Ventana Wilderness backpacking and hiking map

It’s the cool season and it’s time to focus on lower elevation areas.

I haven’t been to Los Padres National Forest or Ventana Wilderness in nearly fifteen years. I think I’ve walked there three times. The longest trip was five days as a boy scout. We went up the Double Cones. I remember a camp where I pulled no less than 14 ticks off my shirt.

Some of the trails in Ventana continue to be in terrible shape. Do your research before you head out! The popular corridor trails (Sykes, Pine Valley) are generally fine. It’s the other trails that can verge on non-existent. This is not the type of bush-whacking that you think you like. It’s thick chaparral and head high poison oak. Think of struggling through sharp bushes where your feet don’t touch the ground. Consider volunteering in Ventana.

Ventana Wilderness maps

The Ventana Wilderness Alliance stewards trail location and condition information on their website. Hikers report on trail conditions in their forum. You can click on Ventana’s trails and get the same trail condition information on their interactive map. More interactive maps on, including the great Gmap4 and Google Map (and Earth) basemaps, present the exact same data.

You can download and print this Ventana Wilderness map information too. It’s a good alternative to the Wilderness Press and National Geographic maps.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t want to hike some of these trails.


  1. elisabitch

    Let me know if you end up in the southern Los Padres this winter! A little different from the Ventana portion, but plenty of solitude. There’s a new guidebook that is fantastic, Hiking & Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura by my friend Craig Carey, if you need inspiration šŸ™‚ Can’t wait for cooler temps!!

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