Cultural Resources


ALERT: Due to a January 26-28 storm, Highway 1 is closed from Big Creek Vista Point in the south to just north of Lime Creek Bridge in the north. Long-term, there is a significant washout of the Highway 1 at Rat Creek (just north of Big Creek Reserve and just south of Esalen Institute). Expect this closure to be in place until summer 2021. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge) is also significantly damaged and may not be open for quite some time.  

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest has re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In and around the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open. Wilderness camps in the backcountry can be accessed from the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area near Greenfield (off 101) or via Tassajara Road deep in the Carmel Valley. 

The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp remains closed. 

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are also open.

Most secondary roads (including Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge roads) remain gated and closed. 

This map depicts the closure boundary. Not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. When in place, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Leave No Trace ethics are more important than ever with visitors concentrated in fewer places to go.  

State Parks 

The following are open for day use:  Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (go online or call to find out if the park's campgrounds are open)  

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park  

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (additional US Forest Service information for the Monterey Ranger District): Please note that the information above is oftentimes more up-to-date than the US Forest Service site. Call 831-385-5434 with questions. 


cultural resourcesBig Sur backcountry seen from near Marble Peak on the Coast Ridge, circa 1915.(Photo Courtesy of William Karnes)

Just as the diverse mix of elevations, soil types and climates sustains a unique and broad mix of plants and animals, the varied landscape of the northern Santa Lucia has molded a diverse set of cultures, crafts and characters. From native Esselen and Salinan Indians to Spanish missionaries to modern vision seekers, the culture and history of this land where the mountains roll to the sea paint a rich and living portrait of human interaction with a wild and lovely land. Many of the following resources derive from the Double Cone Register, a periodic, web-based publication hosted by the Ventana Wilderness Alliance and edited by loving volunteers. Click here for an index of for this remarkable resource.

This list is by no means comprehensive and is in continual evolution. If you have suggestions for any of the sections, please email us at .


Native American

Brief History of the Esselen Indians (Monterey County Historical Society)

Local Chapter of the Esselen Tribe

Local Chapter of the Salinan Tribe

Local Salinan Nation

History of the Salinan People

"Headless Lady of Jolon"



The Big Sur Fire of 1906 (DCQ Spring 2004)

The story of Comings Cabin (DCQ Fall 2001)

Tassajara Hot Springs, circa 1869 (DCQ Winter 1998)

Road to Tassajara (DCQ Winter 2000)

A history of Tony’s trail (DCQ Fall 2010)


Forest Service & Land Management

Our Forest is Born (DCQ Winter 2000)

Failed plan to dam the Big Sur river (DCQ Summer 2002)

History of the Mont. Ranger District, pt. 1 (DCQ Summer 2001)

Forest Conditions in the Monterey Forest Reserve (DCQ Summer 2004)

Early photo of the Ventana backcountry (DCQ Fall 2004)



California Coastal Trails: A horseback ride from Mexico to Oregon, by J. Smeaton Chase (DCQ Fall 2005)

Over the Santa Lucia (DCQ Fall 2006)

The enchanted Mountains (DCQ Fall 2006)

Two Pictures of an unknown bit of the Monterey Coast (DCQ Fall 2006)

The Robinson Jeffers Association

Active Forum Topics

[FOUND] Mini Tripod
02.21.2021 by AaronP

Fire restrictions lifted forest wide.
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Silver Peak - Trail or No Trail
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