Explore the most popular hiking 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
2 days ago

Fantastic trail. Went from H1 to Cone Peak Summit in a day. It was about 12 miles all uphill. Make sure to get water at the first camp because the spring on the San Antonio trail is dry and very overgrown as of October 13, 2018. Great views all the way. I camped on the Firewatch station with my one person ten, the station helped reduced the amount of wind. Don't sleep at the summit without a tent, years of people leaving their food/ trash up there has caused a rat problem at night. Other then that I cant wait to go back.

backpacking
2 days ago

Fantastic trail. Went from H1 to Cone Peak Summit in a day. It was about 12 miles all uphill. Make sure to get water at the first camp because the spring on the San Antonio trail is dry and very overgrown as of October 13, 2018. Great views all the way. I camped on the Firewatch station with my one person ten, the station helped reduced the amount of wind. Don't sleep without a tent, years of people leaving their food/ trash up there has caused a rat problem at night. Other then that I cant wait to go back.

I just drove this trail in the wife’s Lexus RX350, in Oct 2018. As everyone is trying to find a parking spot a the Bixby Bridge lookout, and I mean everyone. We made the turn and kept going. It’s a easy graded dirt road and 4wheel drive is not even needed to pass but why not put it in. It’s a great SUV/Outback type trail that will get your car dirty. There is ups and down and beautiful views that you cannot see from the highway . It’s well worth the 12 miles of back road with gorgeous scenery in the redwoods, grasslands, chapperel .

hiking
11 days ago

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 2
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

backpacking
13 days ago

I like to start here for the pine ridge trail

hiking
1 month ago

I day hiked this trail yesterday. i must say it’s one of the most challenging hikes i’ve done to date. the real challenge starts right after you get to Vicente Flat campgrounds. The views at the fire lookout is worth every single step. If you’re looking to train in distance and elevation gain for Mount Whitney, i recommend doing this hike. i did Whitney twice this year already, trust me :) Last but not least, being more than 3L of water on a hot day.

backpacking
2 months ago

Easy parking at Kirk creek trailhead. Trail was relatively well maintained (by big sur standards), overgrown in some places, some poinson oak but we wore shorts and did not have a problem. The first few miles were shrouded in clouds and comfortably cool until we got above the cloud line a few miles in. There was a stream flowing just past Espinoza, no waterfall Vicente Flat, but a stream less than half a mile past it. We camped at Vicente flat, which was not crowded on a Saturday. The temperature was lovely under the redwoods but there were abundant (albeit not biting) bugs. We got up early the next day and day hikes to Cone Peak, getting there by 1015AM and had decent shade on the way up. Amazing views from the top, with some shade. All in all great hike! Look forward to returning in the fall.

backpacking
2 months ago

*As of August 10th, 2018 there was no water at the falls or next to the second Ojitos camp

Started at the coast in Limekiln State Park and followed the Twin Peak/Cone Peak Loop. Camped at the first Ojitos Camp which was definitely an adventure to get down. Poison oak everywhere, but never really that hard to get along the path without touching it. ~10-15 trees to climb over or under. Campground could fit up to 2-3 tents optimistically but a nice place to stay the night and no one around. Water disappears and reappears as you make your way to the falls along the creek bed (perhaps the coolest part of the hike), but falls were completely dry. It wasn’t too hard to get to the base of them (path off to the left), but we decided not to continue onwards.

Flies were prevalent anytime there was light in the sky, but after the sunset they disappeared almost immediately and they didn’t really bite, just wanted to climb up your nose. Mosquitos around only near twilight and early morning. Would definitely do again to check out the waterfall in the spring.

I had an amazing time backpacking this trail with my brother. Spent one night camping at Vicente Flats and a second night camping on Cone Peak. It’s not necessary to camp for 2 nights but it’s certainly worth it as the view of the Milky Way at night from the peak is breathtaking.

Lots of the trail is exposed to the sun and MUCH hotter than we expected from the weather report of Big Sur. This made it difficult for my dog, but not dangerous for her. Something to think about if you’re taking your furry friend.

Even in the middle of August there were water sources before Vicente and at. The creek bed in Vicente is dry but if you hike down it you will find water. Once you move beyond this point water becomes limited and there is absolutely none on the Cone Peak trail. I would suggest not hiking to the top unless you’re carrying at least a gallon per person and a little extra for your dog.

