Log in to rateLog in to rateLog in to rateLog in to rateLog in to rate 1.0 (1 rating)
Difficulty:3C VI (v3a4 VI)
Raps:6, max ↨150ft
Red Tape:No permit required
20 May 2023
"With 75F on the NOAA forecast the creekwalking was a very pleasant temperature but the bushwhack was sweltering. Wetsuits weren't needed, but a shorty
Feb - May
Lion Creek has some lovely waterfalls that you can rappel in. Unfortunately, the ceaseless tangle of foliage and poison oak surrounding these falls means this canyon is suitable only for rabid bushwhacking enthusiasts.
This canyon is best done as a three-day trip; hike and camp at Sykes Camp on day 1, do the riverwalk and canyon portion on day 2, and hike out day 3.
Check the USGS river gauge before starting your trip. On the first descent trip the gauge read 100cfs, and the creekwalk sections were manageable. The flow in this creekwalk is probably the limiting factor as R1-R5 are in a small tributary and R6 can be scouted from below before committing to the canyon.
Follow the Pine Ridge trail until it crosses the Big Sur River at Sykes, then walk downstream. Although the camp is often busy, there are two nice sites in the next bends in the river past the hot springs.
Follow the Big Sur until it intersects Lion Creek, then follow the creek upstream until it reaches the falls. At this point, you'll need to start bushwhacking to reach the ridgeline northeast of the falls. Routes may vary depending on the foliage density any given year, but generally south-facing slopes will be much easier going, as they host chamise and yerba santa, which is much easier to push through. Don't plan on being able to climb any cliffs, as all exposed rock is fractured and loose. Follow the ridgeline until 2350' elevation, then drop down into the marked tributary.
Now the bushwhacking gets even worse. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Plentiful trees in the Lion Creek tributary make for easy anchoring options on R1-5. R6 is the waterfall seen on the approach hike, and has no convenient trees, but lots of large stones from which to make a cairn anchor. Please use ghosting techniques to keep this canyon pristine.
Go out the way you came in.
There is a $10/day cash parking fee at the Pine Ridge trailhead.