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. 


Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

This is the place for general discussion and backcountry information.

Moderators: Betsy M, dknapp1

Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Hydro-Logic on Tue May 26, 2020 12:19 am

Mountain Biking the Ventana is a silly discussion. Most of the trails are 100% not bike friendly: too steep, too loose, to slanted, too rocky, too silly. I am an avid Mountain biker and hiker/backpacker and anyone that has done both understands the engineering and flow of a mnt bike vs a hiking trail is wildly different. You can never successfully convert Ventana trails to be bike friendly. Period.

on the hand I have often day dreamed of riding my gravel (not mountain) bike on some of better dirt roads. That would be awesome !
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Joseph Peripatet on Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:19 am

Some friends walked the Prewitt loop recently, they said there were many trees down, they had difficulty following the trail, and the tilt of the trailbed was problematic over time. They crossed some poison oak which was in the trail. There was a precarious crossing of an old mud slide near Stag. All these issues seem to combine to make a bike route through the Prewitt loop unlikely.
The good news is that there is apparently a bike route from San Martin Top to highway 1 (according to trailforks).
Joseph Peripatet

Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Flanker27S on Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:16 am

Well, that's not necessarily a bad thing (if the mountain bikes are ridden by responsible people, that is); it could bring more people to the region, and thus make the local tourism industry more rentable.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Jdubb on Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:08 am

Personally, I rather enjoy the Prewitt trails from either north or south entry points on a bike. Sure, there is a lot of hiking and pushing the bike, but the raw terrain adds to the challenge and uncertainty as to how many miles you will travel on any given day.
It is rather unlikely that the full loop will ever sustain any significant trail work without more traffic and regular maintenance.
I feel the same about pushing to the top of timber top, quite a challenge but what a beautiful payoff for all your hard work. ;)
I love that both of these trails are available for bikes.
Frankly, most mountain bikers do not want anything to do with either trail due to the physical torture necessary to properly enjoy them.

Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Alladin on Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:06 am

This is a fantastic idea !

Some slight modifications will need to be made to the trail.
The switchback corners along the southern section are too tight for bikes, maybe that can be resolved with some SLO mountain biking muscle, a digging bar and some shovels. The tightness of the northern section of the trail can be bypassed by using the existing mountain bike route. The middle section is a little brushy but maybe that can be resolved by a posse of lopper weilding riders.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby gfelsman on Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:03 pm

It interesting how folks want a downhill ride. However there is a trail that is a 13 mile loop in Pacific Valley. It has redwoods. streams. great views and much more. It also connects to the downhill ride from Plaskett Ridge. The trail name is the Prewitt Loop Trail. South end starts near the Ranger Station, the north end is about a 1/4 mile north. It would be a lot of work but a great reward to hikers and cyclists if it was ever completed. The CCCMB about 10 years ago cleared the North Side to the Slide Past Stag Camp but no one ever finished the job. The first mile on the north side is relatively clear. When we hike it we usually go to Stag Camp, the ascend the ridge on our way back for some great views.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby All Addin on Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:50 pm

Splain is right about the north coast ridge rd, that is a long walk up. Only the privileged few have the rights to drive up there.
Maybe the best idea to harness the energy of the mountain bikers is to offer the Boronda trail as the reward for assisting in some trail clearing action. The VWA insiders can fetch trail-clearing bike riders at the bottom of the the north coast road, they are asked to do a days worth of trail clearing before they are dropped off with their bikes at the top of the boronda trail ! (bomb's away!)
Another idea. Whenever someone speaks of bicycles on the vwa site, immediately delete that and put up a note "no speaking of mountain bikes is allowed on this site.", or erase it and put up the note "mountain bikes are not allowed in the wildernes. Please go away". hahahaha
All Addin

Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Linus Spalding on Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:08 am

You may be mistaken. I found the below routes in the area. Note the fine video which can be viewed related to the Prewitt ridge ride. ... h-section/ ... -downhill/

The Mill Creek "trail" from near Nacimento summit down Mill creek would make an excellent ride if it were improved to make it more ridable (currently it seems to no ridable).

Another possibility would be to carve a trail from Alms Camp down to the Mill Creek trail (being careful to not trample on private property along the way).
The possibilities are endless... descend Plaskett Ridge Rd down to the gate, then follow the use-trail which leads to the 10 acre inholding and cabin at elevation 2300 ft (due west of the old fire lookout in the gated area of Plaskit Rd.), proceed down to the ridgeline north of the cabin to meet the Prewitt trail !
More madness? How about carving a route from San Martin Top, to above Treebones resort !
Insanity? Find what appears to be a use trail from Plaskett Rd towart the cabin at 2300ft, before reaching it, descend the gradual ridgeline which leads directly toward Plaskett campground (be careful to avoid private property near the campground )!

Be advised that these "possiblities" should be carefully considered and cleared with the appropriate authorities before being used. These lines on the map can be done without encroaching on private property or wilderness but care may need to be taken to avoid that.
Linus Spalding

Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby mikesplain on Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:07 pm

Keep in mind that bikes are not permitted on North Coast Ridge Road, so even if it were legal, riding on Boronda or DeAngulo trails would involve first pushing your bike up to the top (good luck riding up those slopes). Theoretically, one could legally ride the Prewitt Loop Trail (although a Search and Rescue crew recently extracted someone who was injured trying to do just that).
For a legal & appropriate mountain bike ride, the interior is the only sensible option- namely, Arroyo Seco-Indians Road.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby All addin on Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:50 pm

Ok For now you cannot ride in the wilderness, please make some new routes in Big Sur that are not in the wilderness. How about a less steep version of the borinda trail, or a bike trail from prewitt ridge to hwy1 or along the north border of sliver peak widerness from plaskett rd to hwy1 or decend the mill creek trail from coast ridge to. AciFerg rd
All addin


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