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Skinner Ridge Trail

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby willlma on Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:04 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked from the Hoist on Palo Colorado Road to Pat Springs campsite via Long Ridge Road, Turner Creek trail, and Skinner Ridge trail. When we arrived on Skinner Ridge trail, looking toward Botcher's gap, the trail had little tread. Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) volunteers cleared sections of the Turner Creek trail and the portion of Skinner Ridge trail up to Devil's peak, which is now clear and easy to follow. The ridge after Devil's Peak was clear (and beautiful). The final section after the Big Pines intersection was also passable, and looked like it had been recently cleared.

Trails that led off our route all looked difficult. Big Pines didn't really have a defined tread and Comings Camp looked a little overgrown (though that's just grass so other than ticks I don't think it would be hard to follow).

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby Alan Harder on Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:16 pm

Date Hiked: February 8, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Turner Creek Trail junction to Ventana Double Cone Trail junction.

Heading up Devil's Peak I didn't see much tread, but just followed the ridge and got there fine; shows trail left of the ridge line with a switchback on the way up, so looks like I was off trail for this part.

From here all the way to VDC Trail the trail is well defined and mostly clear. I only had trouble when heading down towards the junction with Big Pines Trail, and back on up the way out; there are several branches and it is unclear which is the actual trail.
Alan Harder

Skinner Ridge Trail from Bottchers Gap

Postby MarkMoeh on Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:31 pm

Date Hiked: June 12, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Went out to check the condition of Bottchers Gap, Skinner Ridge Trail, and if it was possible to get to Mt. Carmel, Pat Springs, etc from that direction.
Palo Colorado Road is closed about 3.5 miles before Bottchers Gap. There are several washouts along the road, so it will still take a while to repair. No evidence of road work done in some time.
The first 0.5 mile along the Skinner Ridge trail was waist-high brush, passable. Encountered 2 major downed trees and about 5 spots where tread needs minor work. Minor brushing needed along this section. Fortunately, not much PO.
After about that first 0.5 mile, the trail turned into ceanothus forest. I cleared 100 yards or so (haphazardly, was just trying to make it passable for now!). After that, I totally lost the trail. Need someone who knows the trail and has GPS tracks to flag the route for future trail work.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail to Pat Springs

Postby BP22 on Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:22 pm

Date Hiked: June 2, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I Accessed the Turner Creek trail from Long Ridge Road. Trail is heavily overgrown with several deadfalls, and after Apple Tree camp, the trail disappears in heavy overgrowth sometimes six feet tall with lots of poison oak. The heavy rains this winter have proliferated the brush especially after the 2016 fire. From Skinner Ridge to Devils peak, The trail is apparent but is becoming heavily overgrown at times. The large path is still easy to follow. Devil's Peak to Comings camp has a very faint trail tread, but is relatively clear. From Coming's Camp to Big Pines trail junction, the trail is much better with no deadfalls and at times, ribbon marking the path. From there to Pat Springs the trail is quite clear and apparent. Overall it was pretty good with the exception of the Turner Creek/Apple tree camp trail, and the devil's peak trail.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:14 am

Date Hiked: April 16, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

(Originally posted to the VDC Trail thread. Various reports assume different places for where the Skinner Ridge Trail ends and the Ventana Double Cone Trail begins. The definition in very first entry in this thread, for instance, puts the break point at the Turner Creek Saddle. Moved here based on

I hiked from the Turner Creek Trail junction to the Comings Camp junction on the 16th. On the 17th, a long dayhike that took me over to Pat Spring. Out from Comings Camp to Turner Creek on the 18th.

Section: Turner Creek Trail junction to Devil’s Peak: Passable

The situation is much as Genea wrote in March, but there are enough minor issues that I think his “Clear” is now just a little too optimistic. The brushy section has grown beyond “sparse”, although it’s not difficult to get though and there are no route-finding issues. There are several blowdows to work through/around as one heads up. About half way up, where the trail gets close the spine of the ridge but doesn’t quite reach it, the trail but makes a sharp switchback turn, about 150 degrees. I managed to miss the turn *both* times, eastbound on the 16th and westbound on the 18th. The junction is just slightly brushy and there is a false trail ahead from the switchback. Not a huge problem, but the second time I went a ways before I even realized I had made a mistake.

It’s still early for flowers, but there are lots and lots of baby blue eyes out on the some of the hillsides.

Section: Devils Peak to Pat Spring: Clear

Beyond Devil’s Peak the route is either well-defined trail or a quite follow-able gentle rut in the grass.

About 1/2 mile east of Devil’s Peak the trail once dipped into the oak-and-madrone forest, switchbacking down under the trees rather than heading straight down a steep grassy bank. As YNVNE_1 noted, that forest section is blocked by brush and the steep grassy slope is the route of choice right now. Those switchbacks only went in sometime in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, so I think this is just a return to an earlier trail routing. On the 18th, I explored that switchback section a bit more. The lower entrance is blocked by about 50’ of not-too-large (chest high) Ceanothus. It’s not that difficult to work through it. Behind, the old trail is present and in reasonably good shape. I followed the switchbacks up. It’s a mess up top, though, with a very brushy deadfall mixed in the more of that chest-high Ceanothus, all on a fairly steep slope. I made it around the deadfall and through the bushes, but it was slow. The good news is that, as at the bottom, the brushy stretch was short: only 50 – 75 feet. This switchback section certainly could be reopened with the appropriate trailwork on the ends.

