Plan a Trip

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated July 16, 2021

FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Effective July 15, 2021, COLD CAMPING ONLY IN THE BACKCOUNTRY. NOT ONLY ARE CAMPFIRES AND SMOKING PROHIBITED IN BACKCOUNTRY CAMPS, SO IS STOVE USAGE. If you are going backpacking, take food that does not require any sort of open flame to prepare. Campfire use and smoking is also prohibited at Designated Use Sites but stoves are OK at those few locations for now. Bottom line ... no open flames anywhere until we get winter rains.  

The Willow Fire Forest Closure Order has been revised. See this link for what trails and camp remain closed and a map.  

Highway One is Open.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is Closed -- This road -- which connects Highway 1 at Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett on the eastern side of the Coast Ridge -- is significantly damaged and will be closed indefinitely. 

What's new? The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp IS OPEN. Remember ... NO campfires or stoves!

For now, most trails and backcountry camps in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest are open. The Kirk Creek Trail from Highway 1 to Vicente Flat Camp will be closed until late July.   

Roads closed to vehicular traffic: Arroyo Seco Road at Carmel Valley Road, Tassajara Road at Carmel Valley Road, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, South Coast Ridge Road to Prewitt Ridge, Cone Peak Road, Arroyo Seco - Indians Road from Memorial Park to Escondido Camp

Know Before You Go: Please enjoy your public lands responsibly. Pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper). Leave this special place better than you found it. Call the U. S. Forest Service, Monterey Ranger District office if you need more information: 831-385-5434.  

Current Fire Restrictions: NO CAMPFIRES OR STOVES. Stoves are permitted only at a few Designated Use Sites in Los Padres National Forest. A permit is required for stove use. Click here for a permit and take it with you

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 
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), Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Closed: John Little State Natural Reserve

Weather

weatherYou'll find here a number of links to some pretty informative internet weather sites relevant to the northern Santa Lucia backcounty traveler. They should be helpful in determining what the weather's going to do while you're out there. But regardless of what these folks say, it's always smart to prepare for the worst.

leave no trace signWe need everybody to commit to the Leave No Trace principles. This is an example of what happens otherwise.

 

The Big Sur backcountry is rugged and untamed. It is also quite fragile and easily impacted by the actions of humans. California’s population has doubled since the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law. This growing population and the global popularity of Big Sur as a destination for outdoor recreation exert tremendous pressure on our public lands. The US Forest Service is the agency responsible for recreation management in the region. They are woefully underfunded and understaffed.

Resources for the Ventana Traveler

 

For those new to the region, heading out into the backcountry without consulting a trail guide is at best adventurous and venturing forth without at least a map is courting disaster. Thankfully, maps and books specific to exploration of the Big Sur backcountry are readily available. The publications and web resources listed below, when used in conjunction with the VWA's online Trails Conditions pages, should help in the planning of a wilderness visit.

With over 300 miles of trails and dozens of camps in the Big Sur backcountry, there is ample opportunity for recreation and solitude. Since we are so often asked for trip suggestions, we offer these five locales as a mere sampling of what the Ventana region has to offer.