Running in Cambria

I thought I would take the time to answer my own post regarding those who may want to get in some running while they are in the Cambria, California area.

 San Simeon Trail

This trail can be picked up from the San Simeon Campground Day use area just north of the junction of Moonstone Beach Road and Highway 1.  The trail has a few short loops you can do that take you through open fields on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific and then down into a wooded canyon filled with ferns.  Some of the other loops will drop down north of the ridge to the site of an old farmhouse filled with wild blackberry bushes. 

Since I was staying in the Lodge Hill area of Cambria I connected the above trail with a trail in the “East West Sanctuary”.  This area will soon be preserved from development once the citizens of Cambria and others donate the funds.  Overall from the place I was staying to the San Simeon trail (clockwise and counter clockwise loops) you can squeeze in a two hour run.

 Salmon Creek Loop

This trail starts at the southern part of the Ventana Wilderness.  Take the trail on the right side of the creek and begin climbing.  It is about 6 miles all uphill.  You pass a huge waterfall in the first ¼ mile and then pass through a succession of back-country campsites.  Water can be found throughout this loop and two water bottles was sufficient.  The last mile and a half requires some bushwhacking.  Bring your pruners.  The trail tops out on the Ridge Road with some great views of the valleys to the east and fog saturated canyons toward the beach.  Head north from there and pick up a trail marked “Road Closed” on the left and down hill.  This will take you to Lion Den campsite.  This has a great view of the Pacific and has a spring to tank up on some water. 

Continue on the trail to a sequence of camps.  At a saddle the trail cuts right into an area that looks like there was a file a few years back OR continue up the old road and top out near summit marked on the topo 3599 (about a mile out and back but steep).  Back at the saddle continue down the canyon. This is where the bushwhacking really begins.  Lots of dead fall and more poison oak than I have ever seen before. I would recommend using Tecnu before the run.  At first you find yourself doing contortions to get around it.  After a while I touched so much of it I just gave up trying to stay clear of it.  If case you loose the trail do not drop into the creek.  Follow your steps back and you will undoubtedly find the trail. This part of the trail is more of a hike than a run.  After a while it opens up and you continue running through some old growth redwoods and through more creeks that have crystal clear fresh water.  I found a rare Mountain King Snake in one of these groves.  I have been a herpetologist since high school and I consider this one of my greatest finds. 

 The trail opened up and now I could pick up the pace.  The air was cooler as I dropped back down into the fog.  Trail markers help me find the way and the trail rolled up and down traversing the costal canyons.  I could hear seals barking in the surf and the sound of café racing motorcycles.  With a little over a mile to go I crossed the creek with a beautiful 30 foot waterfall that trickled over a narrow strip of flowstone.  With long strides I continued paralleling the coast highway on the bluffs.  Awesome views of the Pacific prevailed.  A rocky last ¼ mile and then I hit the highway. 

Overall it was a 6 ½ hour round trip.  Great run and adventure. 

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