Pfeiffer Gulch (Canyon) Bridge, photo CalTrans
Hello Los Padres,
- Most of the Monterey Ranger District remains closed due to the summer 2016 Soberanes Fire Closure. There are rumors of the closure being adjusted to include only the western portion of the fire boundary but as of now the closure order remains intact. This will no doubt influence the A-Zone South hunting season which opens at sunrise August 12 as hunters will be forced to other parts of the forest/region. We’ll keep you posted as soon as any changes are announced with the Soberanes closure.
- Access along Highway 1 has improved but remains closed at both Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and Mud Creek.
- Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is located just south of Big Sur Station and was famously demolished earlier this year after it was discovered structurally unsound. Great progress has been made rebuilding the bridge and it is on schedule to reopen by October.
- Also famously (recurring theme), a bypass trail was built around the failed bridge so that workers and residents could pass from one side to the other. This bypass trail was initially only open for residents and workers but was opened to the public on July 1. The public can now park near either side of the bridge and walk around to the other side. Shuttle services are available to help usher tourists to and from the bypass trail.
- Mud Creek, which again famously demolished a 1/3 mile chunk of Hwy 1 in May 2017, remains closed and won’t be reopened until sometime in 2018. CalTrans is working on a plan to rebuild the new road over the slide.
- The other major slide named Paul’s Slide has been reopened with a single lane allowing vehicles to pass 24hrs a day 7 days a week.
- Pfeiffer Beach access remains closed due to both Sycamore Canyon Road damage as well as the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge closure.
- All said, you can now drive north from SLO all the way to Salmon Creek Guard Station. You can drive south from Monterey as far as Big Sur Station. You can also drive over Nacimiento-Fergusson Road from Hunter-Liggett to access Hwy 1 and from there head north as far as the Big Sur Taphouse and south as far as Mud Creek. Confusing, isn’t it. Here’s a map that might help.
The newly minted Bypass Trail (aka Taphouse Trail), a shining example of community’ism.
- All State Parks and Los Padres Campgrounds / Dayuse areas along Hwy 1 are open. Now that being said, there are certain parts of the parks and campgrounds that remain closed due to winter damage. If you are heading out that way to camp, BE SURE TO HAVE RESERVATIONS (note the new State Parks reservation service).
- One rather large issue in recent years has been campers coming to Big Sur without reservations and having no place to camp or stay. As a result many of these campers are ‘forced’ to camp illegally along roads or in turnouts. The road most heavily impacted by the illegal camping has been Nacimiento-Ferguson Road. It’s been well documented that illegal campers have left trash-piles, campfires and make-shift toilets along the sides of Nacimiento-Ferguson Road and as a result the Forest Service responded today by prohibiting dispersed camping along Nacimiento-Ferguson.
Doesn’t sound very dog days’ish does it…? The Big Sur Coast is the most highly visited portion of the Los Padres Forest and for good reason – it is absolutely spectacular. It’s unfortunate that not everyone cares for Big Sur the way most locals do. And it’s equally important to step back and put yourself in the shoes of the people who come to visit Big Sur. There is a great saying: come with solutions not problems. Progress is being made.
West Cuesta View
• Cherry Creek Road off Hwy 33 in Ventura County is usually opened seasonally on August 1 but due to gate damage has not yet opened this year. We’ll keep you posted.
• Once again, A-Zone South general hunting season starts August 12 and lasts through September 24. A-Zone includes most of the Los Padres. For those of you new to hunting season, expect more people camping around the trailheads and more activity both at sunrise and sunset.
• Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is hosting a talk on August 12 on the geology of caves, volcanos, mountains and more. Show starts at 11am, this is a great event for the kids and adults alike.