If you long for the lonely peace of backcountry camping, the Ventana Wilderness (www.ventanawild.org) area is ideal for you. This area comprises the peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the dense growth of the northern reaches of the Los Padres National Forest.
You’ll find many trails beyond the popular day hikes of the state parks, especially as Big Sur stretches down to the south.
Check the website to find reports on the conditions of the trails you’ve decided to tackle in advance, and stop in at Big Sur Station or the ranger station at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to get the latest news on the backcountry areas.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition