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Ventana Wilderness California

Ventana is a wild region of rugged beautiful mountains and forests located right on the California coast. Heavy tree forests, dark wooded hills and valleys, super steep unhikeable rocky ridges and impassable peaks plunge down into lush jungle like valleys. Nearly all of this is hidden from the rest of the world. It is wild, gorgeous and every time you visit you will think you have never been here before. Off-trail hiking can be difficult because of the unstable soils and elevation changes coupled with dense vegetation and undergrowth.

The Ventana Wilderness in California is huge at over 240,000 acres all of which is managed by our very efficient BLM with the support of the Forest Service. You can disappear here easily and camp in the woods for 3 months without detection if you wanted to.

The lowest and warmest portions of the park are near the wild and scenic Big Sur River where it flows out of the area. If you want cooler bigger elevation (with less crowds) check out the area around the Junipero Serra Peak in the east. This is the highest, most remote, and most difficult to climb at over 5,500 feet high.

Nearly all water runs flow through narrow canyons over rocks. Their are many small waterfalls, deep pools you could swim in if you were brave enough. The water is cold though except in the secret spots where there are thermal eruptions of warm water. Sorry can't disclose these. Vanabode here and find them on your own or they will be too crowded.

ventana wilderness in california picture

You can find the typical but enjoyable tall grass meadows throughout at least half the park. There are many coastal redwood trees off the Big Sur and Little Sur Rivers. You will have to hike some distance from the actual water though as they are more inland. Supposedly there are more dangerous and wild mountain lions in these Santa Lucia Mountains than anywhere in the United States, including Colorado. Exercise extreme caution and carry a serious knife.

Vanabode Special Notes: Overnight Vanabode parking is best done in nearby small inns and hotel parking lots. The area offers approximately 197 miles of organized trails from 9 main established trailheads. These spider off of course into hundreds of little trodden paths, perfect for getting away and experiencing California as it was 1,000 years ago. The Pine Ridge Trail is the most crowded because it offers the most sites in the shortest amount of time using the least amount of effort. It is 24 miles long. Trails from Little Sur River up north and Kirk Creek down south offer backpackers the best way to stay overnight in the Ventana Wilderness in California.

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