San Luis Obispo County Wilderness Lands

San Luis Obispo contains a surprising amount of wilderness land. In Monterey County Ventana Wilderness at 240,000 acres is well known, and to our south in Santa Barbara County lies the 197,000 acre San Rafael Wilderness. Yet here in our county we have 340,539 acres of designated and defacto wilderness divided among one state park, three pocket Fores Service wilderness areas, one State owned Ecological Preserve and one National Monument.
One can walk from Cuesta Grade to the San Luis Obispo/ Kern County line, a walk of nearly 100 miles without passing through a town or crossing a paved road. The majority of this route is located on wilderness lands. On the following pages I have included some informational text and maps showing trails and mileages for the different areas. To access the wilderness pages, please click on the wilderness name. If you have information on any of these areas that you think should be put on these pages, please feel free to email me at:

Montana De Oro State Park 8,000 acres managed as wilderness. This park features rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. Naturalists and backpackers enjoy the solitude and freedom found along the park’s trails. There are also mountain biking and equestrian trails. 
Santa Lucia Wilderness  18, 679 acres; established in 1978 by the Endangered American Wilderness Act.

This wilderness is located inland from Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo. Chaparral-covered peaks and streamfed valleys. The vista of Morro Rock and the Seven Sisters. These scenic images are part of the Santa Lucia Wilderness experience. This wilderness offers numerous trails for hiking, hunting and fishing. Solitude and recreation await you, just ten minutes from San Luis Obispo.

Garcia Wilderness  14,100 acres was established 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act.

The Garcia Wilderness area offers an abundance of panoramic views, solitude and a variety of lush wildflowers in springtime. Located on the Santa Lucia Ranger District. The terrain ranges from chaparral covered mountains to grasslands and abundant creekside vegetation. There are several trails leading into the area. Two hiking trails cut through the wilderness and there are 3 designated campsites.


Machesna Mountain Wilderness  19,760 acres was established 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act.

Twenty-five miles from the city of San Luis Obispo, this wilderness boasts high peaks, chaparral, oak woodlands and conifer forests. Prairie falcon and tule elk live in this wilderness. Camping, hiking, are the main types of recreational uses. There is a 1500 acre Research Natural Area, dedicated to study on a unique strain of Coulter Pine.

Chimineas Ranch Ecological Preserve  30,000 acres plus or minus. This is a ranch now owned by California State Fish and Game. It provides a corridor of public land between the Lost Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plains National Monument.
Carrizo Plains National Monument.  250,000 acres  most of which is defacto wilderness.

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