From approximately mile 544.5-546.5 the trail is eroded in many places on the steep switchbacks, often to the point of the trail being almost nonexistent. The steep incline and unstable sand makes the tread very dangerous for hikers and probably impassable for equestrians.
The PCT is open again in the Powerhouse Fire burn area. Thank you to all of you who volunteered in the area! It was a lot of work.
Parts of the pct in pearablossom California in the Devils chair section have become very slippery and dangerous. I recommend something to help with slipping.
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.
The Trail Gorillas have started working on the damage from the flash flood in October. So far we have redug tread and brushed from San Francisquito to mile 476. 3. We also repaired all the washouts in that section. We plan on continuing with that work going trail south throughout the winter.
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.
Pete and I met two South Bounders this weekend who indicated pretty severe damage Hwy 58 South to Willow Springs Road with damage somewhat less severe continuing to the Aqueduct. They showed pictures of gullies that appeared to be 2 feet deep and slides covering large portions of the trail. They indicated the switch backs are gone. I plan to go take a look for myself soon.
The good news is that I scouted from mile 505 to 518 Friday and found no significant erosion damage from the recent storm even though Lake Hughes Road a short distance away remains closed. The bad news is that there was a large slide in Green Valley on Francisquito. This indicates the area of the fire closure between Lake Hughes Road and Francisquito is likely damaged.
On 11-13 March2015 I hiked from Cottonwood Creek to Highway 58. Trail in good condition. But a few places between Tylerhorse Canyon and Gamble Spring Canyon where one should be especially cautious with stock. Water: (1) Tylerhorse Canyon very small flow, (2) Tiger Tank dry, water shut off, (3) Oak Creek very small flow, with algae. I carried all my water (9 liters, consumed 8) for this stretch, and was glad I did.
- Equestrian issue
- Extreme hazard
- Snow conditions
- Trail Closure
- Trail maintenance issue
- Water conditions
- Central California
- Northern California
- Southern California