Los Padres National Forest

Quick Facts

Los Padres National Forest


(805) 683-6711

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located in the beautiful coastal mountains of central California, lies the Los Padres National Forest encompassing nearly two million acres, stretching almost 220 miles from the Carmel Valley area to the western edge of Los Angeles County. The Los Padres National Forest serves an enormous population base including the San Francisco Bay Area, the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, the southern San Joaquin Valley and the many communities along the south and central coast. The forest provides the scenic backdrop for many communities and is a significant component of the quality of life in this area. The forest also supplies a substantial portion of the water needs of several downstream communities. While many of the campgrounds and picnic areas are easily reached by vehicle, much of the forest is remote and unroaded, with excellent opportunities for primitive backcountry recreation.

Map of Los Padres Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 35.400912, -120.290405



  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking is a growing sport. Riding is permitted only on designated forest roads and trails. Riding is not permitted inside designated Wilderness areas and some "Front Country" trails. Challenging routes can be found for all skill levels but the more spectacular rides should be attempted by the experienced cyclist.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway is one of the most popular scenic drives in the forest. The byway travels through some of the most picturesque and diverse terrain in southern California. Spectacular vistas greet you along the entire route, and yet you are also treated to "close encounters" with beautiful cliffs, rock formations, and lush riparian areas. The unique geology, geomorphology, plant, and animal life of the area captures the interest and imagination of the casual recreationist and scientist alike.

  • Camping

    The Los Padres National Forest offers beautiful camping areas that range widely from low to high elevation, riverside to forested, and primitive to developed. Most of the campsites tend to be directed toward the more primitive camping experience.

  • Fishing

    River and stream fishing is popular at Los Padres.

  • Hiking

    There are 1,257 miles of maintained trails which provide both day-use and extended backpacking opportunities.

  • Horseback Riding

    There are many trails where horses are allowed. There are also corrals and horse camp sites as well.

  • Hunting

    Los Padres offers hunter a wide range of hunting opportunities. Popular game to hunt are black bear, deer, wild boar, quail, rabbits and other small game.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Forest has 459 miles of roads and trails designated for OHV use and camping as well.

  • Picnicking

    Picknic areas for visitors and large groups can be found throughout the forest.

Park Partners

Los Padres Forest Association

Since 1981, the LPFA has worked in close cooperation with the Los Padres National Forest to support its mission. Through the development of web resources, support for forest care and interpretive programs and protection of heritage resources, the LPFA seeks to enrich visitor experiences while helping to protect forest resources.



The forest can be reached from many routes branching off state highway 101 along California's coast.


Less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles.

Phone Numbers


(805) 683-6711