East of the Comings junction there are some signs of recent trailwork: new flagging, recent saw cuts on some of the larger deadfalls. Some step-over or walk-around deadfalls remain but I don’t remember anything that required much thought.

Pat Spring Camp remains nice place, but it has taken some hits. The pines right on the spine of the ridge are intact. There’s an open camp about half way up from the spring to the highest point that remains nice too. The table has migrated up there. Below that, the place still feels forested but there are more dead and down trees. For example, the fire grate at the lower camp, where the table had been for years, is now partially under deadfall. Pat Spring itself is still pumping out water and looks pretty much as always. On all my hiking, the Pat Spring Camp area was the one place I saw pine seedlings.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby gene a on Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:30 pm

Date Hiked: March 11, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This trail between the junctions with the Turner Creek Trail and the Mount Carmel Trail is clear and has a well-defined tread. There is a minimal amount of sparse, waist-high brush in one section. A short distance uphill from the Turner Creek Trail junction the trail departs the fire break and is marked by a small cairn and some orange flagging. There was an inch of snow on the trail on the north face of Devil's Peak.
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail INACCESSIBLE at Bottchers Gap

Postby LZR_1 on Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:47 am

Date Hiked: January 1, 2019
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

There is no access to Skinners Ridge trail through Palo Colorado road anymore. Palo Colorado Road is closed 3.3 miles up due to last year’s landslides. There is no acces to the campground, Bottchers Gap, at this time, including public restrooms. Palo Colorado Road is a 7-mile long, dead-end, residential, narrow, windy road. The road may be reopened in 2021.

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby YNVNE_1 on Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:01 pm

Date Hiked: September 22, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The section of trail from Botchers Gap to Turner Creek junction is a total mess. It is heavily overgrown and appears to be untraveled for some time. On the return, I skipped this section by walking along a firebreak along the ridge. This was also overgrown and exceptionally steep but still much easier. You can tell other people have been using this route and it is easy enough to follow.

Between Turner Creek Junction and Devil's Peak, its a similar situation. The trail is almost entirely lost. I walked straight up the ridge along another firebreak. Steep but straight forward.

Between Devil's Peak and Commings Camp the trail is easy enough to follow. The original trail switch-backs through a madrone grove. unfortunately, this part was hit pretty hard by the fire and the trail is overgrown and full of deadfall. As a result, the path goes straight along the exposed ridge along the south side of the grove. Its hard to miss and easy to follow.

From Commings Camp Junction to Big Pines Junction and Pat Springs the trail is easy to follow and bush-whacking is significantly less. Just remember; if in doubt, keep moving high. Game trails are easy to follow down and leave you with a grueling hike back up after you realize you're off.

At Pat Springs, some camps are overgrown and others are plenty good. And the best part of all? You get the whole place to yourself!! Lots of cross country, bush-whacking and contenting with game trails but its worth it if want some solitude

Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby mmaki on Sun May 27, 2018 10:37 pm

Date Hiked: May 22, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Entire section hiked. This was my last trail completing a section hike of the Condor Trail. The portion of the trail that follows the old road bed/firebreak up high before Devils Peak and shortly thereafter is easy enough to follow. It becomes a mess of overgrown post fire vegetation when you leave the firebreak. I should have stayed on the firebreak but I busted through the sometimes over six foot tall veg. Believe it or not it was not too much trouble figuring where the trail went. I was able to follow a faint path that got me down to almost Bottchers. Near the bottom I bailed and completed the last couple of hundred yards on the firebreak. There was plenty of water in the creek.

Some video is here and some pics are here. Look for the Skinner Ridge Trail section.
Lower section Skinner Ridge Trail overgrown
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Re: Skinner Ridge Trail

Postby jdoelman on Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:11 am

Date Hiked: February 24, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We followed the trail from the Turner creek saddle toward Bottchers until the point where the trail leaves the Skinner ridge and begins descending toward Bottchers Gap.
From following the initial 1/4 mile it was obvious this trail is difficult to follow, so we descended the minor ridgeline from where the trail leaves skinner ridge. Following the minor ridge was easy until nearing Bottchers gap. At one point I descended to the Skinner Ridge trail to get some water (where the skinner ridge trail first meets a creek when starting from Bottchers Gap). In this area I followed the trail for a short distance and decided it was a really good idea to not attempt to follow the trail as it was heavily overgrown with brush. It seems likely that the portion of trail that I saw was far worse than the majority of the trail between Bottchers and Skinner Ridge but from what I saw the trail is in terrible shape.

Note: The Palo Colorado Rd is open to pedestrian traffic from the Hoist to Bottchers Gap ( and closed to vehicular traffic ). ... r-projects
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