Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce and Estrella Camps

MODERATE 47 reviews
#13 of 163 trails in

Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce and Estrella Camps is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1791 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Kernville: Travel 38 miles northeast on Mtn. 99, Sherman Pass Rd. (22S05) and Cherry Hill Rd. (22S12).

camping
2 months ago

Epic bucket list hike.... went out with a bang! Always wanted to do an overnight hiking trip before my big 5-0 .... trail was no easy task (for me) but with the help of my daughter it was a success..... Not so much for one of our team mates who fell about 30ft down a revine and had to be airlifted out after my daughter was able to rescue her enough to get her back on the trail. Hats off #calfire #chp and the medical team.
I will definitely be back.

rock climbing
2 months ago

Great place. Easy quick hike. Waterfall was roarin after the rains. Tied a line to a tree across falls at the top n zip lined to the middle. Epic view. Can also climb on the top of the boulder in middle of water. There's a lil cave under that rock as well.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is easy to find and has plenty of parking right off HWY 1. The trail starts off with the waterfall only 200 yds from the parking lot. Next, switch backs take you up 800' revealing wild flowers and rock outcroppings. About a mile into the hike, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a mountain lion. Luckily it wasn't looking for dinner or a fight, and just warned us with a pronounced growl. We took a hint and turned around. I am looking forward to going back to complete the hike without interruption.

3 months ago

Great hike for day hikers and overnight hikers. Plenty of water there, easy drive from SLO

hiking
4 months ago

This was an amazing trail! Lots of different scenery and wild flowers are starting to bloom. However, be aware of poison oak too. We combined it with the Salmon Creek Waterfall trail. Went to the main waterfall first, which was beautiful! We then came back around to start this trail. The first .5 miles are a steady incline that’s a little strenuous, but the remaining parts of the trail to Estrella Camp are mostly a combo of level ground, some downhill, and couple more short uphill climbs. Many parts of this trail are on a narrow pathway/ledge when you get higher up, so watch your footing. At this time there is still the remnants of a large pine tree that fell directly on the main path right before getting to the Spruce Creek Camp. You will have to step through and over a wall of fallen branches and then climb over the large trunk. On the way to Estrella Camp from Spruce Camp, you are parallel to Salmon Creek and can hear the sound of flowing water. Very soothing. We also caught a glimpse of another waterfall through the trees. On the way back the views of the forest and ocean are great! Especially if you’re heading back down around sunset. Overall the hike for us ended up being more like 6.5 miles round trip. We did not camp overnight.

backpacking
6 months ago

The trail was ok, not really up to stuff, but the scenery and freshwater makes up for it.

7 months ago

if ttyyou like waterfalls this one is awsome

backpacking
8 months ago

This is a nice scenic trail. As other reviewers have said, there isn't as much coastal beauty as the Buckeye Trail, but it is nice in different ways. For one, there is a lot more water on this trail, as the Salmon Creek is alive and well, and the campgrounds along the way are pretty nice trail camps. Fall is pretty evident here with the leaves, but there is plenty of green and shade. The trail is easy to hike and well shaded, but seems to be more popular than the Buckeye, which is a tougher hike. Near the Spruce trail camp there is a fork, so you will want to go left for the Salmon Creek Trail, but I will be back to explore the Spruce Creek trail that branches off to the right at that point. Instagram @picbynathan

backpacking
8 months ago

This is a good, scenic trail that has a lot of clean water from the Salmon Creek along the way. The trail and the camps are in good condition and mostly shaded along the way. The trail leads away from the coast, so you will not views of the coast like the Buckeye Trail, but it has a lot of beautiful backcountry views. Overall, it is a pretty easy hike that starts off pretty steep, but never has any really dramatic inclines after the first half mile. On Instagram @picbynathan

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing hike. First Mile is switch backs and straight up hill. Bring water and at least an energy bar. Gets narrow at times so watch your footing, especially past the pools very narrow and sandy.

backpacking
8 months ago

One of my favorites. once you get up the hill, really nice and easy.

