Explore the most popular camping trails in Ventana Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
8 days ago

We started at Vincente Trailhead and walked counter clockwise. The diversity of terrain, plants and views is huge.

Early May there was lots of water at Vincente Flat, Goat Camp and Trail Spring.

Shortly before Stone Ridge Trail there were four options of trails. Take the second right if you want to make it to Goat Camp. That’s the right way of Stone Ridge Trail to come to Goat Camp and water.

We added a hike to Surprise Falls. Very steep and a 3 mile walk through the river. Only with water shoes recommended.

backpacking
10 days ago

We started at Vincente Trailhead and walked a counter clockwise loop to the fall. 20 miles, 2 days. The diversity of terrain, plants and views is huge. Redwoods, oaks, blooming Yuccas, meadows, creeks, views, views, views.

Early May there was lots of water at Vincente Flat, Goat Camp, Ojito Camp and Trail Spring.

Shortly before Stone Ridge Trail there were four options of trails. Take the second right. That’s the right way of Stone Ridge Trail to come to Goat Camp and the next water. We camped on Gamboa Trail at the entrance to the downhill walk to Ojito Camp. After 8 hours we avoided the climbing with the backpacks and wanted the views to the ocean. One tent-side is there. Next day we just took water bottles and some food with us to hike to the fall. It’s strenuous. You really need water shoes for the 2 miles through a river. With the dogs and no rope for us no chance to climb down the fall, but a bath on top was possible.

After that river hike the climbing to Cone Peak hurt, but all in all every single pain was absolutely worth it.

Beautiful views along the entire hike and lots of poison oak as others have mentioned. Wear pants if you are sensitive to it because it is pretty much impossible to avoid. There is only one tiny stream along the way so bring enough water to get you the 5 miles to Vicente flats.
There are a lot of campsites and it was nearly empty on the Tuesday I stayed. Only a few other campers so I found a great site along the creek. The rushing water drowned out most of the sounds of the forest so it was quite serene and peaceful. The sites are all in a pretty dense redwood forest so there is almost total shade all day.
Mosquitos were active near dusk but didn’t last too long.
Overall, a great short backpacking trip in the Ventana Wilderness.

Gorgeous area. Poison oak is thick along a good portion of the trail, many times growing into the trail so that you have to maneuver over or around it. The trail is only wide enough for one way traffic, so at times you may have to move over into the poison oak. So beware. We arrived on Thursday at 12:30 pm and found one of the last available parking spots alongside Hwy 1. The trail is steep, right from the beginning, and for the majority of the way to Vicente Camp. The views are incredible, from multiple different spots. Many flowers along the way. The campground was not too crowded. We could not hear anyone talking, over the sound of the rushing creek. Very serene and beautiful spot.

The trail is in good condition and the walk overlooking the ocean is spectacular. There are six trees across the trail, one is a “Killer Tree” which I flagged with killer tree flagging, when passing under this tree avoid touching it or spending any time in the vicinity near the tree. I plan to bring in a crosscut saw next week and clear the trees. The campsites at Vicente Flat were very clean and not much toilet paper around the campsites, everyone seems to be OK with packing out their toilet paper.
Please practice Leave No Trace when visiting our public lands.
Check the Ventana Wilderness Alliance web site for up to date trail conditions. http://www.ventanawild.org

Beware Poison Oak!
A great hike along steep exposed hillsides and deep redwood filled creek draws, climbing up to a very nice stand of redwoods with several backpack campsites. There are some trails marked on ca state park maps that show the trail from limekiln state park connecting to this trail but that trail is unmaintained and full of windfalls and erosion from 2007 fire damage. Great views of the coastline and the extremely steep canyon of Hare creek and Limekiln creek below towering Cone peak. You can proceed to Cone Peak from Vicente Flat or turn around and go back to Kirk Creek campground. It was 55 degrees and sunny on February 22 with a light breeze. There is another campsite about 3 miles in that looks out at the ocean. Condors flew overhead and great sunset views over the ocean horizon made this an unforgettable day hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Fun and saw nobody out there. Beautiful view.

on Highway 1 to Cone Peak

2 months ago

Feb 17-19, 2018.
*TONS OF POISON OAK*

This is a great first time backpacking trip. On presidents day weekend, we hiked in the five miles to Vicente Flat campground with all of our gear and set up camp. Definitely busy, but there's a ton of spots to set up tent. We were cozy with our neighbors, but everyone was polite. We left our camp set up and day hiked up to the peak just with day packs. Stayed at Vicente Flat Saturday night then hiked back out the 5 miles with our gear.

Despite it being February, I was wishing I was in shorts most of the time we were hiking, especially the 5 miles to and from Vicente Flat. It's pretty much all open, which allows for beautiful views of the coast but direct hot sun. This would be a pretty brutal hike in the summer. Even with warm days, we got a light dusting of snow at Vicente Flat Sunday morning, which was stunning.

We brought our medium sized Australian Shepherd, and saw a few other dogs throughout the weekend. The trail is pretty dog friendly, but I would recommend booties as a good amount of the trail is rocky, but totally doable for a relatively fit dog.

Overall, it was a really nice weekend trip. Beautiful view of the Big Sur coast, a nice mix of chaparral and redwoods, and Vicente Flat was a beautiful campsite.

