Section E

San Francisquito Canyon Road to Lake Hughes Road

By: Daytripper
January 19th, 2013

Dayhiked from San Francisquito Canyon Road (mile 478.5) to Lake Hughes Road (mile 486.5). Trail tread and corridor in great shape. Fresh mountain bike tracks miles 481-486. Picnic table and wooden cabinet with PCT emblem located 50 yards east of Lake Hughes Road appear relatively new. Water cache in cabinet mostly empty. Small population of native succulent Dudleya cymosa in limestone rocks near mile 485. Parking area large enough for 5 cars on Lake Hughes Road 100 yards N of PCT crossing. Parking on San Francisquito Canyon Road on raised road shoulder at PCT crossing or 275 yards south at Forest Service facility.

November 13, 2012

By: D. Curtis Stenger

Hiked mile 486 (Hughes Lake Road) to mile 510 (Pine Canyon Road) Nov. 10-12. Trail condition generally in very good shape (a thanks to volunteers and USFS). Only a dozen spots (all very short) where brush beginning to close in on trail. Mountain bike and motorcycle tracks common from mile 490 to mile 506; encountered three motorcyclists and two mountain bikers on trail. Installation of motorcycle barriers at numerous road crossings would be beneficial (yes, I know, send money!). BSA Camp (mile 490) signed; location of Maxwell Trail Camp (mile 493.5) was not obvious; trail to Upper Shake Camp (mile 493.5) signed; trail to Sawmill Camp (mile 498) signed; trail to Bear Camp (mile 504) not signed but obvious; Horse Trail Camp (mile 508) signed. Spring at mile 488 dripping slowly. Water guzzlers at mile 494 and 503 in good shape but little to no water. Watertank at mile 503 with some water (~6” deep), appeared clear. Did not inspect watertank at mile 497. Trail generally well marked with exception of a trail junction at ~mile 505.5: PCT continues straight (west and level); well-worn lateral trail to right (north, descending) not on maps. The “500 mile” marker is placed near Halfmile’s mile 501 waypoint.

 

October 29, 2012

By: D. Curtis Stenger

10/28/12. If driving to Mile 535 trailhead, note that construction of new roads for wind farm has changed landscape (latest Google Earth image from July 2011 significantly out of date). Trailhead parking at mile 535 accessible (from south on 170th St West) by standard vehicle, no high clearance needed. Also note electrical interference from windmills appeared to effect GPS device accuracy near mile 535.

 

October 6, 2012

By: D. Curtis Stenger

Trail between mile 510 and 513 recently (likely this season) cleared of brush. Brush beginning to encroach on trail between mile 513 and mile 517. Short dirt road parking access off Pine Canyon Road (mile 510), just inside Angeles NF boundary with some ruts but passable to standard vehicles. Mileage points based on Halfmile’s waypoints.

March 25, 2012

(3/21-23/12) I just completed the northern 50 miles of Section E from Hikertown to Highway 58 . It looked from the logbooks like I was the second section hiker through there so far this year. I went thru 3-5 days after a major rain/snowstorm that dumped several inches of snow in Tehachapi, but melted very quickly leaving only a few persistent snow patches that were easily traversed.

Here is the water I found (or not): 3/21/12 — Cottonwood Creek Bridge : Faucett is OFF! It turned easily and looked in good repair but no water came out. Also no dripping pipes, but fortunately I found a 2 gallon cache in the open air shelter, of which I took 3 liters. 3/22/12 — Tylerhorse Canyon — No flow at all! — at least not anywhere near where the trail crosses the creek. I did find a patch of slushy snow nearby to melt for water, which worked well for me but is not likely to last long. 3/23/12 — Tiger Tank — No sign of this. Probably removed by windmill construction. 3/23/12 — Oak Creek — Lots of water and also a 5 gallon cache in a cooler
at the trailhead labeled “Water for PCT Hikers.” 3/23/12 — Highway 58 — No obvious cache, but I didn’t look hard.

The trail was well marked in places and imperceptible in others. I had to sometimes judge by the lay of the land where it was likely to become perceptible again. Tracks made by cows and motorcycles often criss-cross the PCT in a confusing way.

New windmill construction appears to have graded over and barb-wire fenced across parts of the trail around mile 537. No obvious detour was marked around this area — so I went back to using map and compass. Other than that, it was a beautiful and relatively cool time to cross the Mohave!

October 9, 2011

Friday I day-hiked north from the waterhole on the LA aqueduct (E12) to Tylerhorse Canyon and found the area nearly inaccessible due to heavy construction. There is considerable grading throughout the area by Bittner Energy (a future windfarm?), including the equivalent of two 2-lane dirt roads across the PCT and a wire

fence across the trail (although there may be a future gate).

The good news – Tylerhorse had substantial water flow.

September 26, 2011

Just north of Agua Dulce, where the trail picks up just north of Sierra Hwy, you hike under the high voltage transmission lines for a short distance, then there is a fork, where PCT goes to the left. A replacement sign is needed at this fork, as there isn’t one there now, except a crude hand-painted wood sign with “PCT” on it. Very easy to miss, as I did 🙁

A few miles later, probably 1-2 miles beyond the metal stand with the trail log/book, there is another fork that needs a sign. At this point, a sign for the California Riding & Hiking Trail appears to cut through the PCT, and without a PCT sign at that intersection, it’s hard to know which direction to go. (A short distance further there is a typical green metal post, but it doesn’t have any PCT stickers or markings on it.)

Assuming PCT goes straight on ahead (and doesn’t follow the direction of the Calif. Riding/Hiking Trail, in a few miles you reach the ridge where a fire break was bulldozed through presumably in the past couple years — at this point it’s virtually impossible for the newbie PCT hiker to know where to go. As a result, at this point, I had to turn around.