Equestrian Issue

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.

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).

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.

Belden equestrian TH to Poision Springs

By: Larry Kling
May 16th, 2013

Just finished three days logging out this section. We sure had a time of it with the fire damage especially between the Lassen boundary, and Mrytle flat. With two burns the lower section mile 1290.0 to 1294. looks like a war zone. Lower chips crossing is in bad shape with a steep entry washout and holes up to our stirrups. Lots of brush along chips creek and about a mile more of tick infested brush. Fair amount of snow below poison springs. After 99 trees over 5inchs and tons of brushing the trail is open for all including horses to about 300 yards below poison springs. I am very thankful for my partner Jerry Smith who worked above and beyond the call of duty on this one.

Deep Creek former closure

By: Jack Haskel
January 18th, 2013

The Deep Creek detour is a 14.2 mile detour bypassing 15.7 miles of the PCT damaged by winter storms in December of 2010. The storms caused landslides across steep sections of the trail and damaged several bridges North of WR297 including the Deep Creek bridge. The damaged sections and bridges are structurally unsound. Substantial repairs are in progress. Please travel the detour around the area. View a map of the Deep Creek detour.

After much trail reconstruction, the Deep Creek closure has been lifted! As always, we warn you that Deep Creek is not recommended for equestrians.