Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I go to enjoy public lands in this area?
Fort Ord National Monument - Access from State Highway 1 at the Lightfighter Drive exit near the the city of Marina or on Highway 68 between Salinas and Laguna Seca. Over 7,200 acres of the former Fort Ord Army base were acquired by the Bureau of Land Management in October 1996. Trails through oak woodland and vernal pools with rolling grasslands provide a variety of vistas and recreational opportunities. The area is open for non-motorized recreation including equestrian, hiking and mountain bike use and is managed primarily for habitat protection. Home to many rare plant and animal species, the public land here offers some of the last undisturbed maritime chaparral habitat in California. There is an active volunteer patrol in place, made up primarily of mountain bikers and equestrian enthusiasts. The area is day-use only and is closed to hunting, fires and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. Contact the BLM Fort Ord National Monument at (831) 582-2200 for information on upcoming events and special volunteer opportunities.
Panoche Hills - Near Mercy Hot Springs off County Road J1 and 10 miles west of Interstate-5. This 35,000 acre area is popular with hunters, birdwatchers, astronomers, and sightseers. Once part of a vast inland sea, the marine sandstone of the Panoche Hills contains many significant fossil resources. The Panoche Access Road is open to vehicles from the start of quail and chukar hunting season until fire season. Inside the Panoche Hills is the California Department of Fish and Game Panoche Hills Ecological Reserve which is closed to target shooting. Non-motorized access is welcome year-round. No electricity, running water, or trash collection.
Clear Creek Management Area - The Clear Creek Management Area is a 75,000 acre area in San Benito and Fresno Counties that contains 63,000 acres of public lands. Within that 63,000 acres of public land there is the 30,000 acre Serpentine Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and the 9,700 acre Condon Peak Zone. Depending on your itinerary, one or more permits will be required to visit the Clear Creek Management Area.
Joaquin Rocks ACEC - Rugged and remote, access to this roughly 8,000 acre ACEC area is accessed through the Clear Creek Management Area to the west. A motor vehicle restriction is in effect so visitors must leave their vehicles parked at the gate at Wright Mountain. Pedestrians, mountain bikers and equestrians may then travel approximately 6 miles along the ridge road to the Joaquin Rocks trail. This short trail (less than a mile) will bring you to the base of the Joaquin Rocks, 300 foot-high sandstone monoliths which jut out from Joaquin Ridge and are visible from Interstate-5.
Laguna Mountain - Access to this area is on Coalinga Road in southern San Benito County. Two developed campgrounds are available, one at Laguna Mountain and one at Upper Sweetwater. About 4,100 acres of brushland in this area provides good hunting opportunities for deer and pig. Public access is by foot only and a somewhat rugged hike will bring you into Miller Creek canyon. If you follow the creek you will find a series of waterfalls up in the gorge. No electricity, running water, or trash collection. Pack out what you pack in and be responsible with fire.
Condon Peak - Access to this area is on Coalinga-Los Gatos Road at the San Benito-Fresno County line. A developed campground is available and public access to these lands is available for pedestrians and equestrians. No electricity, running water, or trash collection.
Williams Hill - Access is off of U.S. Highway 101 about nine miles west of San Ardo on the Lockwood-San Ardo Road. Approximately 8,500 acres of public land are accessible, mostly along ridge tops. There is a developed campground available. The area has fair hunting opportunities for deer and pig. No electricity, running water, or trash collection. Pack out what you pack in and be responsible with fire.
Tumey Hills - Two access points west of Interstate-5 on Panoche Road in Fresno County. The Tumey Hills (4-wheel drive recommended) provide access to about 23,000 acres of public land and are open to vehicles from the start of quail and chukar hunting season until fire season. Hunter walk-throughs are available during vehicle closures. No cross-country travel allowed. No electricity, running water, or trash collection.
Griswold Hills - Three miles south of Panoche Road on New Idria Road. Nearly 10,000 acres of public land are accessible in this steep, rugged area from the parking areas off New Idria Road. A 0.5-mile hiking trail near the developed parking area leads to the top of the first ridge. The area provides good hunting opportunities for quail, chukar, and other small game. A few deer also inhabit the area. In Griswold Canyon, BLM land straddles both side of the road, and there are fine opportunities for primitive camping next to Griswold Creek. No electricity, running water, or trash collection. Pack out what you pack in, and be careful with fire.
Curry Mountain - Access is six miles west of Coalinga on State Highway 198. Foot access only to nearly 1,800 acres of BLM land in this area is provided through a parking easement by the California Department of Fish and Game. Curry Mountain is very steep and rugged; however, hunting opportunities are fair for quail, chukar, and other small game as well as deer.
Coalinga Mineral Springs - Access is 18 miles west of Coalinga on State Highway 198, then take Coalinga Mineral Springs Road on the right (north side of road). Coalinga Mineral Springs County Park is operated by Fresno County with facilities for camping and picnicking. Over 10,000 acres of public land adjoin the park and offer excellent hunting opportunities. Deer, quail, and wild pig inhabit the varied terrain. Panoramic views of the southern Diablo Mountains can be enjoyed from Kreyenhagen Peak. The nearly 2.5 mile hiking and horseback trail provides easy access to this mountaintop. The trail was designated a National Recreation Trail due to its outstanding scenic quality. There is running water for flush toilets at the County Park the water is non-potable.
Stockdale Mountain - Access to this area is only available on Slacks Canyon Road. No facilities. Park your vehicle at the BLM Access Point at the end of Slacks Canyon Road and enter public lands at the trailhead.
Where can I go target shooting?
There are no designated target shooting areas in the Central Coast Field Office area, however, Public Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are open to target shooting except when prohibited by other applicable laws and regulations. Fort Ord National Monument is closed to target shooting and hunting.
There are no BLM Public Lands administered by the Central Coast Field Office within 150 miles of San Francisco that are publicly accessible for target shooting. We suggest visiting the National Shooting Sports Foundation website to find a range that is open to the public or visit the Santa Clara County Field Sports Park Shooting Range in San Jose that is managed by the County of Santa Clara.
Can I buy land from the government?
The days of homesteading lands are over. Under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the BLM can sell public land. Any lands that might be offered must be sold at fair market value. Please visit the BLM California State web page Are There Any Public Lands for Sale? or contact our Realty Specialist if you have questions about this program.
How do I establish a mining claim?
Before you can locate a claim, you must determine if the lands are, in fact, open to location. You can find this out at any BLM office. No claims can be staked in areas closed to mineral entry under certain acts, regulations, or public land orders. We refer to these as withdrawn lands. The BLM California State Office and Field Offices have appropriate surface management status maps and records for you to make this determination, and they are readily available for your inspection. On lands open to location you may prospect and properly locate claims and sites. Depending on the location of the claim and level disturbance you may need to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) or Plan of Operation.
The process for establishing discovery and a claim is significantly complex enough that you should visit the BLM California State web page Locating a Mining Claim/Site or you might wish to purchase the handbook "Location and Patenting of Mining Claims and Mills Sites in California" which is available for sale at our Field Office.