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Upper Santa Cruz Trail

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Diane
Guru at the summit


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 836
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Upper Santa Cruz Trail
Post Posted: March Sat 26, 2005 6:29 pm
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Post your update here or from Bryan's Interactive Backcountry Map.
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Diane
Guru at the summit


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 836
Location: Santa Barbara, CA


Post Posted: November Sun 27, 2005 6:44 pm
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The trail from Mission Pine to Coche gets brushier and worse the closer you get to Coche. The width of the trail is probably too narrow for horses toward the bottom. There's also a small slide very close to the bottom where I nearly stepped into thin air.

Between Coche and Santa Cruz Station it's a bit overgrown with raspberry and poison oak and there's a downed tree, but it's easy to follow. If you're headed toward Coche there is a fork in the trail you can see on the map but it is not marked by a sign. The right fork goes to Coche but the left fork does not. Further along there's another faint branching in the trail. The middle one is the one you want.
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Bryan
I live on the trails


Joined: 27 Mar 2006
Posts: 233
Location: Goleta

Santa Cruz Camp to Flores Flat
Post Posted: January Tue 17, 2006 8:39 pm
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The trail from Santa Cruz Camp to Roma Potrero Saddle was recently cleared (most likely 12/14/05) and is in fantastic freeway-like shape other than the 6 to 10 large manzanita trees that are laying across the trail. The fallen trees will do little more than slow down hikers but they are impassable for equestrians. Some of them are big! From Roma down to Flores the trail gradually worsens in overall quality but is unobstructed and smooth sailing. LOTS OF TICKS!
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Bryan
I live on the trails


Joined: 27 Mar 2006
Posts: 233
Location: Goleta


Post Posted: May Sun 17, 2009 8:31 pm
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Hiked in late March - sorry for the delay. From SCGS to Flores expect lots of high grasses but good enough to get through. Flores up to Grapevine is not so good. We flagged a lot of it and one should be able to follow the general trail. Expect to take some time through this section. After Grapevine the trail gets a little worse until the beginning of the climb. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE "TRAIL" SIGN THAT POINTS TOWARDS THE START OF THE CLIMB, EASY TO MISS. There is a BIG washout about a mile up from the creek towards MPB. After that the trail to the top is fine by current standards.
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

Thanksgiving Hike
Post Posted: January Sat 02, 2010 8:44 pm
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On Nov 28, a surprise snowstorm at Mission Pine Basin (MPB) Campsite dashed out plans to hike down the Fall trail to South Fork. After an hour of searching around Cooper Summit, we could not find the Fall Trail so we headed to lower elevation at Santa Cruz Station.

The trail route from MPB Camp to Coche Camp was burned in the Zaca Fire, however the trail tread was still visible. Unfortunately, a large erosion gully has taken out 50 feet of trail about 1/2 mile before the creek crossing and Coche Camp. We decided to cross country down to the creek and then proceeded to push through a lot of vegetation to Flores Flats Camp. We found a few of Bryan's flags (see posting below) but it was tough going. The trail from Flores flats to Santa Cruz Station is passable for hikers only.

I took pictures of our whole trip from McKinley Saddle to Upper Oso, to include the upper Santa Cruz Trail.


http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/2009MissionPineBasin#

Happy Trails.
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Cross Tie Walker
I live on the trails


Joined: 21 Jul 2010
Posts: 185


Post Posted: August Mon 01, 2011 9:31 am
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As part of a longer trip (see http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/community/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=884&s id=b56ca68812c70a19e9420f5d0e7e7a13), ZK and I hiked the length of the Santa Cruz Trail week before last.



Trail conditions from MPB to the drop-off along the upper Santa Cruz were fine; the cairns were a life-saver. Did some very minor clipping of a few scrub oaks. Once into the brush it's very followable, though quite overgrown with yerba buena (I can think of a million other plants that would be worse, so no real complaints there). Found a cell phone sweet-spot halfway down which I've marked with a cairn. The re-route around the slide is great, but still a bit loose given the trailbed is so new. Gopher hole-riddled, of course. The trail from the first intermittent stream ~1/2 mile up from Coche to the Grapevine Junction is great, but a bit loose. 1 rattlesnake. Still plenty of water in the creeks.

From Grapevine to Flores, the trail is in surprisingly nice condition; 2 trees down (one an easy step-over, the other a bit of a climb-over). We clipped some of the creek crossings.

Beyond Flores (after the crossing and a bit of climbing), it all went to hell. We were up to our beards in star thistle and the dried mustard (?) was ~7 feet high. Insanely overgrown, and it didn't relent until just as we reached the high piece of Roma Potrero. Very tiring to push through.

From Roma Pot down, it's brushy, but easily followable. A downed tree one drainage up from the gate as you drop toward Black Cyn; we clipped it enough that one can crawl under (barely), but definitely not passable to stock. 1 rattlesnake.

Had Santa Cruz Station all to ourselves; awesome.

CTW
boots
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Cross Tie Walker
I live on the trails


Joined: 21 Jul 2010
Posts: 185


Post Posted: August Mon 01, 2011 9:35 am
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Missed the last portion ...

From Santa Cruz Station, we cleared a tree along the switchbacks between the station and 40 Mile Wall; the riparian and north-facing sections from the upper end of the wall to the lower Happy Hollow junction are thick with growth; we clipped for some time until the heat was starting to get to me, and then I just focused on avoiding PO and snakes (rattler no. 3 was along the Wall). Lots of sketchy section along the crib-walled sections and the seeps and springs here. A burned Coulter ~20 in. diameter across the trail along the stretch near the victory outcrop amongst all the serpentine rock.

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toejam
I live on the trails


Joined: 08 Jun 2009
Posts: 123
Location: Pismo!


Post Posted: November Mon 19, 2012 7:29 am
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Trail conditions deteriorate after crossing Alexander Saddle headed north. You can find an old sign for the Happy Hollow Connector laying on the ground, but I couldn't find the trail. After that the tread is faint, takes a turn left towards Little Pine Spring and crosses the meadow on the slope. This was really difficult to follow in the spring, but right now is trampled and flagged. Little Pine Spring is way down the drainage - don't try to cross until you see the picnic table. Reliable water there.

After circling the hillside in the meadow, maintaining roughly the same elevation, the trail enters the brush by a fallen tree. It drops gently across the brushy face of the mountain to meet the top of the '40-mile wall'. This section is brushy & tight, but easy enough to follow if you can find either end. The trail across the wall is narrow and loose in spots - although easy to follow, the footing is generally tedious. You'll welcome the shade when the trail finally drops into Santa Cruz Canyon.

From Santa Cruz Station to Coche has been recently worked and is in great shape until it meets Coche Creek, where it is in decent shape and flagged. Kellogg Camp is newly remodeled and a much nicer spot than Coche Camp. I haven't hiked above Coche, but hear it's rough.
hills
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: May Tue 21, 2013 1:30 pm
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10 men and 20 mules and horses traveled on this trail from Kellogg Camp up to Mission Pine Basin in late April. The trail was in surprisingly good shape. There was some brush in the way on the climb out of Coche Camp, but we cut a lot of it out. It's still a bit brushy, but by Los Padres standards it is in fine shape.
Also, someone has improved Kellogg Camp quite a bit in the not-too-distant past. There is now a good grill and table there as well as other improvements. Go check it out!
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