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Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Leisurely Big Sur on 03/06/2012 11:27:09 MST Print View

I've been put in charge of planning a 3 day, 2 night trip to Big Sur in late April with some friends. There will be 6 of us with varying degrees of backpacking experience, so it'll be more of a social trip. We're looking for about 8 miles per day. Some prefer the idea of a layover day in the middle, but that's not required. Any ideas?

I was considering hiking to Barlow Flats camp, with a day hike to Sykes on the layover day. My concern is the crowds, but do you think there would be a lot of people there Sunday afternoon or is Saturday the busy day and most people would be hiking out on Sunday? The one time I was at Sykes we did it this way and there was only one other couple there, but that was in November and I'm not sure if we just got lucky.

I was also considering a hike from Botchers Gap to Pat Springs, with a day hike to Ventana Double Cone on the layover day, but that might be a bit much for some in the group and I think the conditions might not be so great on that trail. Are there other worthwhile day hikes from Pat Springs that you would recommend if we camped there?

Thanks!

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
you got it on 03/06/2012 13:17:52 MST Print View

Barlow for 2 nights, with day hike to Sykes as second day is nice. One caveat, Barlow is close to the trailhead, I wouldn't leave all the gear there unattended all day if I were you, there's a fair number of travelers who use the closer parts of Ventana to spend some weeks. Ie, leave someone there, or if you are traveling UL, just pack it up and take it along. Barlow is a great spot to hang out in though, the water is cold this time of year so it's probably not fun to swim the canyons and pools.

Another thing you can do is park at China Camp trailhead, then hike in to Bear Valley, Divide, or Pine Valley camps and take day trips from there. The advantage there is not having to hike up the thousands of feet of first day climbing from Botcher's Gap. Disadvantage is not being in the lower valley redwood ecosystem, but more of an alpine one. I read a recent trip report to Pat Springs, apparently a lot of dead fall all over from the fire, I haven' been there recently so can't say from firsthand. If you do park at China camp trailhead, make sure not to leave anything theft-worthy in the car, or visible.

Here's a nice tool:
google topo map of ventana (can't make it clickable, silly forum software...)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=http:%2F%2Fwww.ventanahiking.net%2Fventana_trailmap.kmz&sll=36.099816,-121.557839&sspn=0.751193,0.97641&ie=UTF8&ll=36.100157,-121.578827&spn=0.751193,0.97641&t=p&z=10
and for specific trail status: www.ventanawild.org

As always, remember poison oak and lyme bearing deer ticks. Tick nymphs start to appear April / May from what I read, and they are tiny, really really tiny, and also are the most infected percentage-wise compared to the adults.

Edited by hhope on 03/06/2012 13:20:29 MST.