhart on Sun May 22, 2011 6:13 pm

Date Hiked: April 30, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Being Fort Hunter Ligget is an active military installation, travel restrictions can often change. Since you have to drive through the base to get to the trailhead, the once used routes may not always be available. On this date, there is no longer a “checkpoint” off of Jolon Road. After turning onto Mission Road from Jolon Road, you travel about 3 miles to Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and turn left. After another couple of miles, take the left across the metal bridge crossing the river. After another few miles, turn right onto Vasquez Road and a few miles later, a left onto Del Venturi Road. From there enjoy the scenery all the way to the trailhead. If you reached the old Forest Service building on the left, you have gone about 100 yards too far.

Our first and only setback was finding the trailhead parking lot full and overflowing. We then drove down the road a little farther and parked in front of the old ranger station.

From the trailhead the path was easy to follow through the meadows basically heading straight for the peak. As we passed through the meadows we spotted numerous tents among the rocks which accounted for the overflowing parking lot. All the stream crossings were flowing, about five in all, and the old tractor was still at the edge of the clearing. Brush and several down trees were encountered, easily walked around, to the old trail sign that said 4 miles to go. The post remains but the burnt sign lies on the ground at the base.

As the trail switchbacks through the grassy incline, it becomes a little thin but still easy to follow. The trail remains clear to the top of the first saddle. From the first saddle to the summit ridge, the trail remains evident with encroaching brush. Long sleeve shirts and long pants highly recommended.

After crossing the summit ridge on the east side of the peak, the trail is good up to the “Water” sign on the tree. Just beyond this the trail is blocked with numerous deadfalls for about 100 yards. At this point, turn right up-slope and follow a new path that makes a wide arch to the left and eventually joins the original trail. From here to the top there are several “re-routes” around the fallen burned tress and a lot of encroaching brush. Even if you get off the trail in this area, just keep moving uphill through the pines until you reach the Lookout Tower. The Summit Hut did not survive the fire and completely burned down. The actual summit is just beyond the remains of the Summit Hut. There is summit register on top of the summit monument. Great views in all directions. We did some trail clearing on the way down, I’m sure we made the hikers coming down behind us happy, but there is a lot of post-fire growth. If the growth continues, this trail will most likely be impassable in some areas in the near future. A few photos of the trip at: ... 781321252/
Dan Gearhart

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby RKM710 on Sun May 08, 2011 11:22 am

Date Hiked: May 7, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I agree that this trail will probably be impassable within a year or two. For now the trail is difficult but passable. I had difficulty finding the trail in the first mile as there is a network of trails in the tall grass meadow just beyond the trailhead without any signs. If you are planning on doing this hike I would highly recommend long pants and a long sleeve shirt as the brush and chaparal encroaching on the trail will scratch you significantly. Also, I saw two rattlers on the trail which was unnerving considering they were impossible to spot through the thick brush until I was right next to them. If you are willing to take your time and struggle through it this is a very rewarding hike.

Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby gfelsman on Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:57 am

Date Hiked: April 24, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Sunday was a beautiful day to hike to the summit.

Eleven of us took the trail to the summit and did not have any trouble following the tread to the summit.

The blow down mentioned in the previous report can be skirted by going around the high side a use trail has been created by those hiking the trail.

I do have to agree that once past the saddle lots of encroaching brush and in several areas it was hard to push through the brush making reaching the summit more difficult.

We met on backpacker on the way down who had spent the night on top. He cut a tree on the way out near the Sign Post crossing the creek. It made our return trip easier.

The brush along the top is getting thicker. Another season with no work will make the last quarter mile rough going to say the least.

There were lots of trees across the trail most were easily skirted.
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby Ted Merrill on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:37 pm

Date Hiked: April 20, 2011
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

My buddy Shahe and I hiked the Santa Lucia Trail from Indians Station up to the top of Junipero Serra Peak aka Pimkolam Summit.
The trail is actually in reasonably "passable" shape until near the top, with brush to push through as you approach the top.
At the last saddle a 1/4 or 1/2 mile before the top, things change.
At this saddle there is a rather large blowdown of trees which obliterates the trail, and we didn't see the trail on the other side.
We chose to follow the ridge line instead to reach the summit.
While this wasn't too bad going up (however note, the resurgent brush growth may soon make this route impassible), we took a somewhat different cross-country route coming back and struggle through not entirely burned brush.
Actually, we started with taking the trail back down from the top but it was soon hidden by a combination of down trees and snow.

I'm marking this as "impassible" since it will likely be so soon what with the resurgent brush growth.

-Ted Merrill
Ted Merrill

Re: Santa Lucia Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:21 pm

Date Hiked: November 4, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Paul Danielson and I came in to the Santa Lucia Trail via the old road from Hanging Valley and went north from there. The section between that junction (just north of Eagle Creek and "Ant Camp") and Last Chance Camp was very difficult but passible. In brushy areas the tread could usually be located because the mostly overgrown path was not impenetrable, whereas the surrounding brush _was_ impenetrable! The few trail location puzzlements were primarily in the open areas, sometimes needing some hunting (aided by a GPS), but were quickly resolved. Much stooping and crawling were required - not a place to take a large backpack. The 1.6 mile section to "Bluff Camp" (1.1 miles south of Last Chance Camp, near the "Last Chance Waterfall" overlook) took us 2.6 hours (0.7 mph). The section between Bluff Camp and Last Chance Camp was significantly less brushy and readily passible with a backpack, but the tread was not visible for some portions - that could have created some route finding problems but we were greatly aided by some existing ribbons (my thanks to whoever placed those!). North of Last Chance Camp the trail was clear to the Indians Road Connector Trail.

Jack Glendening
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Re: Santa Lucia Trial (Pimkolam Summit)

Postby VentanaMaster on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:34 pm

Date Hiked: October 10, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

First, why don't we all concur once and for all that Pimkolam should no longer be referred to either as Santa Lucia Peak or Junipero Serra Peak. Just as some of us more enlightened mountaineers quit calling Denali "Mt. McKinley" ages ago and Chomolungma "Mt. Everest" eons ago, it's time to forever honor the memory and integrity of the ancient Native-Americans by always saying "Pimkolam" without the parentheses.

Now, recently I did a quick and cursory recon of the Indians approach (standard route) up Pimkolam to see how good the trail is. Looks pretty clear. I was there late in the day so a summit event was not going to happen, but from what little I was able to see it looks good.

I have been salivating for a number of years to return to the summit with an archeologist friend of mine to try to locate the alleged 7,700-year-old pictographs on the summit, but a knee injury from wild barefoot dancing put a serious nix on my hard-core hiking a couple of years ago. My knee is finally back to about 90%, but now my archeologist friend has gone abroad. I'm hoping to link up with someone with privileged knowledge concerning the alleged ancient summit site.

I'm shooting for post-flies season. If anyone reading this post is interested post a response.

Also spracht die VentanaMeister!
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