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Carmel River Trail

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby DaveP on Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:24 pm

Date Hiked: May 21, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked China Camp to Los Padres Dam. China camp to Pine Valley is a wilderness freeway. Camped in Pine Valley.

Pine Valley to Hiding Camp is close to impassable. I am an experienced hunter and tracker, and have been on this trail before, so we got through without problem, but we met 2 parties in Pine Valley that had turned around due to the trail condition. I should also mention that our entire party was immune to poison oak which is a must after leaving Pine Valley. Checked out Round Rock camp site and Hiding Camp. Both are clear of brush but the trail to Round Rock is getting faint. I feel bad for not bringing a machete or pair of loppers, because this trail will be impassable next year if more maintenance is not done on it this summer.

Hiding Camp to Los Padres Dam is not a bad trail, but if you are allergic to poison oak you are going to want to stay off of it. There were multiple areas where you had to push your way through head high poison oak. There was not one river crossing where it was possible to boulder across with dry shoes, so either bring some water shoes to hike the river with, or accept hiking in wet boots.

Overall, we had a great time, but once again we were all immune to poison oak. The youngest in our party was 12, and the oldest was 50.
DaveP
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby DorianVR on Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:07 am

Date Hiked: May 30, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Unavoidable poison oak overgrowth on trail, starting about 1/2 mile in from Pine Valley Camp. Many small deadfall trees and washed-out/fallen portions of trail. Trail condition would be near passable if a brush clearing job were done to clear the poison oak.
DorianVR
 
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby VWA Admin on Thu May 20, 2021 7:59 pm

Date Hiked: May 20, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Thanks for the report. Please note that access to the Los Padres Dam trailhead remains closed by the property owner CalAm pending a collaborative solution.
- The "official trail" is only a rough track scratched out in order to present a GPS proposal to the county, CalAm and the USFS.
- Work is tentatively scheduled for October(barring red tape snafus) to bring the trail up to standard without any slippery sections.
- The old trail is too steep to maintain over time.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Eric-ventana on Tue May 11, 2021 1:58 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked the Carmel River Trail (in and out) from the Los Padres Dam trailhead on Saturday, May 8th. I wanted to report on the slide by-pass near the dam. On the way in (from the dam) we skipped the "official"/first/flagged by-pass and took the second one, then on the way out we took the flagged route. The unofficial trail, it turns out, is significantly shorter than the marked one; the dam side of it is pretty easy, but the wilderness side is steep and slippery. Taking the flagged trail on the way out was a challenge. Not only is it three or four times longer (more than half a mile in total length, but not the two miles reported earlier), but the north/east/dam side of it is almost impassible. In many places the nominal 18" width of the trail differs in elevation from one side to the other by six feet. We were going down so this was merely difficult and sometimes dangerous, but trying to go up it would not be a hike, it would be a climb. Based on my experience I would suggest the dam side of the unofficial trail be connected to the wilderness side of the flagged trail -- this would result in a much better experience that either of the two existing alternatives.
Eric-ventana
 
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Addison on Sun May 02, 2021 10:30 pm

Date Hiked: May 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Day hiked from Pine Valley to Round Rock. Trail is fine from camp to the saddle separating pine valley and the next drainage, then gets rough pretty quick. Moderate overgrowth with many downed trees and avoidable poison oak the first mile but by the first creek crossing there is an unavoidable head high poison oak patch on trail and around it. Best to be immune to poison oak from here until the the trail climbs out of the drainage again. Path is flagged in parts but the whole area is still fire-scared and the creek completely choked by blackberry and poison oak (the flags in this section were easier to follow in the opposite direction). The high section the last mile or so before the Round Rock junction has barely visible tread as you hack your way through scrub oak, chamise and black sage (at least it smelled nice). There is one very confusing flag that could be hinting at a new trail on the north instead of south side of the ridge the high section is on? I followed it a few hundred feet but then stuck with the old south side trail (on map and gps). On section about 1/2 mile above the junction is washed out making for a pretty dangerous scamper across a steep, sandy chute. Will likely be gone after the next rain or couple of crossings. The tread for this whole high section is lacking on the downslope side and a few sections one could easily step off trail under cover of sage and slide down the hill a bit. Whole trail from saddle to junction needs work but this last high section was actually a bit dangerous instead did just spikey and poison oak-filled. Large downed tree a few hundred feet further towards Hiding Canyon Camp from junction.
Addison
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby mgeggie on Sun May 02, 2021 10:10 am

Date Hiked: May 1, 2021
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Tried to hike from Los Padres Dam Trailhead to Carmel River Camp.
There is a fence up on the trail just as it turns left from the dam to follow the perimeter of the reservoir. Skirting the fence is easy, but not far up the trail there's a landslide that has taken out about 500' of the trail. There is a detour trail, but it is very narrow, steep, loose, off camber and dusty. This trail seems to take nearly 2 miles and nearly 500' of elevation to circle around the landslide.
We gave up our hike when we reached the peak of the trail due to running out of daylight and not being confident of the condition of the trail ahead.
mgeggie
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:12 pm

Date Hiked: April 12, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Church Creek Divide Junction to Pine Valley -- Clear

Were it not for a few low shrubs brushing against the knees and thighs, plus the one duck-under deadfall, I’d have rated this as Wilderness Freeway. Fine trail for making good time if dinner is calling.

Pine Valley has loud owls.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby rcmd8418 on Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:43 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked from the Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley. The trail was extremely easy to follow, but there is brushy overgrowth at places and one deadfall you can easily walk around. We surprisingly didn't see any poison oak on/around the trail.

We camped at a DELUXE site in the meadow before you reach the cabin. We also attempted the trail to the falls, but turned around after 25 minutes when the washed out trail got pretty thin and the GPS showed we still had a bit to go.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Hiking Metal Maniac on Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:19 pm

Date Hiked: March 26, 2021
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley Camp is very clear with only minor brush encroaching on the sides in a some locations
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Alan Harder on Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:51 am

Date Hiked: March 25, 2021
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Los Padres to Hiding Camp.
After the detour trail near the dam the trail is in good shape all the way to Hiding Camp.
Just a few logs to climb over. Most river crossings are flagged.

There are two places with significant deadfall; one is easy to bypass by descending and walking on the rocky shore of the river. You can see the trail under the fallen trees and just parallel it until you rejoin the trail.
The other is at the second-to-last river crossing before Hiding Camp. The deadfall is before the river crossing when hiking up river and prevents you from getting to the direct crossing. Flag markers offer a path down to the river sooner where you go up stream 40 yards or so to where another flag shows the trail on the other side.
Alan Harder
 

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