Solo Hikers and Backpackers: Be sure and let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back.
Poison Oak status. Poison Oak is growing on all trails We will be cutting it back as frequently as possible, usually between the trailhead and the first campground (approx. 2-3 miles in). If you intend to go further in, you should take clippers and cut any poison oak that is across the trail. Be sure that you cut only poison oak. .
Wildlife and flowers. Wildlife and wildflowers seem to be returning to the Big Sur hills after 3 years of drought.
Trail Conditions as of 07/01/15. The trail is mostly free of poison oak as far as Spruce Creek campground . The trail at the big washout between Spruce Creek and Estrella campgrounds has been widened by a CCC trail crew. River crossing at Spruce Creek easy. Ticks are present on the trail. Spruce Creek trail towards Dutra Flats been cleared of poison oak for about the first two miles. Bring your own clippers for the rest. A short detour has been cut around the very large tree is across the trail about 2 miles in. Water available along Salmon and Spruce creeks.
Trail Conditions as of 07/17/15. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak. Washouts have been dug out and the trail has been reconstructed in spots. Stair steps have been installed at two locations on the trail where there are steep slopes. Small debris has been cleared away. NO drinking water on trail.
Trail Conditions as of 07/18/15. Trail is clear of poison oak. The trail has been reconstructed in spots, brush has been cut back and small debris has been cleared away. Stair steps have been installed on the trail where there are steep slopes. No water.
Trail Conditions as of 07/20/15. Trail is clear of poison oak but it continues to grow back. Ticks are present on the trail. No major washouts or downed trees. A CCC trail crew has widened the trail as far as the campgrounds and installed stair steps on some steep slopes. Water at Lower Cruikshank, Upper Cruikshank and Villa Creek camps.
Trail Conditions as of 07/23/15.Trail to creekside campsites is clear of poison oak . Vegetation on the trail up the canyon on the north side of Willow Creek past the second campsite area has been cut back as far as the narrow rocky gorge. The un-maintained trail up the slope on the north side of Willow Creek has been mostly cleared of poison oak and reconfigured. Work will continue here over the summer to make use of the old hiking trail to the Kinder mine easier. Ticks may be present on the sunny sections of the trail. Water just below the turnaround at the end of the jeep trail and at Willow Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 06/30/15. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak but it is growing back so watch your step. . Ticks are present on the sunny parts of the trail. No washouts. Debris from a number of downed trees has been cleared. Water available all along Mill Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 06/04/15. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak from trailhead to redwood grove (approx. 2 mi.). Some trail work has been done between the redwood grove and Espinosa Camp (3.5 mi.), but this section still has some poison oak. Long pants and clippers advised past Espinosa Camp. No washouts. Ticks are active, so check your clothes as you hike. Water may be available a quarter mile past Espinosa Camp at a year round creek.
The biggest problem that you may have is with Poison Oak. Nine out of ten people get a rash from poison oak. This rash is caused by an oil found in the plants. This oil is called urushiol (you-ROO-shee-all). The itchy, blistering rash often does not start until 12 to 72 hours after you come into contact with the oil. Most people see the rash go away in a few weeks. To make the skin feel more comfortable during this time, you’ll find tips from dermatologists here . If you have a serious reaction, you need to see a doctor right away.
These trails are maintained by CalFire staff and volunteers from San Luis Obispo, Monterey and other nearby counties. You can help too. Contact Ventana Wilderness Alliance at www.ventanawild.org. You can download a trail map from them here.