Can You Camp in Los Padres National Forest?

Los Padres National Forest is one of the most popular camping destinations in California, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The forest covers a vast 1.75 million acres, stretching along the California coast from Big Sur to Ventura County. With its stunning views and plethora of activities, Los Padres National Forest is an ideal spot for camping.

Campers can choose from a variety of campgrounds in Los Padres National Forest, each with its own unique features and amenities. The Santa Barbara Ranger District has the highest concentration of campgrounds, offering 28 sites suitable for both tent and RV camping. Other popular campgrounds include Figueroa Campground near Santa Barbara, Sage Hill Group Campground near Ojai, and Reyes Creek Campground near Maricopa.

The terrain of Los Padres National Forest varies greatly depending on where you are in the forest. In the lower elevations, you’ll find chaparral-covered hillsides dotted with stands of oak and sycamore trees, while in the higher elevations you’ll encounter dense coniferous forests like those found in Sequoia National Park. This range of terrain provides an excellent opportunity to explore the area by hiking or mountain biking.

Camping Regulations

There are several regulations that must be followed when camping in Los Padres National Forest. Campers must obtain a campfire permit if they plan to use a fire or charcoal grill in their campsite. All food must be stored properly to prevent attracting wildlife into campsites; this includes storing food items securely in your vehicle or hanging them at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any tree trunk or branch using bear-proof containers or mesh bags.

Things to Do

In addition to camping and hiking, there are plenty of other things to do while visiting Los Padres National Forest. Anglers can fish for trout, bass, steelhead trout, salmon, catfish and sturgeon in nearby lakes and streams. Mountain bikers can explore some of the many trails found throughout the forest; horseback riders can traverse miles upon miles of trails too.


Yes – You can camp in Los Padres National Forest! With dozens of campgrounds spread out across 1.75 million acres of stunning scenery and diverse terrain, it’s no wonder why this national forest is such a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and relaxation alike.

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Jennifer Watson