SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. - The winter rains are still impacting some of the access to the Santa Ynez Valley camping spots below Gibraltar Dam.
Paradise Road is one destination that's expected to see more campers and visitors very soon. Schools are letting out and vacations are underway.
The Los Padres National Forest says however, the runoff water from Gibraltar Dam and the swollen Santa Ynez River are still creating dangerous conditions for cars at the first crossing, about five miles in from Highway 154. The river can be passed if you are on foot or riding a bike. That gets you to other areas for day use and exploring.
Los Padres staff members have been advising people to avoid closed off trails because they have been badly impacted by storms.
That's rendered the routes unsafe. A more expansive opening of the trails and camping areas should take place after the 4th of July.
U.S. Forest Service Division Chief Mike Scott says, "motorized vehicles right now are closed beyond first crossing. A lot of people have been walking or riding bikes. No ebikes but they have been riding bicycles back there headed out to Red Rock, headed out to the falls, recreating, swimming and having a good time. "
Carly Wopat a bike rider coming over the crossing said, "we went just to Red Rock and there was a crossing there that was too deep to go across comfortably on our bikes."
Her dad, Ron Wopat said from the crossing to Red Rock it was "about five miles." He said there were several water flows or wet crossings. "Yeah there's three of these."
At the first crossing, it's less than a foot deep.
Scott says there will be trail work and fire prevention underway to meet the expectations of the vacationing public in the next few weeks. "Hopefully we can get it, just after July 4th maybe and get the road open for the public."
Bike rider Steve Sereboff said, "part of what's lovely being along this corridor is the life of the people and people enjoying it and I really miss seeing picnicers out and it will be great to see them."
During the tranquility, Ron Wopat said, "I am going to come back especially if it is closed like this. Especially now if it is closed like this. It is great for bikers."
The most recent Los Padres National Forest advisory says:
Date: June 1, 2023
Know Before You Go!
- Santa Barbara Ranger District: 805-724-0079. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm. Closed weekends and federal holidays.
- The office is located at 3505 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
- Contact www.recreation.gov to make or cancel a camping reservation or call 1-877-444-6777.
- Parks Management Comnpany - www.campone.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campground and Day Use Area Update:
- There is a kiosk set up at Fremont Campground. The kiosk will be open seven days a week and there is a $10 fee to park at the First Crossing Day Use Areas. (there are only 140 parking spaces at First Crossing.) On weekends, go early for day use. When the parking area is full, vehicles will be turned away.
- Fremont and Paradise Campgrounds are open. Reservations are recommended: www.recreation.gov
- Sage Hill Group Campground is open by reservation: www.recreation.gov
- The First Crossing Day Use Area/Picnic Area and White Rock are open.
- Santa Ynez River Rd from the First Crossing is only open to pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle use only. No vehicles.
- Red Rock Day Use Area is closed by Forest order 5-07-00-23-07.
Forest Order 05-07-00-23-07 Special Forest Closure:Effective May 25, 2023 - July 24, 2023
Many areas of the Forest that were closed for public health and safety concerns following powerful winter storms that inflicted significant damage have reopened. A new Forest order is now in place that keeps severely compromised roads, trails, campgrounds, and day-use sites closed to the public while Forest engineers, partner groups, volunteers, and contractors work on repairs as funding becomes available. Road crews and resources from other national forests in California have been assisting with road clearing and maintenance projects to reopen additional areas once they have been repaired.Target Shooting ProhibitionFirearms Prohibition Forest Order: Effective February 15, 2023 through December 31, 2024
Santa Barbara Front Country Fire Use RestrictionsForest Order 05-07-54-22-04 Fire Use Restrictions - Santa Barbara Front Country Expires: February 24, 2024. These restrictions do not apply to the campgrounds in the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area. Please refer to the map for restricted areas or call (805) 448-6487 for more information.
- Fire Use Restrictions - Santa Barbara Front Country Closure Map. NOTE: This prohibition does not include the following campgrounds on the Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Ranger Districts: Fremont, Paradise, Los Prietos, Upper Oso, Figueroa Mountain, Davy Brown and Nira.
Forest Order 05-07-00-22-02 Camping 14 day stay - Expires 1/13/2024
Open Day Use/Picnic Areas
Open Hiking Trails
- Santa Cruz Trail to 19 Oaks Camp is open. The trail is closed beyond 19 Oaks Camp.
- McKinley Trail at Cachuma Saddle off of Happy Canyon Rd - Open
- Snyder Trail - Open
- Tequepis Trail (Off of Hwy 154 across from Lake Cachuma. - Open
To reach Tequepis Trail, start at the free parking lot at the entrance of Circle V Camp. Follow the dirt road straight through the camp past a swimming pool and bunkhouses. After 0.2 miles, step over Tequepis Creek and pass through a large metal gate. This is the boundary of the Los Padres National Forest and the start of Tequepis Trail.
- Rattlesnake Trail- Open
- Jesusita Trail - Open to the point where there are switchbacks to Inspiration Point (Closed at the switchbacks to Inspiration Point)
- Cold Springs Trail west to Tangerine Falls - Open
- Cold Springs Trail east - Open
- Tunnel Trail to Seven Falls or Inspiration Point (open on the frontside - closed on the backside)
- San Ysidro Trail is only open up to where the single track trail starts (the single track trail is closed)
- Hot Springs Trail - Open
- Buena Vista Trail - Open
- McMenemy Trail - Open
- Romero Canyon Trail is CLOSED on the frontside, but open on the BACKSIDE
Roads Restricted to Non-Motorized Vehicle Use
Road Status -Forest Service Roads
- Paradise Rd to the ranger station and First Crossing is open. Santa Ynez River Rd to Red Rock is closed to vehicles. Pedestrian, equestrian and bicycles only.
- Romero Camuesa Rd to the Upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area/Pendola/hot springs area is closed.
- West Camino Cielo to the Winchester Gun Club is open. The dirt portion of the road is closed beyond the Gun Club. Lizards Mouth area is open. Pedestrian, equestrian and bicycles only.
OHV Trail Closures
Hiking Trail Closures
- Los Prietos
- Upper Oso
- Rock Camp
- Middle Santa Ynez
- P-Bar Flat
Day Use Area Closures
- Lower Oso DUA
- Red Rock DUA
- Sandstone DUA
- Live Oak DUA
- Falls DUA
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