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 by-pass for the endangered species in Angeles Forest says equestrians should use this, but under no circumstance should any equestrian use any part of this. Even hikers should beware since there has been severe erosion on much of the Punchbowl trail portion before some of the heavy rains that have come since I inspected this. Have been working on getting volunteer support for this but none so far. Equestrian, especially any with Pack animals should continue on the trail till Eagles Roost and walk the Highway 2 till Cloudburst Summit. If done during the week in the morning not much traffic to worry about. Going down by Buckhorn to Littlerock creek has some tight areas for any packs so the extra mile or so highway is better from Buckhorn to Cloudburst. Hikers may want to consider the highway also to Buckhorn.
There are about a dozen pinyon pines down across the trail between Walker Pass and mile 657.
The Deep Creek portion of the trail from HWY 173 to the hot springs had significant rock falls after the storms earlier in the month and now even more withe the last storm on Jan 22. There is something every half mile or so and some are almost impassable
The trail within the National Park is in perfect condition, however there is a significant number of blown down logs across the trail in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Many logs to go around between the park boundary and Sevenmile Trail (1802) and again between Snow Lakes Trail and Mt. McLoughlin Trail. The only good water on trail is near Cliff Lake (1798) and Christi Spring (1782), Honeymoon Creek is stagnant and Jack Spring is putrid.
Heading North, trail had some trees across the trail north of Urich Cabin but easy to cross or bypass other than one large tree four miles south of Snoqualmie. Cut a bypass trail around it. Entire section is passable with stock as of Aug. 21,2016.
The summer is coming very late this year and both natural conditions and trail maintenance are not yet to where they would be for a July hike. Several pieces of the trail have significant amounts of large downed trees, notably south of Deep Lake to Waptus Trail 1310, and from Lemah Creek south to Spectacle Lake. While most are passable by hikers (only once did I have to remove my pack), it will slow travel time significantly. Between Waptus and Escondido Ridge, the brush was thick enough to slow you down also. This stretch is impassable by stock.
Water levels are high for this time of year. The “potentially treacherous” ford just south of Deception Pass is still quite high and I have no idea how one hiker we met barely got his feet wet (he said he went far downstream). Everyone else got a thigh-high soak in cold, swift water. Many streams and creeks required knee high wet crossings where normally you could boulder hop or wade ankle deep.
Snow is still sitting in patches and in some cases in 1/8 mile traverses in the bowls at high elevation (Chickamin Ridge especially). You can see the trail, so you won’t get lost though, and it is crossable and good condition midday if you are comfortable with snow.
Bugs were really not bad with recent rain and cold. Deception Lake was awful, plan not to stop there yet. Temperatures were in the 50s by day and 40s at night.
All in all, this section’s challenges are as though it is late June, rather than July.
Eagle Creek Trail is fine. Tish Creek Bridge is out on this PCT alternate but it is an easy 2 rock hop across, very low water. Much snow from 5500′ south of Ramona Falls to Timberline Lodge…have a good GPS. last, over 50 trees down and 2 glacial stream crossings make this a slower section…scout well.
- Equestrian issue
- Extreme hazard
- Snow conditions
- Trail Closure
- Trail maintenance issue
- Water conditions
- Central California
- Northern California
- Southern California