Bottchers Gap campground is located on the northern edge Los Padres National Forest along the central California coast. Bottchers Gap is a small walk-in campground, with only 12 campsites, set about 8 miles inland and up hill from Highway 1 at around 2100 feet in elevation, with sweeping views of the Ventana Wilderness and Los Padres National Forest. The road leading to Bottchers Gap is a long, narrow, winding canyon road that cuts through a redwood grove dotted with houses and ends at the campground parking lot. The campground has direct access to hiking trails that lead into the Ventana Wilderness and connect with other trail camps through out Los Padres.
Bottchers Gap campground is largely shaded by oak trees and is divided up with 3 campsites that are located next to the parking lot and 8 walk-in campsites. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring and pedestal grill. All sites are on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no reservations accepted.
Bottchers Gap Campground is currently closed due to damage to the area from the recent wildfires and heavy rains. Please be sure to check with Los Padres National Forest before going. More information can be found here.
Bottchers Gap Bottom Line
Bottchers Gap campground is an awesome campground for last minute camping or as an alternative the terrible privately owned RV campgrounds (this does not public include Pfeiffer Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, or Andrew Molera State Parks) that line the Big Sur coast. Bottchers Gap is also great for jumping off on a backpacking or hiking adventure through the Ventana Wilderness. Bottchers Gap does not have many amenities; the only real amenity is a bathroom, with no shower, fire rings, and grill. However, unlike many state parks in California, you are allowed to gather firewood, which is good because there are no stores that sell firewood nearby.
Since Bottchers Gap is not well known and is often not busy in the spring and winter months, the campsites can feel like they are more private than they are for such a small campground. In reality the campsites are right next to each other and there is very little, if anything, that separates the campsites. In the summer and fall, during peak camping seasons, you will notice the lack of privacy as the campground will fill up, and if you are lucky enough to get a campsite, you will be in close quarters with your neighbors.
The 3 campsites that are adjacent to the parking lot offer the best view, as they are situated on a cliff that looks out into the wilderness and mountains, but you will see and hear every car and person that comes up the road for day use or camping, and these campsites have absolutely nothing separating them. The remaining 8 campsites are all a short walk, slightly up hill, from the parking lot, and offer slightly more privacy. The one thing to be wary about when selecting one of these campsites, is which way the wind is blowing if you end up near the the bathroom, as you do not want to be downwind from it.
Bottchers Gap Campground Features
|Campground Type:||Organized, Walk-in|
|Number of Campsites:||12 Campsites|
|Use Level:||Medium – Winter & Spring, High – Summer & Fall|
|Toilets:||Yes – Vault Toilet|
|Cell Phone Service:||None|
|Operating Season:||Campground open year round.|
|Nearest City/Town:||Carmel, California|
|Location:||Monterey County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes|
|Proximity to Stores:||20+ miles to Carmel|
|Directions:||Bottchers Gap is located 2 miles north of Bixby Bridge south of Carmel on California Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway).Located 8 miles inland, off of Highway 1 on Palo Colorado Road (18S05) inland, fifteen miles north of Big Sur and 11 miles south of Carmel.|
|Web:||Los Padres National Forest||Twitter:|
When To Go
Winter & Spring – Bottchers Gap Campground is usually fairly empty at these times and you may end up with the whole campground to yourself or shared with just a few other people. During the summer and fall it can be packed and busy with hikers and campers.
What To Do
One of the biggest attractions at Bottchers Gap campground is hiking. There are several trailheads that are nearby, and Skinner Ridge trailhead is located within the campground. Also, you should take some time to explore the Big Sur coast and see the other nearby state parks such as Andrew Molera State Park and beaches.