ALERT: Due to a January 26-28 storm, Highway 1 is closed from Big Creek Vista Point in the south to just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north. Long-term, there is a significant washout of the Highway 1 at Rat Creek (just north of Big Creek Reserve and just south of Esalen Institute). Expect this closure to be in place until summer 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge) is also significantly damaged and may not be open for quite some time.  

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest has re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In and around the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness camps in the backcountry can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) or via Tassajara Road deep in the Carmel Valley. 

The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp remains closed. 

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are also open.

Most secondary roads (including Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge roads) remain gated and closed. 

This map depicts the closure boundary. Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. When in place, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever with visitors concentrated in fewer places to go.  

State Parks 

The following are open for day use:  Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (go online or call to find out if the park's campgrounds are open)  

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park  

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (additional US Forest Service information for the Monterey Ranger District): Please note that the information above is oftentimes more up-to-date than the US Forest Service site. Call 831-385-5434 with questions. 


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Stone Ridge Trail

Stone Ridge Trail

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:54 pm

Date Hiked: October 28, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The section from Twitchell Flat Usetrail to Ojito Saddle is clear except for a couple sections of sloping and badly eroded tread between the Twitchell junction and Goat Camp, hence the "passable" rating. The good news is the half dozen spots where poison oak was encroaching on the trail (sometimes waist high) were cleared on this hike. Some additional light brushing cleared out brush/tree saplings growing into the trail corridor. Plenty of water still flowing at the headwaters of the West Fork Limekiln Creek near Goat Camp. The ceanothus brush tunnel just before Ojito Saddle is starting to collapse but the trail is still clear.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Jessica on Tue May 08, 2018 7:35 am

Date Hiked: May 4, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail as part of a loop starting at Kirk Creek Trailhead. I hiked the 5 miles to spend the first night at Vicente Flats which was wonderful. The camp area is very clear with lots of beautiful spots by the river. Even as the camp area began to fill up the stream kept the noise down and the experience pretty serene. Day two I headed up to summit Cone Peak and over the pass to Goat Camp. Upon arriving at goat camp I realized quickly that there are very few actual spots to camp so if you want one that is relatively flat, plan to get there early. The views from Goat Camp out to the pacific are beautiful but the crowd made it a bit difficult to enjoy being out alone.

The final day was the day that I spent on the Stone Ridge Trail. I am not typically a complainer when it comes to trail conditions but I have to admit this was one of the hardest days I've had on trail. I will be the first to admit that it could definitely be the fact that I was most likely the first on trail and it is prime tick season that made this such a challenge. The first few miles out of Goat Camp I had to stop every 10-15 steps to flick off several ticks and once we leave the open meadows of the Stone Ridge you are quickly met with waist high poison oak. There is not a trail sign marking the turn off left back toward Vicente Flats so make sure to print out a map from the wonderful interactive Big Sur Trailmap page. There are also a few large down trees on this trail which required hands and knees maneuvers to get under.

Overall this was a beautiful hike but I am not sure I would complete the loop again in this way especially during this time of year. A few fellow hikers said they passed down through Limekiln State Park and had a beautiful hike down but I also saw them walking back on the highway after I was on my way home.

Happy trails!

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby cel on Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:35 pm

Date Hiked: April 21, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We hiked the entire trail from Vicente Flats to the Ojito Gap. The Stone Ridge Trail was an amazing experience as always, and seems to have weathered this past light rainy season well. The section between Vicente Flat and Hare Ridge is in great shape and has changed little since I last hiked it in November 2017. The tread on this section was wide and stable compared to a few years ago, and free of brush, slides, or washouts.

After the apex, we continued to the Middle Fork of Limekiln Creek, encountering a few downed hardwood trunks that we managed to get over even with with packs. I think these are the same deadfalls noted in posts over the last couple years, with no new ones to report. The Middle fork of Limekiln Creek was flowing strongly, and the trail section up to the Apex and Twitchell usetrail junction was in great shape. From the Apex to Goat Camp, the tread is well-defined. The only real obstacle along this section is poison oak, which is sporadic except for a few memorable stretches with plants up to waist height.

Both the West Fork cascades and a side stream are flowing around Goat Camp and provide surround-sound at night. The camp was more heavily used than I've previously seen it (November-January visits). We camped here along with a dozen other hikers. Flat ground is a rare commodity at Goat Camp, and late-comers ended up improvising sites above the trail. The camp was free of trash, but I swept some scat that didn't look animal in origin down the hill...The songbirds and ocean views over the redwoods made up for that unpleasantry the next morning.

The ascent from Goat Camp to Ojito Gap marked the brushiest part of the trail. Ticks seemed most abundant here, maybe because there were fewer hikers ahead of us early in the day. Views north towards Pacific Valley were excellent. About 2/3rds of the way uphill, the brush is replaced by a shady tunnel cut through the ceanothus. This tunnel has held up well, with a just a few dead ceanothus collapsed onto the trail. Otherwise, the walls and ceiling of the tunnel are well-clear of the tread.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby VWA Admin on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:06 pm

Date Hiked: November 11, 2017
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Reported by: Eric Hightower

Section- Stone Ridge (Twitchell Flat use trail) to Ojito Saddle
Trail is in great shape. Drank unfiltered water from West Fork of Lime Kiln without any issues so far. Intermittent spots where there is debris on the uphill side, and tread could use some bench work between Ojito and Stone Ridge, but it wasn't anything that bothered my ACL deficient knee. There were a few dead falls but nothing overwhelming in the least bit.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:11 pm

Date Hiked: December 18, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the section from the "Knoll" or "Apex" at 2,250 ft to Ojito Gap.

