Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Silver Peak Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Lots of Sun exposure the 1st mile with steep switchbacks. The views are amazing. After 1 mile you are in trees the rest of the way. The oaks r gorgeous the redwoods r gorgeous there is even a freak eucalyptus grove at the top by the picnic table. Awesome fau

Slides from 2 years ago and handled. Little water on way down from Lion Den but some.

Nice one nighter, great for a quick getaway or a nice first time backpacking trip. Trail was recently groomed. Water, minor trickle at Buckeye camp, steady usable flow at Cruikshank camp.

This trail was.....ok. I believe if you follow the red line to a T, it takes you well past Upper Cruickshank Campground and on your way to Villa Campground (not worth the extra 300-400 feet of decline/incline, unless you are really camping there). I also tried going to the right at the Upper Campground sign because of the photo point shown, but there was no photographic overlooks at that point, so I recommend skipping it. Unfortunately for me, there was major cloud cover that day so i was unable to see the sweeping vista views of the shore/water. Kind of a meh trail compared to others I did in the area, but definitely a great workout!

While not physically demanding, this trail presented challenges for me because I don't like narrow trails with steep ledges, and at least half of the distance to Villa Creek has steep drops. Beautiful trail with great views and diversity. We were backpacking but the spring at Buckeye Creek is running strong - follow the creek upstream, you will find it. Bring a filter that doesn't require pumping. Buckeye Creek is a beautiful place to camp, better than Cruickshank. I hiked down to Villa Creek but I did not see the camp. VERY steep into Villa, I would not have wanted to bring my pack down into that (note: I'm one of those that can go up a hill all day, not so good on the downhill). There are some great viewpoint campsites, including just before Buckeye and about a mile beyond Buckeye right before going down into Cruickshank.. I will say that the AllTrails map includes trails that are not there. Use the Forest Service map at the beginning of the trail. All in all we really enjoyed this hike (except the narrow trail with a steep drop-off.)

Beautiful trail at the end of September. Lots of poison oak and very little water, but a great out and back overnight trip.

Trail was really well maintained, even ran into rangers twice. There were also at least 5 creek crossings with water still flowing. Amazing views.

3 months ago

Pretty rough hike! The first leg to buckeye is brutally steep and mostly exposed to the sun the whole time. We stopped many times when we found shade. From buckeye to villa isn't bad at all and I would say one should stay at villa it might be a smaller camp ground but it is so pretty and the river is so pretty. However both sites seem to have water.

Beautiful out and back along the coast! I backpacked but it is a feisable day hike too. Went for the new moon and got some amazing astro-shots. Only really saw about 5 other people. Definitely make sure to wear pants as there is a lot of poison oak in the understory and bring bug spray. There are a few creeks throughout that are flowing enough to get water from. The first half mile is switchbacks but it's less than a mile. Once you get up the Ridgeline the trail drops in to some old growth forests where you can see quite a few Redwoods. Overall a rewarding hike with beautiful scenery!

5 months ago

There is a person living under a tree briefly into this trail.

5 months ago

We went backpacking on Memorial weekend 2019. Set out Saturday morning and camped out at Buckeye camp that evening. The entire 3.5 miles to camp were an extreme incline. Very difficult for us new hikers. However, the trail and scenery are BEAUTIFUL. We pretty much had ocean views the entire way. I will just caution everyone of the poison oak. I came into contact with it and have a pretty nasty rash on my arm and back. It sucks!! So be careful. Also, Buckeye camp gets pretty packed, at least when we went. I would suggest leaving early for a decent camp spot.

