Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur
Stretching 220 miles between Monterey and Los Angeles County, Los Padres National Forest encompasses 1.75 million acres of mostly chaparral, oak, evergreen, pinyon-juniper, and conifer forest. Interestingly, since 1912, 2.3 million acres have burned within the forest, obviously some areas have been torched more than once, particularly in the chaparral-covered areas. The forest maintains 1,257 miles of trails for day-use and backpack hiking, as well as 459 miles of roads and trails for off-road vehicle use.
From Big Sur, one way to get a good look at much of Los Padres, besides its coastal areas, is by taking Nacimiento-Ferguson Road toward Fort Hunter Liggett. This scenic route runs about 11 miles from the coast to the fort, and another 11 miles to Jolon, near Highway 101.