Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur

Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur

Los Padres National Forest

One of the great treasures of the United States, the Los Padres National Forest is 1.75 million acres of diverse parkland, including many unspoiled, primitive wilderness areas. The Los Padres National Forest offers over 300 miles of rugged Big Sur hiking trails, as well as some of the best unspoiled Big Sur campsites.

Los Padres National Forest spans five counties: Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Kern. In Monterey County, Los Padres National Forest extends through Big Sur and out toward the Salinas Valley. It houses redwood groves, the California condor, and provides a refuge for 468 species of fish and wildlife, as well as endangered and sensitive plant species.

Camping

Los Padres National Forest houses 11 campgrounds holding many of Big Sur's campsites, ranging from primitive hike-in sites to fully featured modern campgrounds with showers that are capable of accommodating RVs of all sizes. Some campgrounds in Los Padres National Forest offer hunting, fishing, hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.

See the US Forest Service's Los Padres National Forest website for a list of every campsite in the Monterey District, as well as detailed information on each. Once you find one you like, visit Recreation.gov to make your Big Sur camping reservation

Hiking, Cycling and Horseback Riding

With 323 miles of hiking trails in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest, even the most dedicated outdoor enthusiast could spend weeks exploring the area without walking twice in the same place. Short loops are perfect for a day hike, while the hardcore hiker or camper can spend days on these Big Sur hiking trails without ever seeing civilization.

The Los Padres National Forest is also known for providing a unique Big Sur horseback riding experience. Its rugged trails will give you the sense that you've ridden back in time.

Cyclists are not permitted in wilderness areas, but are allowed on many other hiking trails within Los Padres National Forest. Check the Los Padres National Forest website for more information.

The Los Padres National Forest maintains a list of trails available for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. In addition, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance maintains online reports of hiking trail conditions that are frequently updated.

Hunting

Hunting is permitted in many areas of the Los Padres National Forest. However, lead bullets are banned. California Department of Fish and Game regulations apply. Consult the US Forest Service's Los Padres National Forest website to learn which areas are open for hunting, and the California Department of Fish and Game website for information on hunting seasons, licenses and fees.

Fishing

Fishing is permitted in many lakes, rivers and ocean areas of the Los Padres National Forest. California Department of Fish and Game regulations apply. Consult the US Forest Service's Los Padres National Forest website to learn which areas are open for fishing, and the California Department of Fish and Game website for information on fishing licenses, regulations and fees.

Maps

The US Forest Service website has detailed online maps of Los Padres National Forest, including information on campgrounds, undeveloped campsites and hiking trails. Hard copies of the Los Padres National Forest map can be purchased online from the US Forest Service.

 

Lay of the Land

click to enlarge map

Lay of the Land

LayoftheLand

VIEW MONTEREY COUNTY MAP

County Map

VIEW DETAILED MAPS

Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.

WANT TO GET HERE FAST?

Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

x
Sign up for our eNewsletter!
Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more.

more

Free Travel Guide
Get your digital guide now!
Find out everything there is to see and do with the 2015 Official Travel Guide. more

 

Monterey Spotlight
 
 

Featured Events

Apr
5
2015

Easter Brunches in Monterey County

Apr. 5
Looking for a way to celebrate Easter weekend in Monterey County? Overwhelmed with…more
Apr
9
2015

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Apr. 9-Apr. 12
Pebble Beach Food & Wine is the premier epicurean lifestyle event on the West…more
Apr
11
2015

Pacific Grove Good Old Days

Apr. 11-Apr. 12
Come to "America's Last Hometown" for an old-fashioned celebration with…more
Apr
16
2015

Sea Otter Classic

Apr. 16-Apr. 19
A four-day "Celebration of Cycling," the Sea Otter Classic is regarded as…more
Apr
26
2015

Big Sur International Marathon

Apr. 26
The Big Sur Marathon is 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world -…more
May
1
2015

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

May. 1-May. 3
This new series created by the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series…more
May
1
2015

Wildflower Triathlon

May. 1-May. 3
One of the premier triathlons nationally and internationally, this course will test…more
May
2
2015

The Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival

May. 2-May. 3
Held in the heart of Old Monterey, this inaugural "Language Capital of the…more
May
2
2015

Winemakers' Celebration

May. 2
Over 30 Monterey County wineries from 9 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) will…more
May
14
2015

Carmel Art Festival

May. 14-May. 17
Carmel-by-the-Sea highlights its artist colony origins with the Carmel Art Festival.…more
May
14
2015

Salinas Valley Fair

May. 14-May. 17
Enjoy the atmosphere of an old-fashioned county fair, complete with carnival,…more
May
22
2015

California Roots Music & Arts Festival

May. 22-May. 24
The 6th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival is a three-day event packed…more
May
23
2015

MayFest Monterey Bay

May. 23-May. 25
This FREE admission 3 DAY FESTIVAL created for the community at large will occur…more
All

Activities

Feb 25, 2015
- Mar 31, 2015

Free Sailing Tour of the Monterey Bay

Martine Inn
Book a two night stay at the Martine Inn and receive two free tickets for a one-hour…

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

Fisherman's Wharf Association
The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a…

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
Nov 18, 2014
- Apr 1, 2015

Surf and Turf Package

Tradewinds Carmel
Enjoy a relaxing night in a luxurious King or Queen/Queen room. Spend the Day…

FREE APPETIZER or 1 HR of POOL

Blue Fin Cafe & Billiards
Choose a FREE APP or 1Hr of Pool with any $20 purchase on selected items *Mention…

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
All