Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flat Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(205)
Ventana Wilderness

Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flat Trail is a 10.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lucia, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,595 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

The parking area is a gravel pull-off right near the trailhead. You may park down Route 1 if needed. There are 2 campsites, one at 3 miles, and one at 6 miles. There is water at a creek about a quarter mile past the second camp. Campfires are not allowed in the Ventana Wilderness indefinitely. With a CalFire permit you may use a small stove. Dogs are allowed on the trail but there is a lot of poison oak, so be careful.

backpacking
closed
over grown
1 month ago

Incredible views at every turn! The trail is narrow and has become very overgrown, lots of poison oak encroached into the trail so be careful. There is no shade or water in the beginning part so be sure to come prepared. There were two streams for water replenishing when we were there, each of them just past the campsites. The meadows were in full bloom, between that and the views and the abundant water source near campsites this has probably become one of my favorite trails for backpacking. Not terribly difficult and makes for a nice relatively short one night weekend getaway trail. We left the San Jose area late morning on Saturday and were back home early afternoon on Sunday.

1 month ago

This trail offers supreme views of the ocean and is all-around gorgeous. However, the path becomes very narrow and thin at certain points, making it especially challenging for backpackers trying to balance heavy packs with rocky walls to your right and steep drop offs to your left as you hike towards the campgrounds. I would not recommend this hike for beginner backpackers or those with a fear of heights. If you can't make it to Vicente campground and Espinosa is full (there are only 2 sites at Espinosa), there is a single camp site prior to hitting Espinosa that is a viable alternative with views of the ocean.

backpacking
bugs
2 months ago

This is a beautiful place to backpack. The views are outstanding. The only complaints on had for early fall is there were lots of bugs. I suggest a head net. Also at camping spots people were not doing an adequate job of burying their business. For my complete ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Trip Report including story, pics and video GO TO: https://nocalhikingpursuingbalancethruadventure.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/kirk-creek-campground-to-vicente-flats-trail/

hiking
2 months ago

Great little, easily accessed trail. The best part is you can go as long as you want to! My group camped at Kirk creek and wanted a low key vista hike before we hit the road. It was a quick walk across the road and we immediately began a gentle climb. The gentle climb continues to wind around hills and through desert-like terrain, but also through redwood forest. Views of the ocean the entire hike. We stopped 3 miles in, after about 1100 ft elevation gain. Beautiful views. Turned around there to cut the hike short. Highly recommend- great hike to stretch your legs and get some quick views. Dog friendly!

hiking
bugs
no shade
3 months ago

Backpacked in during feb 2020; great trip for beginners. It is impossible to get lost but mind the poison oak that riddles the narrow trail. There is a water source and fire rings at the vincente flat campground which is very crowded- likely 10-15 established campsites. I logged elevation gain at 1910ft, a little lower than reported on AllTrails.

backpacking
bugs
3 months ago

Despite alltrails description, the trail is dog friendly. Lots of ticks, however, so check your pup! The trail wasn’t too bad, even with a pack. Lots of sites available at Vicente and we were able to filter water from the creek.

This trail was great! Definitely not too difficult even with a pack. We made it to Vicente Flat in 2.5 hours on Saturday (2/22) and we were the last to roll up to the camp but there were 10+ open spots. Lots of spots near the creek and some further away. A beautiful redwood grove up there. Highly recommend for an afternoon overnight backpacking trip.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Loved this hike. Hiked up to Vicente Trail camp 2/15 and back down 2/16. I would list it more as a moderate level hike, but definitely tough with a heavy pack. The first 3 miles (ish) have incredible, breathtaking views of the coast and then you turn inland. One downside to these great views is you are exposed, and on a hot day would be tough. First water source was a small stream after Espinosa camp around 3.5 miles in and then the stream at Vicente camp. Espinosa camp is small, with room for 3-4 tents. Vicente camp on the other hand is very large with lots of options. The trail and camp were very crowded on the long weekend, but we still found a great spot to set up our two tents. Vicente trail camp is a nice redwood grove along a stream, loved it. The trail was clear the whole way up, narrow at points but never too bad. Lots of poison oak as everyone mentions.

hiking
3 months ago

Late review completed in January 2019. Wonderful hike. Great place to camp by the river.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

backpacking
6 months ago

Went out for a one night, Thanksgiving backpacking trip and really enjoyed the hike to Vicente Flats camp. Beautiful views of the ocean, and a great place to camp among the trees. There was a good amount of elevation gain without being too strenuous. We were able to find a place to park, but could see that parking might be an issue when it is busier. Lots of places to camp at Vicente Flats, but again, seems like it could get crowded when more are out there. We did come across a juvenile rattlesnake on the trail, and were concerned about the amount of poison oak other reviews had mentioned, but it was pretty easy to avoid this time of year. Good source for water between first camping spot and Vicente Flats. More water just beyond camp on the Vicente Flats trail.

