It’s been a busy few weeks here in the Los Padres featuring additional fire restrictions and the onset of A-Zone South general deer hunting season. We’ve also had a lot of questions of late about what is and what is not open across the Los Padres. Lots going up and down the Los Padres, especially for the dog days of summer, lets get to it!
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The Dry and Extra Crispy Little Pine Mountain
ADDITIONAL FIRE RESTRICTIONS
- No campfires allowed across the forest. PERIOD.
- No target shooting allowed outside of Winchester and Ojai Valley (Rose Valley) Gun Clubs.
- No camp stoves outside of designated Campfire Use Sites.
- Yes, that means no hot coffee or stove cooking for backcountry travelers!
Obviously 2018 has already been a horrendous wildfire year with more than 15 large fires currently burning across California. So far (knock, knock) the LP has avoided any large fires this season and lets hope it stays that way. Be safe everyone!
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Big Pine Mountain, sadly the pines have been slow to recover after the 2007 Zaca Fire, photo Taryn AshlockA-ZONE SOUTH HUNTING SEASON
A-Zone South general hunting season started August 11 and lasts through September 23. While there are many hunts across the Los Padres, the A-Zone South general season is by far the busiest. A-Zone South covers almost all of the Los Padres from Monterey down through SLO, SB and a large portion of Ventura County. You can see the map showing the coverage area here. Each year we hear concerns from non-hunters who are caught off guard coming across groups of hunters. Be aware that hunters will be out and about this time of year and if that’s not your cup of tea you might want to head elsewhere in the Los Padres. Pine Mountain above Ojai and the Mt Pinos area are both outside of A-Zone South and should be nicer this time of year due to their higher elevations. Once again, be safe everyone…..
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While not quite as impressive as the Black Gate of Mordor, it’ll feel just as imposing if you find it closed when you thought it was supposed to be open!YOU SHALL (NOT) PASS!
We get a ton of questions from forest-users asking about which gates are open? is that gate closed? is this trail open? can I go here,? etc….? BTW, we love helping with these questions so please keep them coming! While the Forest Service website does a great job of sharing this information, we thought it was probably time to share some of the answers we’ve been helping people with over the past months. We’re focusing on either the recent changes or the major questions we frequently receive. For more details please check the Los Padres website linked above or call your local Ranger District:
- MONTEREY RANGER DISTRICT
- HIGHWAY 1: After being closed since May 19, 2017, the GIANT slide at Mud Creek finally reopened on July 18. Highway 1 through what is known as the Big Sur Coast is now open from Morro Bay to Monterey. That being said, there are still some one lane delays and the occasional nighttime closure. If you are planning a trip along this section of Hwy 1 be sure to check ahead of time to with CalTrans to make sure you can safely get through.
- PALO COLORADO ROAD: Palo Colorado Road sustained major damage following the 2016 Soberanes Fire and 2017 winter season. The road remains closed three miles above Hwy 1 but people can hike up the road to access Bottcher’s Gap and the Northern Terminus of the Condor Trail. While the road is open to pedestrians, understand that there is no parking along the road so you’ll have to arrange for a drop-off if you plan on hiking up to Bottcher’s. Palo Colorado is scheduled to reopen by the end of October.
- PINE RIDGE TRAIL & FRIENDS: The Pine Ridge, Terrace Creek and Ventana Camp Trails remain the largest and most substantial closure across the Los Padres as well as the # 1 question we get about closures. Pine Ridge Trail remains closed from Highway 1 at Big Sur Station up-canyon to beyond Redwood Camp. This includes Ventana Camp, Barlow, Terrace Creek, Sykes and Redwood. The trail was damaged in both the Soberanes Fire as well as the 2017 storms. There is no timetable as to when the trail or access to the camps will be reopened.
- SANTA LUCIA RANGER DISTRICT
- HI MOUNTAIN ROAD: Hi Mountain Road was reopened in late April after being closed for over a year due to lack of maintenance.
- BATES CANYON: Closed above Bates Campground due to road issues and slides.
- SANTA BARBARA RANGER DISTRICT
- ROMERO CAMUESA ROAD: The Romero Camuesa Road remains closed to vehicle traffic beyond Romero Saddle along East Camino Cielo.
- DIVIDE PEAK OHV: Divide Peak is open but riders will need to park at Romero Saddle.
- FIRST CROSSING: Open.
- BUCKHORN ROAD OHV: Closed at Upper Oso due to Rey Fire damage and adjustments to the Camuesa Road OHV. More on that to come…..
- SB FRONTCOUNTRY TRAILS: Most of the frontcountry trails have reopened but the lower sections of Cold Spring and Hot Springs remain closed as well as the entire West Fork Cold Spring Trail. More on this to come soon as well……
- OJAI RANGER DISTRICT
- MIDDLE LION CAMPGROUND: Open, after being closed due to the Thomas Fire.
- ROSE VALLEY CAMPGROUND: Open, same as above.
- NORDHOFF RIDGE ROAD: Open, same as above.
- ORTEGA TRAIL: Open, same as above.
- CHERRY CREEK: Open, seasonal.
- MT PINOS RANGER DISTRICT
- RANCHO NUEVO / TINTA, MT PINOS RD: The road to Rancho Nuevo TH and lower Tinta TH was closed for an extended period of time due to gullies and washouts. The road has been recently reopened to both trailheads.
- WEST DRY CANYON ROAD, MT PINOS RD: Dry Canyon Road, which connects Santa Barbara Canyon to the upper Tinta TH and Cuyama Peak remains closed due to gullies sustained during the 2017 winter season.
So much brown, dry photos; lets mix in some green and a July waterfall along the Sisquoc