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?

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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Rob on Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:17 pm

Not everyone who contributes to trail maintenance wants to go on organized outings. I dislike group trips for the same reason I hike solo. But I did go on a trip back in the day to learn, and now I take a hand saw and work gloves on every Ventana trip I do, and I contribute financially. I've had two spinal surgeries over the years and am getting old, so am unwilling to do the hard stuff.

The argument that bikes cause more trail damage than, say, horses sounds rather unbelievable to me. And I have a hard time understanding why it is legal for someone to pack in a boom box to a wilderness lake and disturb other people's serenity, while it is illegal to use one's own muscle power on a bike. But as I have noticed, life isn't fair and people in groups are full of absurdity.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby lori on Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:25 pm

Rob wrote:Just to play devil's advocate: if mountain-biking were allowed in the wilderness, then more mountain bikers would show up to help do trail maintenance and would contribute to that effort monetarily.

Given the scarcity of volunteers for trail crews in general? I really really really really really really doubt that. REALLY. REALLLLLY. DOUBT. Especially when it's discovered that there are actually standards to meet for how to maintain the trail, and bikes tend to cause a whole lot of damage that the volunteers would be asked to repair to that standard, adding many many hours to the job there are already not a lot of people to do.

Sitting there sawing a tree out of the trail, we might see a dozen or so hikers go by as we do each tree. Most of them say thank you, some of them stop to chat in disbelief that we are not allowed to use chainsaws, and every single one of them say something along the lines of "I could never do that I'm not strong enough/bad back/too many obligations already/not up to it/retired/dozen other excuses." Some of them are right, they are not physically up to it. Most are unwilling.

Your carrot fails to convince me at all that bikers will contribute in any way - because it's not true of the hikers, in most ways.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby Rob on Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:42 pm

Just to play devil's advocate: if mountain-biking were allowed in the wilderness, then more mountain bikers would show up to help do trail maintenance and would contribute to that effort monetarily.

Yes, some trails might become popular for downhillers, such as the one Jack mentions. I think of it much like how Sykes Hot Springs (and to a lesser extent Pine Valley) became well-used by folks who do not understand Leave No Trace. These are places I generally did not go because of their popularity. That is just life. It is not fair. We will just have to adapt to a new reality if this law goes into effect.

As mentioned below there are trails in the Tahoe area where mountain bikers and hikers co-exist. Closer to home, when I ride the Los Gatos Creek Trail or Fremont Older Open Space Preserve (etc) with multi-use trails there are lots of folks who run with headphones. A bike bell and some courtesy is all that is required. There are trail etiquette rules for such occasions.

Even without the law, a lot of hikers do not seem to comprehend that folks going downhill should yield to those going uphill. It is almost comical how many in groups will walk abreast, completely blocking the trail to people coming in the other direction, lost in conversation until you almost bump into them. Some hikers and horse riders will have to adapt, yes.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby jack_glendening on Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:13 pm

Personally, I've always liked the idea of leaving un-sawed step-over logs along those trails apt to be used by bikers, such as the VicenteFlat/KirkCreek trail, making it less attractive to them.

Big Sur Trailmap:
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby steveu on Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:16 am

Well I have hiked on the Tahoe rim trail where bikes are allowed on most of the trail, for the most part no problem the bikers were polite but still expected you to get out of their way, this can be a problem for me on bikes coming from the rear, I wear headphones for my solo hikes and won't hear anyone behind me. so bikes will have to slow down, this can annoy them causing friction between us.
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby mikesplain on Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:46 am

The Chronicle piece is pretty disturbing. Apparently Ted Stroll (ironic name if ever there was one) has never visited the Ventana Wilderness, has no knowledge of the steep, unconsolidated terrain here & has no understanding or respect for all the volunteers working so hard to restore & maintain our trails. Claiming that bikes should be allowed because trails are "lightly used" shows just how out of touch the guy is. Wilderness is such a small percentage of total public land acreage & we decided long ago to enter it with restraint & humility. Lightly used trails are part of the reward of "primitive or unconfined recreation" that here takes a back seat to self-directed nature.

Riding one's bike in the woods is great fun, no doubt, but that can be done on the vast majority of public lands. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate last year; on its face the bill was a collaborative effort between the "Sustainable Trails Committee" & Utah Senators Mike Lee & Orrin Hatch. Beneath the surface it was much more insidious- both Lee & Hatch are critical of the federal government managing land & would prefer to see all public lands handed over to the states (which would in turn sell them off to their extraction industry campaign donors).

But Lee's bill only gave land managers the option to decide which Wilderness areas would allow bikes. The House version (which could get a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee as soon as today, 12/14/17) proposes open season across the entire National Wilderness Preservation System. No surprise- it too is sponsored & co-sponsored by anti-public lands Congressmen. This is Ted Stroll's deal with the devil, plain & simple. We'd all be well-advised to contact our Congressmen & women to express opposition to HR 1349 & encourage our Senators to filibuster this nonsense if it gets that far.

Stroll & the rest of the STC should try parking their vehicles & taking a hike on a lightly used Wilderness trail, it'd do them some good.

Check out this Outside Magazine op-ed for more backstory- ... wilderness
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby jdoelman on Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:56 pm

It seems foolish to grant open-season to mountain bikes in the wilderness. I can foresee a time when groups of bikers are doing decents along in the Ventana, likely rides would be from China Camp to Big Sur, and from Cone Peak road to Hwy 1. It would seem to me that it would disturb the tranquility of the place. ... 425703.php
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Re: Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby lori on Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:52 pm

The language is such that it opens a door for more than just mountain bikes. Anyone who loves the wilderness needs to call and protest, including mountain bikers. It's just another lousy piece of work that's going to take away public lands and sell it.
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Mountain bikes in the Ventana Wilderness?

Postby gene a on Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:46 am

Per an article in the San Francisco Chronicle today,"A House committee is expected to approve controversial legislation Wednesday that would open all federal wilderness, including almost 15 million acres in California, to mountain bikes."
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