hiking
icy
private property
6 months ago

backpacking
bugs
7 months ago

Was there for a 3 day backpacking trip. Stopped in Espinoza camp first because I got off to a late start. The first half of the hike, to about Espinoza, is overlooking the ocean, with intermittent shade. The second half is back through the forest and much flatter and cooler. There's water running just past Espinoza and again about a 5 minute walk past Vicente Camp up Vicente Flat Trail. Vicente Camp is in a beautiful redwood grove and both Cone Peak and Vicente Flat are amazing hikes, depending on whether you want to see the ocean or the trees. Watch out for all the poison oak, I'm definitely glad I wore pants. There are even patches that are growing out onto the trail. There's one fallen tree right before Espinoza that you have to climb over. And there were a LOT of bugs. No mosquitoes or anything, but they were definitely annoying. Like others, I'd say this hike is more moderate than hard.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

Was there for 2 days backpacking. From the trailhead on the way to camp there is a small stream to get water. Just past the camp toward Cone Peak there is another stream to get water. It’s about a 5 minute walk past the last camp at the flat. The creek through the campground is dry. Bring your anti-bug stuff because the flying critters are persistent. There is poison ivy but I wore shorts the whole and I’m fine. No fires allowed but it looks like folks have been ignoring the instructions.

hiking
bugs
no shade
7 months ago

My first hike! This was a bunch of fun. The creek at the campground was dry and fires were banned. Would’ve been awesome with a nice fire. It wasn’t too chilly. The flies were plenty on the way, but breathe through your nose and you should be fine. No eaten bugs! I’d probably bring an umbrella as a trekking pole next time. There are a few spots with shade to rest on the way. The worst thing were the human feces near the rocks, super nasty and totally unnecessary. At least go off the trail. If you plan to make this trip, plan to clean up after yourself. We all know a bear didn’t leave that toilet paper. I’ll make this hike again. No question.

hiking
bugs
8 months ago

Great trail with even better views. Saw a humpback breach early on. However, the swarming black flies made the hike almost unbearable.

hiking
9 months ago

leave as early as you can! aka, at least 7 am. its an amazing, fairly well maintained trail that brings ya views and a good sweat. Got pretty warm on the way down, but we were thankful we weren't just starting the hike at 11:30 am.

hiking
9 months ago

Pleasant moderate hike. It is very convenient if camping at Kirk Creek campground. View of ocean in the beginning of the trail is great.

backpacking
bugs
10 months ago

Did this hike last weekend for a one night backpacking trip. It was a really nice trail. Great views on the first half of the ocean and coast. And in and out of shade most of the way. Moderate uphill the first 3.5 ish miles. Wouldn’t classify it as “hard” though. I agree with others on here that it should probably be “moderate”. There is toonnss of poison oak along the trail so I definitely recommend long pants for the hike. There is a spring with amazing water just past Espinosa Camp (about 3.4 miles in from the trail head). You can’t miss it, you have to walk right over the spring on the trail. We filtered the water with aquatabs but honestly it was so fresh and tasted so good. There were a ton of flies. Particularly at Vincent’s Flats camp, but also a bit along the trail after you turn inward away from the coast. They were really swarming at the campground though. Not biters. Just annoying. The redwoods at the camp are beautiful. And on the Friday night we were there it was fairly quiet with a lot of privacy between camps. We saw many more people heading up there on Saturday as we were going down though. Glad to have done it when it was a bit less people. The water at Vincente Flats wasn’t flowing as much as at the spring on the way up. There was water there, but more stagnant and not as good tasting. So I recommend filling up at the spring as much as you can for the night. Would do it again. It was a nice out and back to get out in nature for the weekend :)

camping
10 months ago

Lovey trail. We didn’t start until 5:00 because of traffic and it took 2.5 hours to get to the second campground just in time to pitch a tent. Hike through the clouds then walk through brush until right around Espinoza camp about 1.5 hours in then about 1 more hour of flat walking in the trees. Camp was clean and busy but not full. There was a stream. Views were awesome especially on the way down. Highly recommend.

hiking
10 months ago

beautiful, should not be classified as hard. very crowded on the weekend with day hikers and campers.

hiking
10 months ago

Super fun trail! Although it was pretty easy for my boyfriend and I! Beautiful views- which is probably why its so popular!

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful views of ocean at beginning, nice redwood groves to see every mile or so. It is uphill for first 2+ miles. There is a lack of shade for approx half of hike. There is poison oak and bugs. I didn’t find ticks, but I am sure there are around.

First couple miles is pretty good incline but starts to flatten out (or minor incline) a bit afterwards . Once you turn east entering the large valley where Vincente Flats is located, the trail is super fun. Plenty of water at the Flats and a seasonal stream large enough for fill up around mile 4.

backpacking
11 months ago

Fabulous! we had a wonderful time, me and 6 other backpackers. We all agreed, we'll do this again :)

Showing results 1 - 26 of 205