The Trout Creek Trail is 7.8 miles round trip and located near Pozo, California. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes... more » about 4-5 hours. Total elevation gain is +1300'/-1300'.
The route to Buckeye Camp in the Garcia Wilderness follows the Trout Creek and Buckeye Camps Trails, first paralleling Trout Creek and then following a climbing traverse along the south slopes of Garcia Mountain to Buckeye Camp. The route crosses a mix of national forest land and private inholdings for the first 2.4 miles before entering the designated wilderness area.
The drive to the trailhead is something of an adventure in itself, as the Hi Mountain Road (30S05) is unpaved and deeply rutted. Wet fords of the Salinas River and Trout Creek itself make a high clearance vehicle essential for safely reaching the trailhead. Hi Mountain Road is usually closed during the winter months due to mud and high river levels. The trailhead itself consists of a small grassy clearing marked by a fence. A hiker’s stile allows access to the trail itself. Neither the trailhead nor the trail is signed.
Despite the lack of signage, the Trout Creek Trail is in good shape and quite easy to follow. The trail runs downstream along Trout Creek, crossing and re-crossing the stream nine times before reaching a junction where the Buckeye Camp Trail turns left uphill. This important junction is currently marked with a carsonite trail sign - and a cow skull. The main Trout Creek Trail continues for approximately 0.5 miles before reaching a fence and private property.
Once on the Buckeye Camp Trail, the route climbs steeply uphill, shortly entering the Garcia Wilderness. The trail crests at a saddle at 3.25 miles, where Caldwell Mesa and Pine Ridge are visible to the southeast. A brief descent from the saddle leads to a junction where the side trail to Buckeye Camp heads left. A short climb from here leads to Buckeye Camp, nestled on a well-shaded flat beside a spring-fed tributary of Trout Creek. The camp has a single fire ring with a metal grate and several benches. A wilderness toilet is located just below the camp, but dense poison oak made it difficult to access.
Back at the junction with the lateral trail to Buckeye Camp, turn right to return to the trailhead. From here, it is also possible to continue deeper into the Garcia Wilderness. less «