Small Landslide PCT – Mile 69.10

By: James Amato
January 25th, 2016

Just got done hiking the first 150 miles of the PCT from Campo to Hwy 74. At mile 69.10, I came across a small landslide that blocked the trail. It was roughly several meters wide in a very steep part of a canyon. The trail was blocked by 2 huge boulders and tons of loose sediment. What lied above the trail (where the slide came from) looked extremely unstable. When approaching the slide the trail was literally cracked and slumping. As a backpacker, it was a bit sketchy to get over, but doable.. no way a horse could pass and is in an area that would be extremely difficult to turn around. It’s ALOT steeper then how it appears in the photos attached. It was located just north of the concrete Water tank at mile 68.4.

Sincerely, James Amato aka Business Time



Mountain Fire closure on Mt. San Jacinto

January 21st, 2016

This closure will likely remain in place for all of 2016.

The Mountain Fire started on July 15, 2013 near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74. The fire is out but the Pacific Crest Trail remains closed from Cedar Springs Trail (mile 162.5) north to South Ridge Trail (mile 178).

The Pacific Crest Trail was extensively damaged with up to 2 miles of the trail being lost as a result of damages caused by the Mountain Fire.

Mountain Fire Closure map as of June 24, 2014.

Mountain Fire Closure map as of June 24, 2014.

Possible alternate

This is a legal way to walk and bypass the closed portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Traveling northbound on the PCT, take the Cedar Springs Trail (TR. 4E17) downhill to the trailhead. Walk Morris Ranch Road to Highway 74. Walk north along  the Highway 74 corridor, past Hurkey Creek Campground. Turn right on May Valley Road. Take that road (technically, Road 5S05) and turn left on 5S21 to stay on May Valley Road. Turn right onto the South Ridge Trail. Take the South Ridge Trail (TR. 3E08) uphill, past the South Ridge Trailhead and rejoin the PCT near Tahquitz Peak.

Halfmile’s detour recommendation is quite similar, but slightly different.

Lake Fire closure south of Big Bear, Calif.

January 15th, 2016

The Lake Fire burned approximately 32,000 acres, much of it in San Gorgonio Wilderness in June 2015. A much loved wilderness and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail burned.

The Pacific Crest Trail remains closed for about 15.5 miles from the southern boundary of San Bernardino National Forest (approximately mile 236.5) to Onyx Summit (mile 252). Details about the rest of the closed areas can be seen on the map below and in the closure order.

The PCT is indeed open north of I-10, past Whitewater Preserve and all the way to mile 236.5 in Mission Creek. But once you get there, you hit the closure boundary. Only people interested in an out-and-back hike can utilize this section of the PCT. People wanting to go to Big Bear will want to stop at I-10 (or perhaps Whitewater Preserve if you have transportation arranged).

When will the Lake Fire closure reopen?

What a great question. Trust us, no one is more excited about re-opening the Pacific Crest Trail than PCTA. In our meetings and many conversations with our partners at San Bernardino National Forest, it’s clear that opening the PCT is a very high priority for all involved. Trail maintainers are ready to work as soon as the snow melts and the go-ahead is given. A big unknown is how this year’s El Nino affected winter storms will affect the burn area. How much snow will fall this winter? How quickly will it melt? How much new damage will winter storms bring? When will the snow melt off the access roads? While other sections of the trail in Southern California have been severely damaged by recent landslides, we’re crossing our fingers that the PCT in the burn area was not similarly damaged.

Once the trail maintainers head out this spring, the necessary work will be done and then the legal process of opening the trail (official signatures and the like) will occur.

All said, our hope and goal is to have the work done and trail legally opened by the time the bulk of northbound hikers reach the area. People planning to hike through in early season will probably reach the area before the trail is open. They will have to skip this section of trail. Unfortunately, we really don’t know what challenges we’ll face and how fast the work will go. Support our trail crews by donating or volunteering today.

As soon as we have more information, we’ll update this site.

Getting around the closure

We spent time researching a safe and legal way to walk around the closure and did not come up with anything. Since June, hikers have been taking a series of buses and taxi cabs between Interstate 10 and Big Bear. It’s a research project that you’ll need to do. Here’s some advice to help you in your research:

  • Hiring a private car, finding a volunteer, a friend, or a family member will always be the most convenient way. Consider splitting a taxi with other hikers to take you the whole way (if you can find one).
  • Public transit will take you from cities along I-10, through the San Bernardino MetroLink Station, and to Big Bear.
    • You have two good bus options between I-10 and MetroLink:
    • Mountain Transit will pick you up at the MetroLink and will take you to, and around, the Big Bear area.

