Los Padres National Forest provides a great opportunity for camping and outdoor recreation. The forest covers over 2 million acres of public land in California, stretching from the coastal mountains to the central valley.
It offers a variety of terrain and activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding and mountain biking.
The Los Padres National Forest is divided into five distinct districts. Each district offers its own unique camping opportunities.
Camping is permitted in all areas of the forest except for within a quarter-mile of any developed campground or trailhead. Campers must obtain a free permit from the local district office before setting up camp.
The Santa Lucia Ranger District is located in the northern part of Los Padres National Forest and includes the popular Big Sur region. This area has several developed campgrounds and primitive camping areas along the coast, as well as backcountry sites in the Ventana Wilderness and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas. Campers should be aware that some areas require an extra fee for backcountry camping.
The Ojai Ranger District is located in Ventura County and includes both developed campgrounds such as Wheeler Gorge and primitive dispersed camping areas along trails like Nordhoff Ridge Trail and Santa Paula Canyon Trail. This district has some of the best views of Los Padres National Forest.
The Santa Barbara Ranger District is located in Santa Barbara County and offers many different types of camping including beach camping at Refugio State Beach, campground camping at Mono Creek Campground, day use areas at Gaviota State Park, backpacking sites along trails like Buckhorn Trail, Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, El Capitan State Park and others.
Can I Camp Anywhere in Los Padres National Forest?
Yes! You can camp anywhere in Los Padres National Forest as long as you have obtained a free permit from the local district office first.
Keep in mind that some areas may require an extra fee for backcountry camping or have restrictions on where you can set up your campsite. Be sure to check with your local district office before heading out on your next adventure!
Yes, you can camp anywhere in Los Padres National Forest provided that you have obtained a free permit from the local district office beforehand. Be sure to check with them if there are any additional fees or restrictions when selecting your campsite!