Poison Oak status. Poison Oak has gone dormant for the winter. You will not see many leaves, but bare vines may still have oil, so be careful .
Trail Conditions as of 12/06/14. Poison oak is dormant this time of year but watch out for branches. Washouts have been dug out between trailhead and Spruce Creek camps. Debris from a large tree fall just before Spruce Creek campground has been cleared away. You can detour around or climb over the tree trunk with minimal effort. The big washout between Spuce Creek and Estrella campgrounds was cleared but may be closed again due to rain. Always use caution when crossing washouts. High water at Spruce Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 12/06/14. Trail is clear of poison oak. Washouts have been dug out and the trail has been reconstructed in spots. Small debris has been cleared away. CalFire has widened the trail in a number of spots.
Trail Conditions as of 12/10/14. Trail is clear of poison oak. No major washouts or downed trees. Numerous small washouts have been fixed. Sloping sections of the trail have been shored up. Water at Lower Cruikshank, Upper Cruikshank and Villa Creek camps.
Trail Conditions as of 11/11/14. Trail to campsites is clear of poison oak . No major washouts. 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. More work will be done here to provide safe access from the campground area to the old trail to South Coast Ridge Road above the canyon. Water just below the turnaround at the end of the jeep trail and at Willow Creek.
Trail Conditions as of 12/07/14. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak. No washouts. A downed tree has been cut and moved. Steam crossings OK, but use caution. Water available all along Mill Creek but may not be drinkable due to turbitity.
Trail Conditions as of 09/02/14. Trail is mostly clear of poison oak and brush has been cut back from trailhead to redwood grove (approx. 2 mi.). No washouts. 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 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.