Extreme Hazard

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.

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

Ashland smoke

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By: Puppy / Caroline
July 31st, 2013

I can’t say any more than that residents of Ashkand are complaining about forest fire smoke. I dont know where from. Can’t mean good things for area trail, or people wanting to go into town. Being in the woods (implement 1457.5) it’s difficult to research. Wish it were easier to find info. I see smoke all around Shasta, and worry about this, also.

[EDITOR: The smoke is likely coming from the fires in Southern Oregon. They’re well west of the trail. inciweb.org is the main source for fire information that doesn’t directly threaten the PCT.]

Bouquet Canyon to Mill Creek Summit PCT 4/3-6/13

By: White Hatter (Tom Weaver)
April 8th, 2013

I just got back from a 4-day PCT backpack trip southbound from Bouquet Canyon to Mill Creek Summit. I sent a separate report on water conditions, but wanted to report here on the Poddle Dog Bush situation in Northern Section D.

Hiking south the Poddle Dog Bush starts a mile south of Maddox Canyon at about mile 439. There is also some poison oak, but both are easily avoidable until just south of the North Fork Ranger Station at mile 436.3. Beyond that, it becomes increasing difficult to avoid. I thought I just barely had, but I later noticed a couple of small patches of rash, so maybe not. It looks like the Poddle Dog Bush is growing fast, so I suspect that this section will soon become “impassable.”

I decided to take the next fire road I came to at mile 433.5 and followed it roughly parallel to the PCT all the way to Mill Creek Summit at mile 418.7. I would have taken fire roads all the way from North Fork Ranger Station if I had known how bad the Poddle Dog Bush was going to be. As it was, it densely lined the fire roads and even arched 3-4′ into them in places!

Other than that, the trail was in good shape, the wild flowers blooming, and the temperatures still fairly mild.

Danger of marijuana cultivation on the Pacific Crest Trail

By: Jack Haskel
April 5th, 2013

While only a fraction of our public lands are affected by illegal marijuana cultivation, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Forest Service and our other agency partners believe that safety risks are real and everyone should be informed about them. Dangerous marijuana cultivation sites may be present on the Pacific Crest Trail corridor, especially in Southern California, but also all along the trail.

The safety of Pacific Crest Trail visitors, volunteers and employees is our top priority. Marijuana cultivation occurs on some public land and it’s important for everyone to be aware of their surroundings.

The disturbances that marijuana cultivation makes on natural resources causes extensive and long-term damage to ecosystems and impacts the supplies of public drinking water for hundreds of miles. Growers clear native vegetation before planting and sometimes use miles of black plastic tubing to transport large volumes of water from creeks that are often dammed for irrigation. The use of banned herbicides and pesticides by marijuana growers kill wildlife and competing vegetation. This loss of vegetation allows rainwater to erode the soil and wash poisons, human waste, and trash from the grow sites into streams and rivers.

Here are some clues that you may have come across a marijuana cultivation site:

  • Sometimes marijuana smells like a skunk on hot days.
  • Hoses or drip lines located in unusual or unexpected places.
  • A well-used trail where there shouldn’t be one.
  • People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual.
  • Grow sites are usually found in isolated locations, in rough steep terrain.
  • Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food, fertilizer, weapons, garbage, rat poison, and/or dead animals.
  • Small propane bottles, which are used to avoid the detection of wood smoke.
  • Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season.

As soon as you become aware that you have come upon a cultivation site, back out immediately. Never engage the growers as these are extremely dangerous people. If you can identify a landmark or record a GPS coordinate, that’s very helpful. The growers may be present and may or may not know that you have found their grow site.

Get to a safe place and report as much detail about the location and incident as you can recall to any uniformed land agency employee or to the local law enforcement agency. Please also notify the PCTA. Leave the way you came in, and make as little noise as possible.



U.S. Forest Service. (2011). Be Safe on Our Public Lands – What to do if you Encounter a Marijuana Cultivation Site. Retrieved from http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5324909

Poodle-Dog Bush extreme hazard

By: Jack Haskel
January 18th, 2013

Be aware of the existence of Poodle-Dog Bush on the trail. Some people are extremely allergic to it. Read the full warning, watch a video and see an alternate map on our blog.

Various reports from 2012 hikers have bad Poodle-Dog Bush on the PCT starting around either mile 419 or 421 or 425 and extending through Messenger Flat at mile 430.6. To avoid Poodle-Dog Bush, some hikers are detouring off the PCT either at the Mill Creek Ranger Station [mile 418.8] or Mount Gleason Rd [mile 421.4] or the dirt road at mile 425.1 [follow the dirt road 4/10 mile S to Mount Gleason Rd] and then following Mount Gleason Rd to Messenger Flat.