The Los Padres National Forest features mountains, streams, rivers, and beaches. Weather can vary throughout the forest and altitude ranges from sea level on the Monterey Ranger District to almost 9,000 feet on the Mt. Pinos Ranger District.
The park is rugged with few amenities and the roads are not always in the best shape, but any seasoned wilderness explorer should have no trouble here.
The less experienced adventurers should stick to the main roads (Figueroa Mountain Rd in Los Olivos will take you through the wilderness) and should have no problem with some mild day hikes. This is a HUGE wilderness area, so the possibility of getting lost is VERY real - always be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and if possible a GPS unit/compass/map.
I camped at the Los Prieto's campsite, one of the many campsites that dot the recreation area. Although not one of the premier campsites I've been to, Los Prietos has 3 very important things: 1) Easy river access, about a 5-10 min walk (depending on where your site is) to the White Rock day-use area, 2) flush toilets (although smelly ones), and 3) shade provided by big, sweeping oak trees. However, there is very limited privacy - those big oak trees are great at providing shade, but not ground cover. Also, the campsite has a reputation of attracting the type of crowd that doesn't believe in camp etiquette, but I think that purely depends on your luck of the draw. The river does attract a TON of UCSB kids when it's flowing well - we'll leave it at that.
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