ForestWatch Launches App Showing Public Trails Status

By the Los Padres ForestWatch

A free web app with an interactive map showing the public access status of trails and roads across the region is now available. Created by Santa Barbara-based nonprofit Los Padres ForestWatch, the new web app—OpenTrails—provides the most comprehensive look at which trails and roads normally open to the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle use have been closed due to winter storms in January.

OpenTrails includes approximately 1,800 trails and access roads across a region that stretches from Morro Bay in the north to Santa Monica in the south, and inland to the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Most of these recreation routes are located within the Los Padres National Forest and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, but a significant number are found in city and county parks, state parks, and nature preserves.

The web app is easy to use and includes important information about trails such as which types of uses are allowed if open. There is even a colorblind-friendly version that can be toggled with a single click.

“There has been a lot of confusion about which trails are open ever since the big winter storms caused extensive damage in and around the Los Padres National Forest,” said ForestWatch’s director of conservation and research, Bryant Baker, who took the lead on developing OpenTrails. “We wanted to produce something that could help reduce confusion and give outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to discover new trails that remain open.”

Large storms in January, while welcome in many respects, took a serious toll on many trails along the Central Coast. One of the areas hardest hit was the Santa Ynez Mountains in the Los Padres National Forest. Following the rains, the Forest Service closed the entire forest except for the Mt. Pinos Ranger District near the Ventura-Kern county line. The closure—which extends to mid-March—includes nearly every national forest trail as well as most trails that start on non-federal land but lead into the Los Padres.

The desktop- and mobile-friendly web app can be accessed at ForestWatch will continue to update the map as new information becomes available. 

Los Padres ForestWatch

Written by Los Padres ForestWatch

Los Padres ForestWatch is a nonprofit that protects wildlife, wilderness, water, and sustainable access throughout the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Learn more at

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