Plan a Trip

CURRENT RULES, REGS, and CONDITIONS - updated May 25, 2022

Campfire Restrictions: Campfire restriction are in place effective Friday, May 27Campfires and smoking are prohibited at all backcountry camps in Los Padres National Forest. This includes the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas and dispersed (car) camping areas.  Stove use is currently allowed with a permit.  Note that despite its name this permit does not allow for campfire use. Only a stove during restrictions.  

Roads: It is wise to check Caltrans'  current Highway 1 conditions here before you drive the Big Sur coast. Closures may be put into effect at any time. You can also call a hotline at 800-427-7623It is also smart to check rural roads maintained by Monterey County. Check this link before planning a trip. 

Roads closed to vehicular traffic: Palo Colorado Road from the Hoist to Bottchers Gap, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road from Nacimiento Campground to the coast, South Coast Ridge Road from Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to the intersection with Prewitt Ridge Road, Cone Peak Road

Know before you go: Call the USDA Forest Service, Monterey Ranger District office if you need more information at 831-385-5434

State Parks: Check with individual State Parks to confirm access and for additional information. 

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.