SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Endangered Species Detour: Tread is Sliding

By: Thomas Meissner
April 4th, 2014

On March 29, 2014, four of us hiked part of the endangered species detour from Islip Saddle – Devils Punchbowl via South Fork Trail – High Desert NRT, which has now become the official [editor: alternate] PCT route.

Though the new route is very scenic, the tread is faint and has disappeared over wide sections of the South Fork Trail between Islip Saddle and South Fork CG.

The trail, not particularly well designed as it is crossing steep exposed slopes without vegetation has become dangerous in several places with the trail sliding above steep dropoffs. It would need serious stabilization and with more rain, it is likely getting worse. This new route is definitely substandard for the PCT and completely impassable for stock.

The section along the High Desert NRT from South Fork Camp to Devils Punchbowl is in better shape. However, there is one short washed out section near the saddle between South Fork CG and Devils Chair.

I would advise long distance hikers to stay on the old PCT from Islip Saddle to Eagles Roost and then walk a couple miles along Hwy 2 to reconnect to the PCT via the Burkhart Trail rather than taking this long, tedious and risky detour.

Mountain Fire closure on Mt. San Jacinto

April 3rd, 2014

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.

The PCTA and San Bernardino National Forest have identified viable re-route alternatives and review is underway to clear environmental and legal requirements.  In the interim, hikers and equestrians will need to jump ahead (via car) to the South Ridge Trail to avoid the damaged segments of the PCT and areas within the closure area. We’ll update this page when we have more information.

Hikers and equestrians should regain trail tread at the South Ridge Trail near Idyllwild.

View the Closure Order and the order’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

Powerhouse Fire Closure

March 24th, 2014

The Powerhouse Fire is 100% contained. Much of the PCT through the Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District portion of the Angeles National Forest remains closed. The closure extends from Highway 138 in the north to San Francisquito Canyon Road in the south. This closure will be in place throughout 2014. View the closure order.

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

  1. Take San Francisquito Canyon Road north to Elizabeth Lake Road, then go west on Pine Canyon Road to the PCT.
  2. Take Three Points Road north to Highway 138.
  3. For an option further removed from paved roads, walking the California Aqueduct from Munz Ranch road, is a potential route.

For reference, in 2013 we had an active blog post about the Powerhouse Fire, you can see it at this link.

blue ridge near wrightwood

By: Andrew Raffertt
March 19th, 2014

I was recently hiking from El cajon pass to hwy 2 near wrightwood. Reached guffy campground snow was moderate though trail to guffy spring was covered in snow an very hard to get to almost couldnt get back to campground. Ice an snow cover the trail from guffy to blue ridge. Fell 40ft into trees half a mile away from blue ridge camp ground. ANDREW (mule) Rafferty 3/16/2014

Collapsing trail tread near North Fork RS

By: Jack H
March 17th, 2014

Ten and a half inches of rain fell on the area around North Fork Ranger Station (mile 436) in a single day in early March. This has caused unstable, collapsing trail tread in the area (especially where the trail was previously affected by fire). Equestrians are advised that the PCT tread may be unstable. Equestrians are advised to detour from North Fork Ranger Station to Soledad Canyon Road by riding the Santa Clara Divide Road to Indian Canyon Road to Soledad Canyon Road.

Station Burn/Poodle-Dog Bush Update Feb.-Mar., 2014

By: Daytripper
March 12th, 2014

Feb. 2, 2014: Poodle-dog bush easily avoidable Miles 403 – 411. Poodle-dog bush thicker, but mostly avoidable at Miles 411-413 on slopes of Mount Pacifico. Several trees across trail and tread in poor shape miles 412-413. No issues with road detour beginning at mile 413 to Mill Creek Summit (mile 418.8).
Mar. 8-9, 2014: Mount Gleason Road Detour (mile 419 – 430.6) from Mill Creek Summit to Messenger Flat has frequent heavy truck traffic to support So Cal Edison high voltage power line/tower replacement project crossing PCT at ~425.75 and Mount Gleason Road Detour in vicinity of LA County Fire Camp 16 ruins. Trail from Messenger Flat (mile 430.6) to North Fork Ranger Station (mile 436.3) in poor condition with eroded tread, encroaching brush, downed trees. Trail tread eroded in various places between North Fork Ranger Station and Mattox Canyon (440.2).

Decrepid Bridge

By: Golly (Gail)
March 4th, 2014

Mile 275, Van Dusen Rd. Just south is a bridge going over the creek that is falling apart. There are holes in it and totally unsafe for horses. Hikers, just jump over the foot wide creek!

Trail Maintenance

By: Golly (Gail)
March 4th, 2014

My husband and I are thru-riding our horses this year. We began at Campo on Jan. 1. There is an area north (west) of Van Dusen Rd. in Big Bear area, around mile 265 or so, that could use some good trail maintenance. There are many downed trees and while they are possible to step over or go around, it isn’t good for the trail. There’s also a lot of dead branches hanging from trees that are a hazard to equestrians. We made it to just a few miles from 285.4 (Little Bear Springs) and had to turn around because there are trees crossing the trail and too steep to go around. One of the trees could slide if someone tries to climb over it and it’s certainly too high for a horse to jump and too low to go under.

Mile 283 (Approx.)

By: Golly (Gail)
March 4th, 2014

Dangerous trail situation near Big Bear! Trail mile 278.5 (Holcomb Valley Rd) to 285.4 (Little Bear Springs Trail camp) is dangerous. The actual spot is closest to 282 and beyond, but the last place to pull out would be Holcomb Valley Rd. or possibly the next dirt road about a mile further (which I think go back to Holcomb Valley Rd.). You are on the side of a cliff and there are many downed trees crossing the trail making it nearly impossible to get around. Climbing over the trees could make them slide. Since we have horses, it’s a little tougher. We made it across the first, then around the bend was a second. One horse got over the second, but the other horse refused. It was higher than his chest and he wouldn’t jump on the cliff with very unstable ground…and narrow. I went around the next bend and discovered a tree that no one would be able to get around with out endangering themselves. We had to turn back. The horses refused to go back over the first tree, so my husband was able to pry it around to at least rest on part of the trail and you can step over it now, but it isn’t stable.

San Francisquito Rd. to Lake Hughes Rd.

By: Paul Hacker
March 4th, 2014

Burned out area from North Bound Mile 483.4 to lake Hughes Road Mile 487.0
Loose Wheathered sand and gravel eroded and laying across the trail, forming a talus slope.
The trail was closed from San Francisquito to Past Lake Hughes road. We saw no posting until we reached Lake Hughes Road. Ranger informed us that he had posted at San Francisquito Road.
Trail was fine to Road 7N01 (Lake Hughes Truck Road). Could descend to Pine Canyon Road from there. Point #6 On Map G4 from Eric the Black’s guide book.
Paul & Trish Hacker
1/26/2014