There are a few blowdowns over the trail, one of which is a large diameter tree that require climbing up and over. Another blow down is an oak that is messy and the route through the mess is downhill of the trail bed. I cleaned up the branches to make it a bit easier to get through but the tree should be removed to restore use of the original trail. I also cleared out all the egregious problem spots of brush in this section where it was encroaching on the trail above waist level (the brush had filled in fast in spots). There is still quite a bit of softer lower brush in the meadowy sections that is encroaching and this is facilitating some trail erosion as people skirt the brush on the downhill side of the trail. Stone Ridge Trail was already narrow in spots so some erosion is to be expected with winter storms. The creek near Goat Camp was flowing strong. See report for continuation on Gamboa Trail.

Note on the Twitchell Flat Usetrail:

The brushy section above the west fork Limekiln was not cleared out by State Park contractors, but yours truly and my intrepid trail partners. Certified scratch free.
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Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jbl on Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:41 am

Date Hiked: December 17, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)


General Comment: given the extended non-use of this trail since the fire closure as well as the intensity of the recent storm, I expected the worst (in particular in the approach to Hare Ridge and the departure from Middle Fork, which are areas very prone to slides).

But my concerns were unfounded, Mike Heard's yoeman's labors here in making sure that the repairs were of a long-term nature proved successful.

SECTION: VICENTE FLAT TO HARE RIDGE: Clear. There's some encroaching brush, a couple of small stepovers, and one or two very minor washouts in the gullies directly below Hare Ridge but overally this trail held up very well.

SECTION: HARE RIDGE TO WEST FORK CROSSING: Clear to Passable. The tread here is still in great shape, there are a couple of large trees down, one requires a 20' uphill diversion (it can be crawled under and a few people did but it's a tight fit) and another is easier to crawl under or over. I was able to remove everything that could be cut with my Samurai saw (there were maybe 8 small trees or fallen branches of this nature) but a 6' saw will need to be brought in for the 2 bigger trees.

The Middle Fork crossing had the highest water I'd ever seen, there is a pair of logs in an L-shape that you can walk across on.

SECTION: WEST FORK CROSSING TO APEX: Generally clear, there's been some minor erosion in a few spots in the climb up from the creek to the grassland under Stone Ridge but the tread has held up well, no slides or washouts, a few small trees or branches.


-the good news is that someone (State Parks or their contractors, I assume) has cleared to about 10'-15' wide the major (and annoying) encroaching brush from Twitchell Flat down the the West Fork Crossing and in the last 1/4 mile before the Alvin Trail junction

-the West Fork crossing was the highest I'd ever seen it, there was a smaller log that some walked across on (this was about 1-2' above the water) and a larger log that you could shimmy along or hold with your hands while you walked on a log wedged under it

-in first ~1/4 mile after the West Fork crossing a number of new trees have come down and shattered, they are easy enough to climb over but their branches have been strewn all about so you need to some picking of your way.
Last edited by jbl on Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby tjn on Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:53 pm

Date Hiked: July 16, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Hwy 1 North of Limekiln SP in to Goat Camp and Gamboa Saddle. Trail was easy to follow and in good condition with a few deadfalls that are relatively easy to negotiate. Portions of the climb up to meet the ridge trail are tricky due to the grade and the loose footing. Goat Camp was in good condition, with plenty of cool and tasty water nearby; had the place to myself on a Saturday night in July! I'm grateful to this forum for helping me find a clear trail without crowds.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Jeff Cannon on Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:02 am

Date Hiked: June 18, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We did the full hike from Kirk Creek to Cone Peak and back around through Trail Springs and Goat Camp on June 18th. The trail has freeway status until the Lime Kiln Creek crossing. There was plenty of water, by the way. The climb from the creek to the divide that drops you back into Hare Canyon had two large downed trees that were a bit of a challenge, even with a day pack. On the larger of the two, the best way was on hands and knees, going under! Great hike on a warm day!
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby sjgauowqeryh on Tue May 24, 2016 4:23 pm

Date Hiked: May 21, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail on May 21/22 while making a lollipop loop starting at Highway 1 to Vicente, then to Stone Ridge, Gamboa, Cone Peak, then back down to Vincente Flat trail from Cone Peak Road and back to Highway 1.

Goat camp was in good condition with lots of water flowing nearby. Trail Spring camp (where we actually camped) was also in decent condition with water flowing right by the campsite. Trail Spring camp is a little small though, so if many groups arrive at the same time, it can get cramped. Vincente Flat camp is also in good condition, with water flowing nearby.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby pantilat on Mon May 02, 2016 12:15 pm

Date Hiked: April 30, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Twitchell Flat Usetrail to Ojito Gap/Saddle (Jct with Gamboa Trail): A few new blowdowns that are fairly easy to step over or get around. Poison oak that grows alongside the trail is encroaching in sections. As prior reports have mentioned, there are ticks, particularly in the grass and deer weed. Otherwise, the trail is clear and in good shape.
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