|Pine Ridge Trail, above China Camp: We did this hike as a three-day, one-way trip from China Camp westward to Big Sur. Perhaps because the trip was so close to home, we didn't take it as seriously as we should have. It ended up being one of the most grueling and treacherous hikes we Blue Tarpers have ever endured.
By the time we got a late start, took a wrong turn driving down to Carmel, bought supplies we had forgotten to pack, left a car at the Big Sur end, etc. we didn't get up to China Camp until after 3:00 PM. Right away we got off track, spending half an hour scrambling over a muddy hillside following what seemed to be an overgrown path from the campground to the trailhead. It turned out, when we gave up on that quest and asked someone, that the trailhead parking lot is a little up the road from China Camp.
Once we got on the trail, we had to hump it over a ridge to get to our first night's camp near Pine Valley.
A word of warning: at the end of our hike, when we drove our other car back up to China Camp, we found that someone had broken into every car in the trailhead parking lot, including the one we had left there.