Plan a Trip

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (updated June 14, 2020) 

Effective June 14, 2020 virtually all trails in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest are OPEN. 

The following trails remain CLOSED:

- The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Terrace Creek, Barlow Flat, Sykes and Redwood Camps remains CLOSED. 

- The Terrace Creek Trail from Coast Ridge Road to the Pine Ridge Trail remains CLOSED. 

Most Developed Recreation Sites are now OPEN as are most US Forest Service roads in the Monterey Ranger District. 

The following roads remain CLOSED:

- Palo Colorado Road from "the Hoist" to Bottchers Gap remains CLOSED

FIRE RESTRICTIONS: USDA Forest Service has instituted the following fire restrictions for the Los Padres National Forest (which includes the Monterey Ranger District) effective 05/12/2020. This means:

- No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires

- No smoking except in a vehicle

- Stoves are allowed with a valid California Campfire Permit

Weather

weatherYou'll find here a number of links to some pretty informative internet weather sites relevant to the northern Santa Lucia backcounty traveler. They should be helpful in determining what the weather's going to do while you're out there. But regardless of what these folks say, it's always smart to prepare for the worst.

leave no trace signWe need everybody to commit to the Leave No Trace principles. This is an example of what happens otherwise.

 

The Big Sur backcountry is rugged and untamed. It is also quite fragile and easily impacted by the actions of humans. California’s population has doubled since the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law. This growing population and the global popularity of Big Sur as a destination for outdoor recreation exert tremendous pressure on our public lands. The US Forest Service is the agency responsible for recreation management in the region. They are woefully underfunded and understaffed.

Resources for the Ventana Traveler

 

For those new to the region, heading out into the backcountry without consulting a trail guide is at best adventurous and venturing forth without at least a map is courting disaster. Thankfully, maps and books specific to exploration of the Big Sur backcountry are readily available. The publications and web resources listed below, when used in conjunction with the VWA's online Trails Conditions pages, should help in the planning of a wilderness visit.

With over 300 miles of trails and dozens of camps in the Big Sur backcountry, there is ample opportunity for recreation and solitude. Since we are so often asked for trip suggestions, we offer these five locales as a mere sampling of what the Ventana region has to offer.