LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST
1,724,000 acres. This huge National Forest consists of two tracts along the coast of south-central California, with lands northwest of Los Angeles as well as in the Big Sur area to the north. There are several mountain ranges here, with 8,831-foot Mount Pinos the highest point.
The rugged scenery in Los Padres includes steep peaks, sculpted rock formations, canyons, and cliffs. A portion of the famous Big Sur coastline falls within the forest boundaries, along with some areas of desert.
In the region are some notable rivers, streams with waterfalls, and hot springsplus oak woodlands, forests of pine, cedar, and fir, including stands of redwoods, and extensive chaparral. Wildlife includes deer, bear, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, and fox.
There are five designated wilderness areas: the 64,503-acre Ventana Wilderness, the 149,170-acre San Rafael Wilderness, the 64,700-acre Dick Smith Wilderness, the 21,678-acre Santa Lucia Wilderness, and the 20,000-acre Machesna Mountain Wilderness.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are possible on about 1,200 miles of trails. Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous. Some trails receive heavy use.
(Horseback riding is allowed on all trails, although a few routes are not advisable for horses. Mountain Dikes may be ridden on some trails outside of wilderness areas.
I Limited cross-country skiing is available during winter in the Mount Pinos area. Fishing is possible n some streams and rivers, especially in the spring. Hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping is allowed :liroughout much of the National Forest, except where otherwise prohibited. Each year about
115,000 acres of the forest are closed to entry, normally from early July through November, due to the fire hazard.
Permits are necessary to enter the wilderness areas at any time of year. Camping in wilderness areas is restricted to designated sites, and campfires are prohibited.
Elsewhere in the forest a fire permit is required to build a campfire or use a stove during the annual period of fire danger. At times campfires are banned or limited to designated sites. Summers are hot and dry in many regions of the forest, so fall through spring are generally the best times to visit.
For Further Information: Los Padres National Forest, 6144 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117; (805)683-6711.
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