Lake Fire resources

Current closure map

Lake Fire closure map published 7/16/15.

Lake Fire closure map published 7/16/15. Download a PDF version here.

Severe erosion between Tylerhorse Canyon and Willow Springs Road

By: Mark M.
December 15th, 2015

These pictures where taken in Section E from mile 542 to 545. I have not seen the other areas. But, the pictures don’t do it justice. The area was hit hard. My concern is someone trying to hike through will get hurt/stuck. I positively could not hike through as-is.

I saw about 5 impassable spots in just about 2 miles.

The PCT is washed out in many places from Tylerhorse Canyon to over by Willow springs Road. The first picture below is about a 40 to 50 foot drop off, the angle of the picture does not properly represent the danger.

Other areas of southern California have been hit by similar erosion. The picture of recent damage is not clear at this time. Take a look at the Southern California tag on the trail conditions page for more information.





Post-Flash Flood trail conditions: Agua Dulce to NW of Lake Hughes

By: Chris Quinn
November 2nd, 2015

I hiked the 40 miles from Agua Dulce to where the PCT tread resumes NW of Lake Hughes right after the Flash Flood (which occurred 15 Oct 15). Here’s the summary:

Section Agua Dulce to the Bouquet Reservoir Canyon Rd: Not bad at all. What little damage exists is easily jumped over or walked around. Though there is some mild drainage ruts across the trail, this section should NOT be your maintenance emphasis before the 2016 Thru-hikers start.

Section San Francisquito Rd to PCT Mile 505. The majority of this is a “road hike” due to the Powerhouse Fire detour. While the Elizabeth/Lake Hughes road was initially closed while they cleared mud that was over 5 feet deep in places, they let me walk through. The hike up Road 7N23 to join the trail was in good (and driveable) shape, and the trail NW-bound from there was really nice. Minimal impact on trail tread.

HOWEVER, the section in the middle of these two (from Bouquet Canyon to San Francisquito Rd) has got some SERIOUS issues. It’s OK until you get a mile south of that pair of high-tension power lines (about 2 miles north of Bouquet Canyon Rd). Here, the 4-foot wide tread is high on both sides, thus forcing the floodwaters down the middle of the tread. In places, the trenching is 12-18 inches deep. This continues on/off until reaching /Road 6N09. Northbound from there, the problem switches to an almost complete covering of the trail tread by uphill dirt/silt. The tread is completely filled. Since this section is 99% left (dowhhill) sloped, You are now forced to walk on a 10-degree left-sloped trail “tread”. If your shoes haven’t been giving you blisters yet, they most likely will — because the left sides are always slanted below the right. The majority (60%) of the retaining walls on the left (downhill) side of the trail are still in place, but most are damaged. Another 20% are buckled, and barely holding the trail in place. The other 20% are visible but given way, or entirely washed away. Some good news? The nice wide wood footbridge a mile NW of 6N09 is completely intact — AND the large rocks accompanied by the BSA Troop 415 Post a mile before San Francisquito Rd are still intact (even though the huge hornet nests in the rocks above there are disturbed — and the hornet swarms can be heard (and seen) from 10 yds away)! If there’s ANY way to work on this section of trail before the 2016 season starts, I would strongly encourage it.

Powerhouse Fire Closure

October 30th, 2015

The PCT is closed from mile 478.2 at San Francisquito Canyon Rd. north to approximately mile 492 (the center line of the southeast half of Section 19, Township 7 North, Range 15 West, San Bernardino Base and Meridian).  This is an expansion of the previous Powerhouse Fire Closure.  This expansion is due to the recent rains that have damaged the trail that was previously open north of San Francisquito Canyon Rd.

Please stay out of this closure area.  It is critical that our volunteers are able to access, survey, plan and rebuild this stretch of trail.  They are not able to complete their work with people using the trail.

PCT users have options for getting around the closure. With northbound travel in mind:

  1. Take the Halfmile detour.
  2. Take San Francisco Canyon Road north to Elizabeth Lake Road, then leave Elizabeth Lake Road at the Junction of 7N23 and take that road to its intersection with the PCT.  Hikers can then resume their hike as normal on the PCT.  Due to law enforcement activity going on in the area near Bear Camp we do not recommend camping nor traveling at night in the stretch of trail north of Sawmill Campground to the Angeles Forest Boundary (just north of Horse Camp). View a google map of this detour here.