Big Sur, California
NileGuide Expert tip:
Check with the Forest Service and any other informational sources to keep updated on the latest trail conditions, as they are subject to change frequently.
240,026 acres of federally designated wilderness (that's kind of oxymoronic) comprise the Ventana Wilderness, located in the heart of the larger Los Padres National Forest. Los Padres extends over 5 counties, including Big Sur, and encapsulates two million acres of forest, mountains, and coast. The Ventana Wilderness is Big Sur's cut of Los Padres. Steep, challenging terrain, perfect for moderate to experienced hikers, and verdant youthful valley make up most of the Ventana Wilderness's topography. It really epitomizes Central California coast geography, and with over 197 miles of trails and camping grounds, you can experience it first hand. Visitors also swoon over the abundant streams that flow steadily through the area. Among the more popular hiking trails in the Ventana Wilderness are Bottchers Gap, Los Padres Dam, China Camp, and Arroyo Seco, as well as the Pine Ridge Trailhead near the Big Sur Station, close to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.