Ventana Wilderness

Area Status: Open

This wilderness was established in 1978 by the Endangered American Wilderness Act, first addition was in 1978 by the Endangered American Wilderness Act, second addition in 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act. On December 19, 2002 the Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002 added 33,967 acres to the existing wilderness bringing it to a total of 240, 026 acres. Topography of the Ventana Wilderness is characterized by steep-sided, sharp-crested ridges separating V-shaped youthful valleys. Most streams fall rapidly through narrow, vertical-walled canyons flowing on bedrock or a veneer of boulders. Waterfalls, deep pools and thermal springs are found along major streams. Elevations range from 600 feet, where the Big Sur River leaves the Wilderness, to about 5,750 feet at the Wilderness boundary circumventing Junipero Serra Peak. Marked vegetation changes occur within the Wilderness. These changes are attributed to dramatic climate and topographic variations coupled with an extensive fire history. Much of the damage to vegetation is only temporary, since fire is an integral part of this Wilderness as it is of other areas of the Forest. Much of the Ventana is covered by chaparral. This brushy vegetative cover is typical of that found throughout Southern California fire susceptible mountains. The contrast of annual grass meadows and open pine stands may be found throughout the Wilderness. Deep narrow canyons cut by the fast moving Big and Little Sur Rivers support virgin stands of coastal redwood. Small scattered stands of the endemic Bristlecone Fir may be found on rocky slopes.

At a Glance

Information Center: Monterey Ranger District 831-242-0619‚Äč (phones answered Mon-Fri 8-430) 406 So. Mildred
King City, CA 93930 Big Sur Station Multi-Agency Visitor Center (open daily from 9-4) (831) 667-2315 X 0 47555 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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