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Livestock in Ventana Wilderness

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Re: Livestock in Ventana Wilderness

Post by Betsy M on Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:05 pm

Hi Moose, welcome to the central coast! There are some wonderful places for your horse to take you. Unfortunately not as many as we would like due to the horrendous condition of most of the trails. I can suggest a couple of trails but you may also want to connect with the Backcountry Horsemen of California. They do regular events including a Rendezvous, which includes socializing and trail rides. See their Los Padres website

Assuming you have already checked the trail conditions page of this VWA site. A great resource for maps is

Stock friendly rides: as noted, Pine Valley from China Camp on the Tassajara Road. You will find it difficult to park your trailer on the road and it may be easier to park 0.8 miles beyond at the Church Ranch Driveway (don't block the driveway). Then take a shortcut over the top of the hill to join the Pine Ridge Trail as it starts its descent. Pine Valley is a great place to camp. I'm not sure of the condition of this shortcut, but the main trail is in great shape at least the first 2 miles and I was told by a hiker last Saturday it is good all the way to Pine Valley.
From Arroyo Seco Campground (there are trailer parking spots) travel up the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road to the Marble Peak Trail. Cross the Horsebridge, make sure you take a left about 500 feet after the bridge, on the stock bypass. Last I checked this was passable to Tassajara Creek Camp. You could camp at this camp but it is cold in the winter.
The best location is The Indians. There are many places to ride, including the Carrizo Trail up to Carrizo Camp. Lots of open meadows. You could ride the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road up to Escondido Camp. When I was there a week ago the road was closed but this might make it nicer for riding. Most equestrians camp along one of the numbered roads at The Indians, then do rides from there.

Re: Livestock in Ventana Wilderness

Post by Moose on Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:29 pm

Thank you Stodgy for your input. Would you access Pine Valley from China camp or from Carmel river trail or from other trailheads?

Re: Livestock in Ventana Wilderness

Post by Stodgy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:45 pm

There was a group of horsemen who traveled the Ventana back in the 1980's and early 1990's. Back then the trails were in better shape. Many of the trails are in poor condition these days, but you can likely make it to Pine Valley. Pine valley is a classic horseman trip. Other places that have been historically visited on horse such as Pat's Spring and Ventana Double Cone would be quite a challenge for a horse.

Livestock in Ventana Wilderness

Post by Moose on Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:00 pm

I'm new to the area, and I would like to explore Ventana Wilderness and Los Padres National Forest. I would welcome information about the best trails to travel with a horse, and of course the trails to avoid due to safety or obstacles. I would also like to connect with other members who use horses in the Ventana Wilderness. Thank you