Chumash Wilderness


Mt. Pinos Trailhead
Mt. Pinos Trailhead, Chumash Wilderness

The 38,150-acre Chumash Wilderness was established in Los Padres National Forest by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992. Chumash Wilderness is located near the town of Frazier Park in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District. The wilderness was named in honor of the Chumash people who lived in the area for maybe thousands of years before the Anglo-Americans arrived and turned their world upside down. Mt. Pinos, a place central to Chumash religion and spirituality, is mostly located in the wilderness area.

The northern portion of Chumash Wilderness is primarily treed with conifers while the southern portion is a blend of barren badlands and thick chaparral. The area is ruggedly mountainous (barren, knifelike ridges rising between steep-walled drainages) but with no named ranges is considered part of the Transverse Coast Ranges. The property is high enough to collect snow in the winter and wet enough to support black bears, bobcats, deer, coyotes and mountain lions. However, rain is extremely rare in the summer months and wildfire is all too easily ignited. The highest point in the wilderness is on the summit of Sawmill Mountain (8,818 feet) although nearby Mt. Pinos (8,847 feet) is the highest point in Ventura County.