Matilija Proposed Wilderness Additions

Matilija Proposed Wilderness Additions
© Jim Rose

Area Description 

The Matilija Wilderness Additions feature steep chaparral slopes, boulder-strewn creeks, dense oak woodlands, and expansive grasslands. Dry Lakes Ridge has been designated as a Botanical Area by the Los Padres National Forest and known as the Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area.

Perennial creeks, such as the North Fork Matilija and Agua Caliente, flow through the area. The North Fork Trail travels along the creek into the very upper portions of the watershed passing incredible waterfalls, beautiful pools teeming with native trout, and rugged canyon walls with sculpted rocky cliffs.

For the native Chumash people, the area has long been a sacred place, evident by the many rock art locations found within this potential wilderness.

The Matilija Wilderness was established 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act.

Plan your next trip to the Matilija Wilderness. Click here for more information.

Size & Boundaries

Western Matilija Addition - 17,643 acres. The western and nothern boundaries are formed by Forest Service Road (FSR) 6N17, the eastern boundary is Potrero Seco Road, and southern boundary generally follows FSR 5N01.

Northern Matilija Addition - 3,864 acres. The western and northern boundaries are Potrero Seco Road, the eastern boundary is private inholdings located west of Hwy 33, and southern boundary is existing Matilija Wilderness. 

Eastern Matilija Addition - 16,495 acres. The western boundary roughly follows the eastern boundary of existing Matilija Wilderness, the northern and eastern boundaries are formed by Hwy 33, and the southern boundary is formed by private inholdings along Hwy 33 and Matilija Creek Road (FSR 5N13). 

Southern Matilija Addition - 13,811 acres. The western boundary roughly follows Santa Barbara/Ventura county line, the northern boundary is FSR 5N13, the eastern boundary formed by gas pipeline near private in-holdings and the North Fork of Santa Ana Creek, and the southern boundary is roughly follows FSR 4N05.


The Agua Caliente Trail lies within the Western Addition while the Ortega Trail (popular OHV trail) bisects, but does not lie within, the Eastern Addition - all legal OHV uses will continue on this trail.


Upper Caliente is found within the Western Addition. Potrero Seco (Northern Addition), Ortega (Eastern Addition), and Murietta (Southern Addition) are all located just outside existing and proposed wilderness areas.