6 months ago

Fun trail, and great for a first solo trip. There are terrific coastal views mixed with shaded parts of the trail. It's clearly defined at all places, although there was no turnoffs visible if you're hoping to cut over to Silver Peak. I camped at Buckeye under the tree. It was a stones throw away from a stream, but on my last night people did cut through to get the the pipe. Thursday was totally empty. Friday there were two pairs of campers (one in the meadow and another at north Buckeye). Very quite and the deer didn't mind us at all. On Satursday I only say two pairs of people coming up (and one was passing through to Lion's Den), and I know two pairs were leaving. I found it very private. There is moderate poison oak throughout, so definitely wear pants and bring poles. For the 1 mile stretch approaching Cruickshank Camp (4.3 miles on the AllTrails map) it's flourishing and you have to move slow to avoid contact. Don't forget to look up also! There were a few close calls inches from my head. Despite being very careful and rinsing off with TechNu after the first two nights, I ended up paying the man. Also, make sure to bring cover for bugs if you're not planning to be moving all the time. Will definitely repeat, and will try to take the larger loop to Villa Creek, Lions Den, and then down Salmon Creek next time. If you're just doing an overnight, might consider making camp at Buckeye and then light packing it to Villa or up Cruickshank. Sunset and sunrise overlooking the coast is hard to beat. Would be a 5 star if I hadn't gotten bit by PO...but well worth the toll.

Really beautiful trail! It’s a single person file for most of the trail but is well marked. We didn’t have any issues with ticks or poison oak but keep an eye out. You get beautiful coastal views the whole way. Lots of elevation change. The trailhead at (no longer used) salmon creek ranger station was easy to find and had overnight parking off the highway. The trailhead says it’s 7 miles to villa creek campground (14 miles RT) and that definitely felt more accurate than the alltrails mileage. There was plenty of water sources available but we found the best one to fill up at was right after buckeye campground, around mile 3.5 on the alltrails map.

Loved this trail, it was the right level of difficulty and the trails were very well kept. Beautiful Pacific Ocean views and wildflowers covering the foothills. Villa creek campsite is very well kept and features an amazing flowing creek surrounded by towering Redwoods; there were big enough pools for you to take a dip in if you can handle the cold! Met some other campers there and we all cooked, drank, and laughed around the fire pit all night. A great experience!

The most magical hike in 6 months and we do hundreds of hikes a year. Parking was easy. All streams very passable. Well maintained by rangers and volunteers. Breathtaking views of the coastline. Poppies as well!

washed out
10 months ago

The trail was easily navigable with only minor branches which had fallen over the trail and a few areas with some degradation due to erosion. Beautiful views from the vista point, but really the whole trail provides incredible scenery, especially after heavy rain.

Views the first third of the trail are beautiful. The rest of the trail is mostly wooded forest. Only saw two other hikers the whole time. Only heads up is that our doggo (who is on tick preventatives) still wound up with a few ticks. Definitely recommend long pants and big spray.

10 months ago

Great hike. Pretty much all alone. Had sex down by the river. Trail a little over run in spots but part of the charm

Got an early start this trail is exposed to sun first couple of mi. Heart starter switchbacks . Cool in the am . Trail is well maintained. Nice views from first peaks as with most Big Sur hikes steep outta the gate but the payoff is spectacular! Made it to upper Cruikshank camp ( one table and a fire pit...:) Had lunch and headed back down.

This is a tough little hike with spectacular views. Most hikes will give you glimpses of the views along the way but this baby saves all her beauty until the very end and it is grand.

Sun Apr 22 2018

My boyfriend and I took our first backpacking trip on this trail, and it was great for our first time. Not too long and a little elevation change was a good challenge. There were a lot of downed trees on the trail and a little difficult to climb over/under with my pack, but it was good practice. we kept our dogs off leash the whole time and never really saw anyone else. We camped at the site with the picnic table, and it was a gorgeous little spot with big redwoods anchoring the site. One piece of advice, when the trail splits and you have to choose to go up or go down, my advice is to go up. We went down and couldn't figure out how to continue along the creek after we went down. There were so many large rocks and downed trees along the creek, it was too difficult to maneuver with our packs and short legged dog friends were having trouble.

Gorgeous views. I’d rate this as a moderate-difficult trail especially if backpacking on a hot day. The beginning is very steep but gets better after that. There’s a small creek still flowing about 2 miles into the hike and when you get to buckeye camp there’s a hose with running water but we still filtered it not knowing where it was from. Our campsite was overlooking the ocean so we watched the sun set and then slept under the stars. Can’t beat that!

