Explore the Trails

CURRENT REGS and CONDITIONS - updated February 5, 2024 - Significant Atmospheric River Damage - Road access to trailheads on the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest may not be open. 

See Monterey County Road Closures and Advisories and Highway 1 current conditions.    

Current Fire Restrictions: Effective December 20, 2023 fire restrictions are lifted.  Campfires are permitted in Big Sur backcountry camps. Please use campfires and stoves responsibly. Click this link to secure a permit to use a campfire and stove.       

Almost all of the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas are open. That said, some recreation sites, campgrounds, and roads managed by Los Padres National Forest and/or the County of Monterey remain closed. See this link for the latest US Forest Service closure information.  All Forest Service developed rec sites on the coast are open (Kirk Creek Campground, Mill Creek DUA, Sand Dollar DUA, Willow Creek DUA, and Plaskett Campground).  Arroyo Seco Recreation Area (and its campgrounds) remain closed

Roads: Closures of roads (federal, state, and county) have been the norm in recent years due to storm damage. Though most of the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas are open for visitation, you still may not be able to drive to trailheads. A two-mile closure of Highway 1 remains in effect between Limekiln State Park and Lucia. Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast remains open from Cambria to Limekiln, and from Monterey to Lucia. Check Caltrans'  current Highway 1 conditions here before you drive the Big Sur coast.  The Arroyo Seco Recreation Area remains closed due to the closure of Arroyo Seco Road. Monterey County expects the road to be reopened by April, 2024.  

Tassajara Road is CLOSED. Please see Monterey County's Road Traffic Advisories, Closures & Information page.   

Roads with long-term closure 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, Los Burros Road.

Coast Road (aka Old Coast Road), which provides vehicle access to the Little Sur Trailhead, is usualy closed during wet weather.Check this link for Monterey County road closures.   

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 secure additional information.  

 

Trail Conditions Reports

 

Please note: Wilderness travel in the Big Sur backcountry during the summer months can be dangerous. Extreme heat, impassable trails, and unrelenting topography conspire to make summer backpacking difficult for even the most experienced explorer. This is not the high Sierra. Loop routes that look do-able on a map may be impassable in the field. Summertime exploration of the Big Sur backcountry is best done closest to the coast.Trail and camp conditions change constantly. Always research trail conditions before you head out and be prepared for the many perils associated with Wilderness travel. Apply information gathered at ventanawild.org at your own risk. VWA assumes no liability for the usage of this information.

Welcome to on-line Trail Conditions Reports for the Los Padres National Forest Monterey Ranger District and California State Parks on the Big Sur coast. These reports are provided as a public service by the Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Here you will find (and hopefully share) the most up-to-date information for trails within the public lands of the northern Santa Lucia Range, from the coastal bluffs to the craggy heights of the Big Sur backcountry.

Planning a hike? Check out our Plan a Trip page for maps, weather, road conditions and other helpful resources. Once you have a route in mind, click on the appropriate land designation below. For simplicity’s sake, all USFS trails are categorized by wilderness area. Non-wilderness USFS trails are included in the nearest wilderness area. You can also view trails by network. We have organized USFS trails into seven regional networks. The five coastal state parks each serve as de-facto networks.

Once you’ve selected the wilderness, state park or network that interests you, browse the list of trails within and click on a trail name to view parking information, watersheds, junctions, connections and campsites. Select Latest Conditions to view previously submitted trail conditions reports, or choose Submit a Trail Report to upload a report from your own recent experience. When submitting reports, be sure to use the accurate trail name and please separate trip reports into reports for constituent trails. You may also wish to separate trail reports into sections (Section: trailhead to camp A, Section: camp A to camp B, etc.) This is especially helpful for trails with sections in varying degrees of repair. Please note - inquiries about conditions of a particular trail should be posted at the Ventana Discussion Forum, not here!

As you can see, this entire project depends heavily upon input from trail users such as yourself. Reports filed here are also an important resource for the VWA Trail Program when selecting new projects. So please take the time to tell us how the walking went on your last trip!

 

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