9 months ago

I loved this trail, it was gorgeous and everyone I met on the trail were very cool. Would have gave it 5 but it wasn't maintained as well as it could have been

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago

Awesome trail. The opening climb might put you off a bit if you aren't prepared, especially if you start in the middle of the day. My girlfriend, two very old dogs and myself started about 945am, and made it to Spruce Creek Camp around noon. We had to stop to water the dogs about 4 times, and about 10-15 minutes at a time. Overall, not a strenuous hike, just bring lots of water if you have dogs! I purified about 7 liters of water at the camp site, and my pups drank about 6 Lts of it. We also gave some water to a few people on the trail who only had a small water bottle. It was about 90-95 in the sun, and several day hikers ran out of water. We saw a fair amount of traffic through Spruce Creek Camp. We had a super sweet spot right above the creek and the springs. Bugs weren't too bad. A lot of people going to the lower falls and the parking lot was packed full of cars when we came out of the trail. Overall, I'd love to come back without the old pups and do the hike up to South Ridge Road and come out one of the many connector trails, or venture down Spruce Creek Trail! The Split for Spruce Creek Trail and Salmon Creek Trail is at MGRS Grid 10S FE 4942 6577. I recommend you set that as a way point. You wont see the camp sites or much of the trail on Google Earth, so setting way points off that can be... difficult. Some of my WPs were up to 100 meters off what the trail actually turned out to be.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stay at Ragged Point Inn and hike this one in the morning. Rated moderate but it's actually pretty easy. Fire trail is cleared well. Once at the top I recommend heading right and hanging out with a PBandJ while you enjoy the view. On a nice and easy pace we do this hike in about 3.5 hours. Once back to Ragged Point Inn grab some lunch and relax. Doesn't get any better than this in Big Sur!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Great place to venture with the family!! Kids loved playing in the pools and climbing the rocks and trees. Definitely one of our favorite spots to pull over.

hiking
Saturday, July 09, 2016

this is a beautiful hike the first 3/4 of a mile is a bit steep but if you're young and in Shape it won't be to bad I'm 50 with a bad back my group made it in obout 4.5 Hrs bring a lunch and enjoy the picnic tables at spruce creek

backpacking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

tough hike but great views!

backpacking
Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tough little uphill to start the hike. Saw my first mountain lion though, so I'd say it was a pretty awesome trip. Estrella camp is a great spot.

hiking
Monday, February 01, 2016

Dealt with a lot of rain the whole way which made the hike a lot of fun and a lot more difficult. Regardless it was still a good hike and we even got some snow on the way back.

hiking
Thursday, September 10, 2015

This trail sucked compared to all of the other trails near by.....don't waste your time on this trail if you are not here for multiple days. Not a lot of views. 30 minutes in it is quite a sight to turn around and look at how far down Hwy 1 is but other than that I would only use this trail if you are trying to log miles and get a good workout. The elevation gain in the beginning is great and also if you continue on from Spruce Camp to Estrella Camp you will get a good workout. The gnats on this trail are positively awful though. If I would have had a bee suit with that thing that goes over your face I would have worn it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Heads directly inland so the views aren't great but it is shady. The Buckeye Trail that starts slightly to the north is much prettier.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

BEAUTIFUL! The start trail does sneak up on you while you are scaling up Hwy 1 but once you park and start the hike within a 5 minute walk you are able to see this beautiful waterfall, great for pictures. As you continue through the S.C. trail you constantly have a great view on the Pacific Ocean and the hillside. In the trail there is plenty of shade with so much wildlife all around you as you hear the birds chirping, it does start off a little steep but it does flatten out and becomes a great walk. Once you get to the Creek , peacefulness!

camping
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boyfriend and I took our first backpacking trip here! Uphill trek but good little primitive campsite near a pretty little river (Spruce Creek). We had a blast. Very secluded even in the peak season! Went skinny dipping in the falls the next morning as well:)

hiking
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Day hiked up to Upper Salmon Creek Falls for lunch and a dip in water. A fallen tree is in pool now, blocking a third of it from being used. Water is about 2.5 feet deep in deepest spot there, good sunshine and rocks to sit on to dry off. Trail is well maintained with lots of PO on the sides, no ticks this time, did not see any birds, saw an alligator lizard and a couple of squirrels.

hiking
Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm not sure why everyone is giving them undeserving reviews. This trail is wonderful! So many views and turns, it would be great for an adventurous intense uphill jog. Views are amazing (went off the trail and climbed around) and its beautiful throughout the whole time. This is good for a close-to-home hike. If you are coming from a ways out, then i'm not sure how you would rate it, but it still is a really great place.

hiking
Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a good workout, but not terribly interesting. Most of the views are obstructed by the forest, and there are parts of the trail that feel a little dangerous because they've been wiped out by rock slides, so be careful. If you're interested in the view, I would recommend just doing the first mile, because you'll see pretty much all you would see in that mile. Make sure to do the detour to the falls!

hiking
Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a good workout, but not terribly interesting. Most of the views are obstructed by the forest, and there are parts of the trail that feel a little dangerous because they've been wiped out by rock slides, so be careful. If you're interested in the view, I would recommend just doing the first mile, because you'll see pretty much all you would see in that mile. Make sure to do the detour to the falls!

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

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