Mon Oct 16 2017

Did a quick overnight from Salmon Creek Ranger station (non operational). Steep most of the way in to Buckeye camp but plenty of water even in September (2 creeks still flowing and plenty of water at the Rangers station and at buckeye camp). Overlooks were superb. Only 2 other hikers on the trail but brush was nicely cleared and no poison oak was reaching onto the trail. One small slide area about 1 1/2 miles before buckeye camp but besides that all of the trail was well maintained.

Once you get to Upper Cruikshank descend down to the river for an awesome campsite at Villa Creek

Sun Aug 27 2017

Frank Kehl's review is spot on! Here are my thoughts... Environment: Tranquil solitude, serene, beautiful towering scenery, active stream, very enjoyable. Direction: Immediately upon leaving HWY 1, there is a T-junction. Go left and travel about 2+ miles up the dirt road. Parking: As you approach the coordinates of the trail, there is a convex bend in the road where you can park. We continued to the next major bend (concave), and parked there (about 3 spaces). Trail head: We walked about 50-75 yards up the main dirt road to another dirt road on the left that T-junctions into the main dirt road. That T-junction is actually the trail head (and there are a few places to park down that dirt road before the road becomes impassable). Trail: Initially, the trail is wide enough for a vehicle (though impassable)...until you reach a firepit. As you continue in the same direction of travel, you'll need to look for the single-file trail (it's not too hard to find). About 1/4 to 1/2 mile down the single-file trail, it splits into a low and a high trail. We took the low trail. Shade: Redwoods and other large trees blanketed the trail with shade. Even on this hot August day the hike was a breeze. Even cooler at the creek. Terrain: Downhill out, uphill back. So, conserve some energy for the return. An average person should be able to do this hike. Creek: As you near the creek, the trail apprears impassable due to a large hollowed tree with tall flora growing in it. Simply part the flora and continue down the embankment. Was pleasanly suprised to see brook trout in the pools of water. Yes, flowing water in late August. Dogs: Our canine family members enjoyed being off-leash...though I kept their electronic collars on. We did not encounter a single soul on the trail. Poison Oak: Yes, sporatically on or near the trail. My friend is highly allergic. She initially covered exposed body parts with an aloe vera gel (to serve as a barrier). If she suspected contact, she then cleaned any body parts with rubbing alcohol, then water. Result one day later, no symptoms. Bottom-line: Everything I expected, can hardly wait to go back and try the high trail. Go...you will not be dissapointed.

Sun Aug 20 2017

Been down this trail 3-4 times. Really neat place to go to the beach.

I hiked this trail to Villa camp and back, and it was a beautiful trail. Four creeks were still flowing at the trickle level. The views of the coast are beautiful at the one mile point and there is plenty of beautiful mountain scenes. The trail is easy to follow but tricky in places, so watch your step. Also, most of the trail is uphill until you get to Buckeye Camp and then it is mostly downhill to Villa. Overall, very beautiful. I have been to Villa to camp twice, and I will be back. Instagram @picbynathan

Sun Apr 16 2017

As of April, 2017, you can't travel north on Highway 1 beyond the Ragged Point Inn due to numerous mud and rock slides from the previous winter. This very short hike provides a nice opportunity to enjoy the Big Sur coastline just outside of the closure. Starting from a small parking area on the west side of Highway 1, an old paved road descends and turns into a dirt path, headed for the beach. The trail fades when you approach San Carpoforo Creek, which descends out of the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains to the east and empties into the Pacific Ocean here. When we were here, the creek was several feet deep and flowing at a very high volume. Turn right at the creek bank and head north on the beach, paralleling the creek. The beach narrows and is impassible at high tide, but during low tide you can continue north about 0.3 miles before you'll have to turn around. This area was original part of Hearst Ranch, but was transferred to the state parks system in 2005 as part of a conservation agreement. There is also a small parcel of national forest land here, which is why you'll see the Los Padres National Forest signboard near the trailhead.

Absolutely beautiful views of the ocean, moderate hike. Once the trail turns inland, you can hike down to a river for a break by the rushing water.

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