Overall this hike is incredible, Vicente Flats is breathtaking, and the views from Cone Peak are worth it. I would definitely do this hike again.

backpacking
2 months ago

Just finished this trail as an overnight backpacking trip. Would rather recommend doing this in the spring or fall. Summer’s too hot and the trail’s mostly exposed. Bring lots of sunblock. Creeks we’re running and got to filter some water. Stayed at Vicente Flats for the night. This is definitely a butt-kicker with a pack. Could be done as a day hike but start early.

backpacking
2 months ago

Super overgrown trail. Did this with two other people... we are shocked that none of us have poison oak or ivy as we had to dive through quite a few of those bushes to stay on the trail. Parts of the trail are washed out, be careful. Pack lots of water if you’re doing this in the summer months. I had a water filter and thankfully we came across one river that was still flowing. Vincente flat campground is completely dry right now and tons of flys and bugs. Just be cautious if you pick this trail, and be prepared.

backpacking
3 months ago

Spectacular views, wildflowers, very well maintained trails. I backpacked for 3 days and did about 10 miles a day. I parked on Highway 1 across from Kirk Creek campground and backpacked to Vicente flats on night 1. Great, big open camping areas under the redwoods with stone rings for fires. Day two I stayed at Ojito camp. Don’t do it. It sucks. There are several places to camp along the trail that are not on the map that would have been better. As of July 4, there were a few creek crossings where you can get fresh water. Wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

backpacking
3 months ago

*no water at vicente*

We hiked in planning to either camp at Vicente or get water there and continue to cone peak. The hike to Vicente was gorgeous - ocean views most of the way and wildflowers all along the trail. There was a small stream right by Espinosa camp almost 4 miles in.

We reached Vicente on 6/9/18 and the stream/creek was bone dry. There was no water at any nearby streams. There were also big bee hives and lots of bees at the camp. We decided after looking for water for an hour or so to camp at Espinosa and refuel at the stream. It was beautiful there with ocean views and very quiet. There were a lot of gnats at dusk and dawn. The hike down the next morning was quick and shaded - we started out around 8am. It’s a beautiful hike.

Oh also beware of poison oak! I was spared but my boyfriend is covered. Careful about putting your pack in the brush.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked this trail on the Fourth of July and were surprised to only see one other hiker the entire day. The trail is in good shape, although it crosses a few active slides in places and you'll want to watch your footing. There is a lot of poison oak along the first mile of the trail, but it's easily avoided. Views from the summit are spectacular! We took an extended break at the old lookout and watched the fog starting to burn off below us, revealing views straight down to the Highway 1 bridge at Limekiln State Park.

I was overlanding and came up the back way (south side) through the Fergusson road and only got 9 miles in by truck before I hit hiking trails only. The trail was blocked by two thick wooden posts, and I walked a half a mile in up the trail and it was narrow (hiking single file). We had to turn around and come back to the coast. We also checked out the north way in but saw that it was hiking trails only. Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and I did not any other paths for off road vehicles in the area, both visually and by GPS (Garmin, Hema Maps, and Gaia).

Astounding views, steep but reasonably graded; be careful with footing as exposure towards the peak is steep. Cool chance to see rareSanta Lucia firs towards the peak, as well.

We hiked from the trailhead indicated by alltrails up to cone peak and then down to the Ojito campsite where we stayed the evening. The trail down to the camp was pretty steep (~800ft elevation over about a mile) and had a lot of poison ivy. This time of the year the flies got pretty bad, so make sure to bring insect repellant.
The creek by Ojito campsite had some awesome pools to swim in, and we brought filters to fill back up on water. The hike out the next morning was a bit more climbing. Despite the bugs, it was an awesome trip with some great views.

strenuous 1 day ascent to summit from hwy 1 (took 8 hrs), overnight under the stars, spectacular views and stargazing, about 1/2 time for descent next day, worth the work. lots of poison oak but with long pants and sleeves have managed not to get a rash.

Great hike with awesome views. Note– the last couple miles of driving to the trailhead has some big bumps that made for some close calls in our Audi A4 hatchback. We made it out unscathed, but there were some sketchy moments. There were other non-SUVs up there too, so you wouldn't be alone, and you definitely would come across help after a 15 minutes max should you have a problem.

This was a nice length. We stopped for lunch at the top for 20 mins or so. Roundtrip total with stops for views, food, flowers and lizards, give yourself about 2.5 hours just to be safe!

backpacking
5 months 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
5 months 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.

Hiked from Nacimiento-Fergusson rd, as Coast Ridge rd is still closed, making it about 16 miles round trip if you believe the signs. The views are fantastic and despite the road being closed, the road and trail were well maintained. Distance aside (12 of the 16 miles), the road to the trailhead is flat and easy. Last mile on the trail is all switchbacks with lots of exposure, which makes the shade at the fire lookout up top, coupled with some amazing panoramic views, feel euphoric. Glad to have been here to celebrate earth day.

hiking
7 months ago

Fun and saw nobody out there. Beautiful view.

on Highway 1 to Cone Peak

7 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.

backpacking
7 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
9 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.

Went with a group of all skill levels. Found it to be a very scenic day trip, with ocean views during the majority of it.

The last 6 Miles of the drive there is on a dirt road that may be difficult for vehicles with low clearance.

One the best scenic hikes in the Los Padres.

Trail was well maintained.

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