Encompassing almost two million acres, the Los Padres is the third largest National Forest in California. It occupies a major portion of the coastal mountain ranges and extends for about 220 miles from the west boundary of Los Angeles County to mid-Monterey County on the north.
The Forest spans some of the most ruggedly beautiful landscapes to be found anywhere in California. This environment provides wide diversity of plant communities and wildlife habitat. The Forest provides habitat for endangered species, including the California Condor.
The Los Padres is largely unroaded. The Forest provides a scenic backdrop for the communities of Ojai, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The Forest also borders the Big Sur coast in Monterey County.
Visitors are attracted to the Los Padres by the variety of terrain, vegetation, and recreational settings which include ocean beaches, sub-alpine forest, chaparral, desert badlands, and riparian areas. The Big Sur area, on the beautiful Monterey coastline, is a national and international attraction which is visited by millions of travelers each year. Recreational activities include camping, hiking, scenic driving, OHV riding and camping, equestrian riding, fishing, snow play, beach walks, wildflower viewing, picnicking, rock climbing and more.
Our Wildflower Ranger, Helen Tarbet, produces several Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Updates during the spring season. This is the last report of the season.
The Los Padres National Forest's Supervisor's Office (Forest Headquarters) and ranger stations have moved to virtual services. You can access our forest maps or if you need immediate assistance or have any questions, please call the nearest ranger district.
Los Padres officials seek public comments on proposed Rose Valley Creek restoration project
Release Date: May 11, 2022 Solvang, CA
Ventana Wilderness Alliance volunteer honored with prestigious Enduring Service Award
Release Date: May 9, 2022 Solvang, CA
In recognition of the 2022 Women’s History Month theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” the Pacific Southwest Region 5 gives tribute to Gloria Brown – the first female African American to become a forest supervisor in the U.S. Forest Service. She first became a forest supervisor on the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon and finished her inspiring career as forest supervisor of the Los Padres National Forest in California.
The anadromous Southern California steelhead (SCS) trout distinct population segment indigenous to Southern California received Endangered Species status in 1997 due to declining numbers. Over the last two decades, the situation for these trout native to Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) has continued to deteriorate, and the species now have one of the highest levels of federal protection.
Stream conditions and steelhead critical habitat were further degraded by the massive Zaca Fire in 2007 that denuded landscapes above traditional steelhead spawning waters and contributed to greater sediment deposition downstream. As SCS stocks have declined substantially from their historic numbers across the LPNF and other part of Southern California, many are now facing extinction.
Crews Take Mule Train into Sespe
On April 14, 2021, two strings of pack mules of eight animals apiece left a trailhead north of Ojai, carrying tools and supplies for a major trail project in the Sespe Wilderness.
Region 5 Pack Stock Center of Excellence
Watch this short video to learn more about the Pacific Southwest Region’s Pack Stock Center of Excellence and how horses and mules have been used in the agency since its inception.