This trail was great. We started around 11am and made it to the end around 4pm. We stopped to take a lot of pictures and took a few breaks along the way too. The views were amazing and the weather was perfect. The first part takes you along a ridge heading north then the next half or so takes you through redwoods and past creek passings. There were places to filter water at the campsites but we had to do a bit of walking to find the running water. The only reason this trail didnt get five stars from me was because it was a bit more crowded than most other "moderately trafficked" trails I have been on. There were so many people we were wondering if there was some 3 day weekend of government holiday that we had spaced on. There wasn't, there just happened to be almost 30 other campers across the campgrounds. Now normally this would completely ruin the illusion of being out on my own while backpacking resulting in a worse rating but the saving grace was that the sites where you could camp were huge and really spread out. From where you first walk in to the campground to the spot we ended up picking it was almost a .75 miles away. So while crowded, we didn't have to deal with other people to much. All in all this trail was great and I'm sure I'll be back in the future.

backpacking
3 months ago

Nice trail, but very crowded.

Water:
The first stream is a couple of minutes past Espinosa Camp. The creek was dry at Vicente Flats, you need to hike up another 5 min to get to water. When you head up to Cone Peak, the last water was where the redwoods end. I did not see any sign of the spring mentioned in the trail description.

Camping:
There were easily 50+ tents at the Vicente Campground over president's day weekend. Lots of fun people, but not a lot of solitude if that's what you're looking for.

Hiking up to the peak:
Most people left their tents and stuff at Vicente and hiked up with a light pack, that way you could carry more water. I got up to the peak a bit after 10 and was alone there for almost a half hour before people started showing up. After 12 it got really crowded up there.

So we drove up using the directions from all trails and the final left hand turn to the trailhead the road was closed. So we ran into a couple that said you can start from the bottom at Kirk campground. They said they were “just shy of summit” and they turned around because it was getting late.

We hiked from the bottom and went 7 miles with no summit in sight hahaha. It was STUNNING. And I loved it but I think the distance is from the trail head we weren’t able to access at the time.

We parked at the bottom went for 7 miles (in about 3.5 hours. It is up hill. The elevation gain is real. But there are lots of straight seats too Andy the scenery is amazing!!

BEWARE OF TICKS. LOAD YOU AND YOU LR DOG WITH DEET! They were alllllllllll over.

I’d love to summit this thing but I think from the bottom it’s a multiple day hike. But def beautiful with ocean and redwoods!

Haven't gone on this trail, but just an FYI in response to Paul: on PublicLands.org it doesn't list any of the land as private

backpacking
4 months ago

Backpacking with two friends and a dog in mid November.
It Rained the day prior
Parking for about 15 cars maybe more at trailhead.

Overall medium high to low sun exposure throughout, with medium high to low poison oak as well.

Espinosa campsite is about 3.5 miles from trailhead and has Two available campgrounds

Vincente campsite is about 5 miles from trailhead and has Many available campgrounds

There is a River about 8.5 miles from trailhead, as well as a stream about 5 miles in

The Temperatures varied from sweating in shorts and sleeves rolled up during the day uphill to chilly mostly fully layered at night
Good for dogs
Some rowdy people when we were there.

Tried a there and back day hike, and the info is WAY off in regards to distance. We were running out day light and headed back. We ended up doing 12 miles and 4000+ feet of gain. So this hike is short of 15 miles, but totally worth it. We are planning on going back and starting a bit sooner. Would be ideal to do this in two days, so that you may enjoy the epic views.

backpacking
4 months ago

Great 2-3 night trip. We camped atop Cone Peak and saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise (see pics above). Our trip in late December was uncrowded, but had no water above Vicente Flat. There is plenty of parking off HWY 1 for easy access.

12.22.17

It was a clear day and the views were great. Had I known there were nice campsites at the end I would have brought camping gear and stayed the night. There are even more trails to head out on past the campsites.

Loved walking out the front door from camp and heading out on this trail, beautiful hike.

Some unfriendly man told us the middle section was private property and even had to turn back and climb up through the national forest park of Los Padres. It ended up being great anyway, but overall not an advisable experience. Better climbing up directly from Tassajara Rd.

lovely views, be cautious of poison oak!

Good trail with many campsites at the end.
We tried going to Cone peak on day 2 but it was too hot.

Vincente flats is a good destination for an easy one nighter. Beautiful morning and afternoon. I definitely want to do it again and go all the way to Cone peak.

backpacking
11 months ago

I was determined to hike the river until I saw some waterfalls and I did! It takes some serious scrambling to get to the bottom of it, but can be done cautiously and safely.

backpacking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I love this trail so much, and would like to go back in a couple of weeks. Does anyone know if you can currently park your car next to the trailhead off HWY 1?

Pretty great hike, go as far as you want! Sun exposed so bring lots of h2o

backpacking
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ALL TRAILS EAST OF HWY 1 ARE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO THE 2016 WILDFIRE! $5000 FINES LEVIED AGAINST ANYONE TRESPASSING ON THE TRAILS!

hiking
Saturday, February 04, 2017

I have hiked hundreds of trails. This is one of the best. The views along the way are amazing: from the waves in the Pacific to the snows near the top and anything in between.

Awesome view

It was a nice trail, but we lost it during the creek crossing. We must have crossed both creeks when we were only supposed to cross one? Sort of hard to follow the map there. Other than that, it was an easy ten miles

well it was about 18.8 miles long

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