The Los Padres National Forest is located in the west central part of California.
Where is this Forest?


Recreation Passes & Permits

The Adventure Pass

Adventure Pass logoWherever you live in Southern California, you're just a short drive away from a spectacular wildland adventure - recreating in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests! Here you will find mountains as high as 11,500 feet, canyons, vast forests, lakes, waterfalls, rivers and streams, and a wealth of recreation activities - all waiting for you.

In Los Padres National Forest you can enjoy hiking, camping, mountainbiking, off-highway vehicle travel, picnicking, winter snowplay, cross-country skiing and many other activities. Your national forest lands are a unique and precious resource, yours to enjoy and take care of so that they will always be there...for present and future generations.

The Recreation Fee Program, which includes the Adventure Pass, helps:

  • Conserve, protect, and restore natural and heritage resources
  • Enhance the visitor experiences by improving recreation opportunities and services

Many of the facilities and services in Los Padres National Forest are free. Some areas and facilities do require the Adventure Pass or other fees to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities that you enjoy. Learn more about the Adventure Pass program and other recreation passes that might meet your needs as you enjoy your public lands. more on the Adventure Pass »

Wilderness/Backpacking Permit

You do not need a wilderness/backpacking permit for any of the wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest. Trail camps are on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. Check with the ranger station closest to the trailhead you are leaving from for trail conditions/closures. More information on wilderness/backpacking

Campfire Permits

If you are backpacking and plan on using a small camp stove, a CA Campfire Permits is required.

You can help protect the National Forests from wildfires by knowing and following the rules for the safe use of fire. You must have a California Campfire Permit to use a stove or lantern outside a Developed Recreation Area or Campfire Use Site. The permit is your agreement to follow restrictions and regulations in effect.
Campfire permits are available on our website.

California Campfire Permits are available for free download at:

Your California Campfire Permit is valid until the end of the calendar year; it may be used in any National Forest in California.

During certain times of the year, it is necessary to impose restrictions on campfires and other open flame fires due to high fire danger. It is your responsibility to know what the current restrictions are for the area that you plan to visit.

Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails. (This restriction is in effect year-round)

Spark arresters are required on all off-highway vehicles, chainsaws, and other internal combustion engines and equipment. (This restriction is in effect at all times of the year)

A permit is required for all welding, grinding, cutting, or use of explosives. (This restriction is in effect at all times of the year)

The use of tracer ammunition is prohibited. (This restriction is in effect at all times of the year)

Fireworks are prohibited in Los Padres National Forest. (This restriction is in effect at all times of the year)



Off-Highway Vehicle Use

Shaw Ridge Trail

In the State of California all motorized vehicles must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles before being operated on public lands.