“A singletrack trail shaded by an oak grove that follows a creek with stunning views of the Silver Peaks Wilderness.”
— Chris Fa
Features: River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Waterfall
Poison oak, yucca, landslides, and intense heat...have fun.
Getting there: Coming from Ragged Point, continue north on SR1 for 3.7 miles to Salmon Creek Trailhead/Salmon Falls and park at the dirt pull-off or at the ranger station parking lot. The SR1 is closed 0.25 miles past the trailhead so getting to this trailhead from the north is currently impossible.
Conditions: Miles 0-3 to Estrella Camp are relatively a well-maintained, well-trod wilderness freeway. It is clear of brush, and the trail is narrow, but stable. This section of the trail is in a pleasant oak grove and follows Salmon Creek. Miles 3-4.5 are rough with brush (including poison oak) encroaching on the trail, loose dirt, and a narrow trail. It is passable, but not pleasant. This section climbs away from Salmon Creek so the ecology rapidly changes, becoming more exposed/hot as you transition from Oak to shrubs. Miles 4.5-5.5 are very nice as it looks like a trail crew has undertaken major brush clearing. The brush becomes thinner in general as you near the ridge and allows for very good views. Conditions are variable and brush and mudslides are more likely to be a problem in the spring and summer. Climbing from the coast results in a severe temperature spike. Looking at the weather reports for Big Sur or Ragged Point are likely to underestimate the temperature by at least 20-degrees F on a typical day.
Directions: From the Salmon Creek Trailhead, jump the guardrail and continue uphill. About 0.1 miles in, the trail for the falls and Salmon Creek Trail splits. Follow signs to Estrella Camp and Coast Ridge Road; stay right, and continue uphill. Continue on an easy-to-follow trail until the split with Spruce Creek Trail at 1.7 miles. Stay left and continue downhill. Shortly after, you'll encounter Spruce Creek Camp and cross the creek. There are many use trails around the camp so continue straight and stay on a small ridge on the left side of the river. The next landmark is Estrella Camp at 3.0 miles. After crossing the river at Estrella Camp, the trail continues uphill and departs from the river. The trail from here is obvious but often overgrown. It terminates at the Coast Ridge Road.