Section E

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.

Flashfloods and trail erosion HWY 58 South to the Aqueduct

By: Jim R.
October 20th, 2015

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.

11-13 March 2015: Cottonwood Creek to Highway 58

By: Joe "Blue Feather" Waters
March 18th, 2015

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.

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

Temporary route

By: James Grier
November 12th, 2013

LA Department of Water and Power will be excavating next week for construction work at the new Neenach pumping station. The work area will be on the LADWP aqueduct road just East of the LADWP aqueduct and just North of the California aqueduct. They will install a temporary fence and signage to direct any hikers that may be coming through the area. The fence and signage will direct hikers to stay to the West of the work area for approximately 300’.


Aqua Dulce to Bouquet Canyon Road

By: Daytripper
March 29th, 2013

Dayhiked Sobo from Bouquet Canyon Road (mile 465.5) to Aqua Dulce (Mile 454.5) 3/28/13. Trail tread and corridor in good shape except around mile 462 where trail follows undulating ridgeline motorcycle track. Bear Spring (463.2) flowing at ~ 1 liter/min from white pipe 15 feet above trail; water in trough below trail stagnant, disgusting. Beware of stinging nettle near spring. Small population of native succulent Dudleya in rocks 50 yards N of Bear Spring. Bouquet Canyon Road cache (on trail, 50 ft before road) has four newly placed gallon water bottles (one-time event). Trail register at Mint Canyon (458.5) has a found Ford key in register box. Sweetwater Cafe (454.5) hiker-friendly, as usual.

Bouquet Canyon Road to San Francisquito Canyon Road

By: Daytripper
March 4th, 2013

On 3/3/13 dayhiked from Bouquet Canyon Road (mile 465.5) nobo to San Franscisquito Canyon Road (mile 478). Trail generally in good shape. Mountain bike tracks common miles 465.5 to 469.5. Oasis Cache (mile 471.5) not yet stocked with water or beverages but plenty of chairs and shade. Forest Service Road 6N09 that crosses PCT near Oasis Cache recently graded. Ample parking near trail crossing of both Bouquet Canyon Road and San Franscisquito Canyon Road. Two small populations of California native succulent Dudleya lanceolata noted in rocks near mile 468 and mile 474. Mileage points based on Halfmile’s waypoints.

Cottonwood bridge – Willow Springs Road

By: Daytripper
February 19th, 2013

February 15-16, 2013. Hiked PCT mile 535 (Cottonwood Creek Trailhead) to mile 558 (Willow Springs Road Trailhead). Route now well marked with new posts bearing PCT emblem along entire length of this segment. Hiker/equestrian friendly new gate installed in barb-wire fence at mile 536. PCT posts on both sides of most new roads constructed in the windfarm (miles 535-540) reduce confusion. Motorcycle tracks common from Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541) to near mile 552. Trail tread between Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541) and Gamble Spring Canyon (mile 545) in poor shape; much erosion and damage due to motorcycle use (equestrians could have difficultly). Switchbacks Nobo from Gamble Springs Canyon in better shape with less erosion. Trail travels through Canyon Fire (ignited by fatal plane crash September 4, 2011) burn area (miles 548 – 556). Mature pinyon pine forest severely burned. Trail through burn has been extensively cleared of dead trees; only about 10 newly fallen trees across trail. List of numerous Tehachapi trail angel names/phone numbers posted on telephone pole at Willow Springs Trailhead parking area (mile 558).

Water: Did not check water faucet south of Cottonwood bridge at mile 535 (no water from faucet in October 2012) . Cache north of bridge in one-sided shelter (mile 535) limited to three newly placed gallon water jugs. Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541.5) has flowing water (1 ft wide, 1 inch deep) with algae on bottom. Gamble Spring Canyon dry. Recently placed water cache (mile 549) at 6240 ft elevation (soon after end of climb out of Gamble Spring Canyon) consisting of about fifteen 20 ounce store-bought water bottles, folding lawn chair, trash bag, and faded sign indicated cache established by Dr. ? (unreadable) and Larry. Tiger tank shower (mile 551) dry. Water flowing in Oak Creek (mile 558) about four feet wide, 6 inches deep, with algae. Water cache at Willow Springs Rd. trailhead (mile 558) in ice chest with a few gallons of water. Daytripper.