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 - Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

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Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Postby jbl on Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:58 pm

I have hiked up from both the Boy Scout Camp and OCR, with permission from Graniterock (I would not go without getting their permission).

Last time was Memorial Day Weekend 2016, two scant months before the devastating Soberanes Fire, when a group of us went up from the Boy Scout Camp taking the traditional route of Little Sur Trail>offtrail up Launtz Ridge>offtrail on the North (knife edge) Ridge to the summit (and as Jack said, it is best to turn off the Launtz Ridge before you get to the North Ridge and then do a diagonal climbing track under the North Ridge until you get over to where the true knife edge starts), and we descended by going straight down the East Face to get back onto the Little Sur Trail for the return to the Boy Scout Camp. BUT...The Soberanes Fire (and subsequent rains)!!!! The Little Sur Trail had some maintenance happening before then but even with that, on the VWA annual National Trails Day work trips there, we always found dozens of new trees down and other issues, so I can only imagine that it is much worse with zero maintenance and lots of burned trees now that 4 years have passed. And the offtrail section up Launtz Ridge and to the summit, which was always a bit overgrown with poison oak and other brush and had a number of trees, is I am certain quite impassible with no traffic having been through there for so long. And with Palo Colorado Road (the only access to the Boy Scout Camp) closed indefinitely, this route seems to be unavailable as an option until who knows when.

The OCR side is also going to be very bad given that the Little Sur Trail section is so exposed and is so often overgrown even when it gets traffic and some infrequent maintenance; with 4 years of little or no traffic and no maintenance after such a hot fire pretty much burned everything there, it's got to be in horrendous shape.

So, I'm glad I made it up there one last time before the Soberanes fire because I think it'll be a while before it is reasonably accessible again.
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Re: Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:16 pm

That is a difficult question to answer publicly because the surrounding GraniteRock property, including its roads, is private. The boy scouts have had a blanket permission to summit Pico Blanco but others have had to request permission - which has only been obtained for a few groups with good supervision. I have (legally) been on the top and the route up from the east (close to the scout camp) can be tricky because hikers tend to reach the ridge too quickly and then must crawl along the knife edge there - it's easier to instead move parallel to the ridge near the top and climb to the ridge much closer to the peak. I do know that some have illegally made an approach from the west, directly upslope to the peak.

Big Sur Trailmap:
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Re: Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Postby adagioca on Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:39 pm

Unless you are OK trespassing on GraniteRock RD, I would advise against following the Carmel River trail past GraniteRock crossing. I attempted that several weeks ago and we eventually had to bail after loosing the trail several times.
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Re: Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Postby Gonehiking guest on Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:38 pm

I have hiked to the top of Pico from the Boy Scout camp in the summer twice and both times it was brutal and this was with the approach trails in good condition.... from the camp if it was open, would have been the easier option. I have hiked from OCR several times and in several trails crews in an attempt to keep the trail open prior to the Soberanes fire. I feel that the trail would be all but lost as it has not been maintened since. I would not attempt in summer due to the fact that it would be a bushwack through sun exposed south chapparal slope. You would need to hike to Pico Public or even farther east to start climbing the mountain.
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Hiking to the top of Pico Blanco?

Postby jwahl09 on Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:29 pm

I would like to do a hike to the top of Pico Blanco and back. It sounds like the trail from Old Coast Road to the junction with GraniteRock road is good but it is tough going past there. Does anyone know if it is possible to scramble up to the peak at that point or soon after?

Thank you and happy trails :)
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