Cone Peak Loop trail

Page Type
Trip Report
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Mar 31, 2005
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69.64% Score
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Created On: Apr 5, 2005
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The fairly easy ~2 mile ascent to Cone Peak can be turned into an ~ 6 mile hike by taking the Trail Springs Loop, 0.25 miles below Cone Peak Summit. This trail drops into the Ventana Wilderness and ultimately connects to the Crest Ridge trail. In contrast to the Cone Peak trail, Trail Springs is very faint, off-camber and choked with brush. Several large Madrones and Oaks have blown down and span the trail making for slow going. You'll see the junction with Crest Ridge trail but if you were to do the route in reverse (NOT advisable) look for the cairn we left at the junction of Trail Springs loop - you'll not recognize the turnoff as such.

Parts of the Crest Ridge trail to the trailhead are similarly obscured and at least one portion is potentially dangerous. Approximately 0.75 mi. from the road hikers have missed a switchback and worn a faint path (that looks remarkably like the rest of the trail) that continues along the contour of Cone Peak until it comes to a large rock slide. The slide is loose sand and leaf litter over granite - very slippery with a precipitous drop. IT SHOULD NOT BE CROSSED, though you may be tempted by being so close to the trailhead. Don't be fooled into thinking you're on trail by the pink ribbon tied to the oak just in front of the slide - although the trail looks as though it might continue on the other side of the slide, it does NOT. Like others, we missed the switchback and I tried hiking down along the slide to a point where I could get around it. Didn't happen. Even though at one point I was < 40 yards from the actual trail and looking down at it, I could not recognize it as such. We finally turned around in the hope that we'd missed a turnoff, but planning to hike the whole route in reverse to get out. Luckily, we saw the missed switchback after backtracking only a short way. We should've left a cairn there but at the time were unsure the trail went anywhere. When we realized it was the actual trail, we were too tired to return and mark it. Please do if you get there.


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