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 - Suggestions for backpacking trip

Suggestions for backpacking trip

This is the place for general discussion and backcountry information.

Moderators: Betsy M, dknapp1

Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby Gargoyle on Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:06 pm

In the SIP order Hiking is recommended and backpacking and camping are NOT banned.
The answer should come from "Community Association of Big Sur", I saw this on the "Big Sur Kate" blog:

"CABS has contacted our LPNF District Ranger and Forest Supervisor requesting they issue an order closing the dispersed camping and back country trails in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest"

(I believe) it is highly unlikely that any person at the Big Sur Covid-19 meeting on April 6, 2020 was knowledgable about conditions on trails. The reality is that with the campgrounds closed there was a slight increase in the number of road-side campers in the dispersed camping areas of the south coast. The overall impact of the closed campgrounds was a huge decrease in the number of people visiting Big Sur, thus a large decrease in potential emergency service problems. These meetings have a huge (and negative) influence related to allowing the general population access Big Sur. This influence from Big Sur (and likely from only Big Sur) resulted in the closure.

Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby ventanaphile on Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:59 pm

Can someone intelligently articulate the science behind the decision to close LPNF? I thought the intention of closing down the country was to "flatten the curve" (a phrase I have come to loathe of late) in order to lessen the potential strain on hospitals. Now it seems like our fearless politicians won't let us reopen and resume normal life until all of COVID-19 is eradicated (which is an impossible task). That is NOT what American people agreed to. How does shutting down trails in the Ventana maintain social distancing or reduce viral infection? Is there anyone on this forum with a medical background who can help me understand this better? Why not encourage people to get into the LPNF and enjoy their public spaces and let adults be responsible for maintaining social distance and practicing good hygiene. This is not Yosemite NP after all.

Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby gfelsman on Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:59 pm

Porcupine, be aware that all developed recreational sites( Camping, Day Use, Picnic Areas, etc.) are also closed per a previous order. Be sure to visit the LPNF Website or call the district office for the latest information. The last thing one wants to do is try to go somewhere, then find out it is closed.
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Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby Porcupine on Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:47 am

Below is the closure order, it is unclear that this represents the "entire Monterey Ranger District". Note that Backpacking and Camping are NOT banned by the County Stay-In-Place order (the order bans a long list of activities and these are noticably missing).

ForestOrderNo. 05-07-51-20-03
COVID19 Emergency Closure
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District.
This Order is effective from April 21, 2020 through April 30, 2020.
1. Entering or using the trailheads listed below and shown on the attached map.
a. San Carpoforo Trailhead
b. Salmon Creek Trailhead
c. Buckeye Trailhead
d. Soda Springs Trailhead
e. Cruickshank Trailhead
f. Prewitt South Trailhead
g. Prewitt North Trailhead
h. Mill Creek Trailhead
i. Kirk Creek Trailhead
j. De Angulo Trailhead
k. Boronda Trailhead
36 CFR 261.58(b).
2. Being on the National Forest System roads listed below and shown on the attached map.
a. Forest Road No. 18S02 (Tassajara Road)
b. Forest Road No. 19S10 (Piney Creek Road)
c. Forest Road No. 19S09 (Milpitas Road)
d. Forest Road No. 22S01 (Nacimiento-Fergusson Road)
e. Forest Road No. 20S05.3 (Central Coast Road/Cone Peak Road)
f. Forest Road No. 22S05 (South Coast Ridge Road)
g. Forest Road No. 24S06 (Baldwin Ranch Road)
h. Forest Road No. 23S01 (Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road)
i. Forest Road No. 23S02 (Plaskett Ridge Road)
j. Forest Road No. 20S05 (North Coast Ridge Road)
k. Forest Road No. 19S05 (Sycamore Canyon Road)
36 CFR 261.54(e).
3. Being on the National Forest System trails listed below and shown on the attached map.
a. Forest Trail No. 1E02 (Turner Creek Trail)
b. Forest Road No. 20S03 (Boronda Trail)
c. Forest Trail No. 2E07 (DeAngulo Trail)
d. Forest Trail No. 4E17 (Kirk Creek Trail)
e. Forest Trail No. 5E06 (Prewitt Loop Trail)
f. Forest Trail No. 5E13 (Sand Dollar/Jade Cove Trail)
This Order supersedes Order Number 05-07-51-20-03, dated April 15, 2020.
g. Forest Trail No. 5E10 (Cruickshank Trail)
h. Forest Trail No. 5E17 (Soda Springs Trail)
i. Forest Trail No. 5E09 (Buckeye Trail)
j. Forest Trail No. 6E11 (Salmon Creek Trail)
36 CFR 261.55(a).
Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.S0(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:
1. Any Federal, State or local officer, public utilities employee, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
2. Owners or lessees of private land are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
3. Residents are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences.
4. Current recreational cabin permittees are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to access their cabins.

Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby VWA Admin on Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:43 pm

Note that the entire Monterey Ranger District (including all of the aforementioned trails) is closed due to COVID-19. The closure order currently ends on April 30th (but will likely be renewed), with any luck you'll still be able to hike in mid-June, but best to have a back-up plan just in case.
Happy Trails,
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Re: Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby Jack Rabbit on Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:02 pm

You can still do the Pine Ridge trail from China Camp to the Big Sur trail intersection. If you want to risk meeting someone you can head to Pine Ridge camp, that is about 8 miles from China Camp. For a day-hike from there you can do a x-country hike to summit Ventana Cone, or if you want to take a look at a really bad trail take a day-trip to Cienega Camp along the Big Sur Trail or do the x-country trip to Bear Basin camp. Other day trips are possible south along Black Cone Trail, side trip to summit south ventana cone or visit the "crowds" down in Pine Valley.

If you don't want to see anyone, drive to the "hoist", then walk to Lone Pine Camp. Take a day-trip to Ventana Double Cone, stop by Pat's Spring or Big Pines camp on the way back.
Another, formerly popular, place where you are unlikely to see anyone these days is Pico Blanco camp. That spot is difficult to access. The only feasible way to get there is the long walk from the hoist along Palo Rd 3-miles to Bottchers, then 3 miles down the dirt road to the start of eastern end of the Little Sur Trail, from there 5 miles to Pico Blanco Camp. Maybe day-hike from there to summit Pico Blanco peak, or stay and swim in the fridgid waters of the Little Sur.
Don't thank me now, these recommendations involve some of the fabled Ventana brush, you may not enjoy any of them.
Jack Rabbit

Suggestions for backpacking trip

Postby kmahony1 on Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:20 am

Hi all. Would like some trip suggestions. Some background: I was planning a three-night four-day backpacking trip on Pine Ridge Trail in mid-June but now know it is closed.
Any suggestions for a 3-4 day backpacking trip in Big Sur / Ventana Wilderness area?
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