Passes & Permits
National Recreation Passes
National passes cover entrance fees found in federal recreation areas such as National Parks and wildlife refuges. They do not cover fees at concession-managed day use sites and trailheads in Los Padres NF. To make the best choice on which pass to purchase, consider your future recreation plans.
PMC Annual Pass
The Parks Management Pass (PMC Annual Day Use Pass) can be purchased through the Parks Management Company. This pass can be used for parking at most of the concession-managed day use picnic areas, trailheads and beaches throughout the Los Padres National Forest.
The Los Padres has 10 designated wilderness areas. Wilderness permits are not required. Trail use and trail camps are one a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations. CA Campfire Permit information.
Wood Cutting Permits
Woodcutting requirements may vary substantially so please check with your local ranger station to see if there are any specific local restrictions or requirements.
Special Use Permits
Certain types of uses of public lands require "Special Use Authorizations." These include commercial activities, such as filming, guiding, and events.
Currently, wood or charcoal fires are allowed at developed recreation sites (Campfire Use Sites) and outside of developed recreation sites (backpacking trail camps and dispersed car camping). CA Campfire Permits are required outside of designated recreation sites (Campfire Use Sites). These are free and can be obtained at www.readyforwildfire.org. Remember to check for fire restrictions before you go!
Parks Management Company Concession-Managed Recreation Sites in the Los Padres National Forest
November 1, 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Amendment for Special Use Authorization. Amendment adds an additional three (3) years to this current Granger-Thye permit. The new expiration date is October 31, 2024.
Decision Memo - Special Use Permit for Concession Management of Campgrounds and Other Developed Recreation sites - Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Special Use Permit for Campground and related Granger-Thye Concessions. Authority: Section 7 of the Granger-Thye Act, 16 U.S.C. 580d (Ref.Fsm 2710)
On November 1, 2016, a concessionaire Special Use Permit (SUP) was issued to Parks Management Company (PMC) for campground and recreation site operations following a competitive bidding process.
Forest Service campground concessionaire SUPs are issued under the authority of the Granger-Thye Act (1950), 16 U.S.C. 580d, and the permits have a 10-year life span. Since 1985, Los Padres campgrounds, day-use areas and certain trailheads have been managed by a concessionaire under an SUP. The previous concessionaire permits on Los Padres expired in October 2016. The new SUP with PMC replaces six existing permits and will place the concession operations under one forest-wide permit.
Los Padres has 125 developed campgrounds, day-use sites, and trailheads. 52 sites will be managed by PMC under a new fee structure, 23 sites will still require a Recreation Pass, and 50 remain free of charge.
Under the SUP, there are changes to the recreation sites fees. The 18 sites that were added to the concession SUP that currently require an Adventure Pass ($5.00 per day or $30.00 for an annual pass) will now require a $20-$35 per night camping fee or $10 day-use fee.
Interagency Senior and Interagency Access pass holders will receive a 50% discount on camping fees. An annual pass for day-use sites will be available through PMC for $50 and will be good at any of the concession-managed picnic and day-use sites on Los Padres.
Interagency Senior, Access, Military and Annual Passes and “Every Kid in the Park” 4th Grade Passes will not be honored at concession sites, but will remain valid at the 23 recreation sites that require an Adventure Pass.
The Adventure Pass is a pass to use designated sites and areas of the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. Visitors to these four forests will be required to display the Pass in their vehicles when using the Forest for recreation purpose. The Adventure Pass is not a national pass like the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes. It is a local regional pass, required only on the four forests listed above. America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are also accepted at all locations where the Adventure Pass is required. The Adventure Pass is required to park at snow play areas on the Mt. Pinos Ranger District during winter months.
- Select this link to find out where the Adventure Pass is needed on the Los Padres National Forest
- How to pay a Notice of Required Fee