Big Sur Coastline, Making Even the Worst Photographer Look Good
Chances are you’re reading this with a few more layers of clothes on and a few more windows closed than you had at this time last week. The storm that just passed (or is passing) is our first winter storm of the season. Rain totals across the forest have varied greatly with the Northern LP getting well over an inch of rain and as much as 2 inches in certain areas. The rain totals dwindle heading south with SLO backcountry in the half inch range, SB backcountry in the quarter inch and Ventura backcountry in the tenth of an inch range. Of course there are outliers and areas that received more rain than others. BUT the exciting thing, if you get excited about things like this, is that this storm will mark the first time this season that much of the backcountry will experience freezing or near-freezing temperatures. Low temps should be around freezing up through the high 30’s for most of the Los Padres over the coming two nights. A taste of things to come. Temps will warm up heading into what looks to be a perfect weekend for a hike or ride. Great time of year!
Shutting of the Gates
As winter arrives, along with it we usually see a few more seasonal gate closures across the forest. Knowing the status of gate closures is tricky and it can certainly ruin your weekend outing if you come across a locked gate you expected would be open. Some gates are opened/closed solely on established dates. What this means is that there are rules for certain roads/gates where they are recommended to be closed or opened on certain dates regardless of weather. The big dates across the forest are November 1, December 15 and May 1. Other gates are opened/closed around storm systems and weather events – open during dry times and closed when rain is forecast. It’s really hard to know for sure if and when a gate will be open/closed. Best advice for any of you heading to the mountains is to do your homework ahead of time. First check two online sources:
• The Forest Service has a page dedicated to road and campground closures:
• HikeLosPadres also has a page designated to the status of certain gates around the forest. The gate list is not complete but it is updated as closures happen. NOTE: If you have any updates or would like any gates added, please let HLP know.
Then, in addition to the online resources, I’d also recommend calling the Ranger District you plan on visiting and double checking the status of the gate closures. There is almost nothing worse than getting shutdown by a locked gate before you even get to a trailhead. Research ahead of time can solve most of those headaches.
Again, check the resources mentioned above but here are a few closures to keep an eye on:
- Dough Flat, above Fillmore, will be closing December 15 this year.
- Middle Lion Campground, near Piedra Blanca, will be closed December 1.
- Santa Barbara Canyon gate, at Reyes Ranch, is scheduled to be closed November 1.
- Reyes Peak / Pine Mtn is scheduled to be closed December 15.
- West Cuesta Rd above SLO will be closed for repairs from November 1, 2015 – October 31, 2016.
Rik’s Army of Packs, Waiting for YOU!
And don’t forget the Used Gear Sale this weekend in Santa Barbara! Check out the link below for more information:
November 7: Used Gear Sale, Tucker’s Grove Site 5, Goleta
December 4-6: LPFA Lower Mono-Alamar Trail Project
* It’s harder to schedule events this time of year, sorry there isn’t more on the schedule. If you want anything added, please let us know.