Carrizo Plain National Monument
Flora and fauna
Fees: Currently there are no fees for visiting or camping in the Monument. (Be sure to note the camping regulations noted below.)
Stay on designated roads with any motorized vehicles. Watch out for wet weather and avoid the Similar road and San Diego Creek Roads during the wet. Also carefully evaluate all other roads after wet weather. make sure you fill your gas tank up before you come out. The monument is vast and the closest Gas station is in Maricopa on the opposite side of the Temblor mountains.
Stay on existing roads and trails with mountain bikes.
Geology field trips, viewing the offset streams and other features of the San Andreas Fault
Visit the Education Center
Take a guided tour of Painted Rock and an old Ranch
Guidebooks, maps, birding books and regional interest Titles are available at the Goodwin Education Center.
The best bet is to lay your bedroll out in under the stars.
The closest hotels are in the city of Taft [] but the 6 or so hotels in the area are a bit on the seedy side and cater mainly to oil field workers. Santa Margarita or Paso Robles area are within striking distance of the Monument and both have many fine hotels, and numerous bed and breakfasts as well as many unique restaurants.
There are two developed campgrounds in the Monument.
The KCL campground is located on the Soda Lake Rd. about halfway between highways 58 and 33. The campground has a gravel road, pit toilets, corrals and water for livestock. There are some well established shade trees and the facilities have just been renovated to include new fire rings with BBQ grates, lantern poles, and gravel roads and tent platforms. Tenters, and small to medium sized campers will find the KCL a good fit.
The Selby Campground is situated on the eastern foot of the Caliente mountains On the northern end of the monument. The area has fine views of the plains and is well situated for hiking on the Caliente Ridge or visiting Painted Rock and the visitors center. There are no shade trees but there are shade shelters over the picnic tables. Selby road, the road leading from Soda Lake Road in to the campground is clay and becomes impassable for days or even weeks after any amount of wet weather. Do not attempt this road if its wet and if you are at the campground and it starts to rain, leave immediately.
Occasionally the KCL campground will fill up on weekends during flower viewing season and hunting season. Not to worry you can head up to Selby or if you are tenting or have a small trailer, there are still many fine ares in the monument where open(dispersed) camping is permitted.
Dispersed camping is also permitted in certain areas of the Monument using low impact camping techniques. Campers are asked to use existing fire rings, keep vehicles on established roads, and leave areas cleaner than they found them. Maps showing where dispersed is permitted can be obtained at the Bakersfield BLM Office (Year round) or the Goodwin Education Center. (open seasonally)
Camping in the monument is limited to 14 days within any 30 day period and 28 days per calendar year. Make sure to call ahead and check to see if there are any fire restrictions in effect for the area if you plan on having a campfire or using any open flame. Free campfire permits are required to use any stove, lantern, or to have any type of fire. Campfire permits may be obtained at any area BLM office or Forest Service facility.
Bring extra water, food, and warm clothes. Summertime temperatures can reach above 100 degrees F and winter temperatures can fall below freezing.
Keep an eye on the sky and check the weather report. Any amount of rain makes quite a few of the roads impassable due to clay and high salt content. Avoid the Caliente Ridge Rd, San Diego Creek Rd, Simler-Soda lake Rd, and Selby Rd. during and after rain. navigate other roads with caution and watch for mud holes and washouts.
Tell a reliable person where you are going and when you plan to return. Search and rescues for stranded or stuck motorists and off highway vehicle enthusiasts are common.
Watch your speed. Speed limits on BLM roads are 25 mph and 55 on county roads unless otherwise posted. The Soda lake road is notorious for rollover accidents. Remember the average emergency response time is well over 1 hour.
Fill your gas tank before you come and keep in mind the closest gas to the monument will be Maricopa.