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 has started to grow back 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 02/13/15. Poison oak is being cut back as far as Spruce Creek campground . Washouts have been dug out between HW1 trailhead and Spruce Creek camps. The big washout between Spruce Creek and Estrella campgrounds may be passable. Always use caution when crossing washouts. River crossing at Spruce Creek may be difficult due to recent rain. Ticks are present on the trail. Dutra Flats trail is being cleared of poison oak as far as the riverside campground (approx. 1 mile from trail fork). Washouts just before riverside campground are passable and being fixed. Water available along Salmon and Spruce creeks.
Trail Conditions as of 02/03/15. Trail is 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. CalFire has widened the trail in a number of spots. Waterfall is still active near HW1, but NO drinking water further up on trail.
Trail Conditions as of 02/21/15. 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.
Trail Conditions as of 02/11/15. Trail is clear of poison oak but it continues to grow back. Ticks are present on the trail. No major washouts or downed trees. Sloping sections of the trail have been shored up. Water at Lower Cruikshank, Upper Cruikshank and Villa Creek camps.
Trail Conditions as of 02/17/15.Trail to campsites is clear of poison oak . Trail just past jeep track turnaround at site of minor landslide is now passable. Cross with care. Trail on the north side of Willow Creek past the second campsite area has been opened up the canyon as far as the narrow rocky gorge. The unmaintained trail up the slope on the north side of Willow Creek has been partially cleared and reconfigured. Water just below the turnaround at the end of the jeep trail and at Willow Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 02/11/15. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak but it has started to grow back. No washouts. Debris from a number of downed trees has been cleared. Steps have been dug out on steep slope at trailhead. Water available all along Mill Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 02/11/15. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak from trailhead to redwood grove (approx. 2 mi.) but it continues to grow back so watch where you walk . No washouts. Ticks may appear as the weather warms, so check your clothes as you hike. No water on this section of trail.
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.