Los Padres National Forest encompasses approximately 1.75 million acres of central California's scenic Coast and Transverse Ranges. The forest stretches across almost 220 miles from north to south and consists of two separate land divisions. The northern division is within Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County and includes the beautiful Big Sur Coast and scenic interior areas. The "main division" of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties.
The headquarters, or Forest Supervisor's Office, for Los Padres National Forest is located in the city of Goleta, in Santa Barbara County. The forest is divided into five administrative units called "ranger districts" with district offices as follows: Monterey Ranger District (King City), Santa Lucia Ranger District (Santa Maria), Santa Barbara Ranger District (Los Prietos area), Ojai Ranger District (Ojai) and Mount Pinos Ranger District (Frazier Park.)
Management of Los Padres National Forest focuses on the following areas:
Protecting and enhancing watersheds
Providing world-class recreation
Providing world-class wilderness opportunities.
Promoting use of the forest as a "living laboratory" for ecological diversity and scientific research.
Los Padres contains a wide range of ecosystems, from seacoast and marine habitats to redwood forests, mixed conifer forests, oak woodlands, grasslands, pinyon juniper stands, chaparral and semi-desert areas, which are home to more than 468 fish and wildlife species.