The Chimineas Ranch is part of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve (CPER). This is an important distinction because "ecological reserves" have significantly different public access rules and are managed primarily for wildlife habitat preservation and enhancement as opposed to unrestricted public recreation. The CRF does not make these rules or land use decisions but we do want to help you navigate through all the varied information sources that concern public use of the ranch.
The ranch consists of 3 distinct areas; north ranch, south ranch and the headquarters area. As a general rule the only area open to the public is the south ranch area. You may access the south ranch from the parking lot at mile marker 45 on Highway 166 about 14 miles west of New Cuyama. Access permits for the south ranch area are required for all visitors to the property. These permits are available at the main entrance kiosk on Highway 166 or can be downloaded from the CDFW at
Individual hikers and equestrians may access the ranch from this spot at any time however overnight camping is not allowed and group events including equestrians require a special use permit from DFW. Mountain bikes and ATV's are not allowed at any time. Individuals found outside of the south ranch area or without a written access permit are subject to citation by DFW law enforcement. There are some rare exceptions to these rules during special hunts and events. The headquarters area is closed to the public at all times aside from CRF/CDFW sponsored events at Ecological Education Center.
The ranch continues to have a working cattle lease operation as part of the vegetation management program. Visitors will encounter livestock and may be impacted by the cattle operations.
The ranch is in every sense a wildlife rich area complete with potentially harmful rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, deer, elk and wild boar. Roads and trails on the ranch are primitive and visitors travel at their own risk.
Dogs are permitted but may not harass wildlife or other visitors and must be under the direct control of their owner at all times. Our rattlesnakes are abundant so be judicious and aware if you bring a dog on site. Snake avoidance conditioning for your dog is highly recommended.
Target shooting is not allowed. Possession of a firearm outside of the specific hunting dates is not allowed.
The reserve is not closed to hunting. While there are significant differences between what is allowed on Chimineas and what may be allowed on other state properties there are still ample opportunities within specific areas. DFW believes that hunting is both a legitimate recreational use and an important wildlife management tool. Check out the hunts and the see the links below which will take you to where you want to be. The CPER is in the non-lead ammunition zone.
There are several hunting opportunities on the Chimineas. Any species not specifically allowed in these hunts is not allowed to be taken regardless of game status. Briefly they are:
Many of our FAQ's concern pig hunting. Wild pigs may be taken during any of the hunts listed above if encountered. Wild pigs are not consistently found on the ranch and few are taken. We do not recommend that anyone plan to hunt wild pigs on Chimineas as their primary hunt objective.
Please note that at various times there are cameras placed throughout the Reserve for wildlife studies and law enforcement purposes. Some of the devices have low/no light infrared capability. Persons accessing the Reserve may be photographed and signing the required access permit constitutes implied consent to be photographed. Personal hygiene activities should be managed accordingly.
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Ecological Reserves each have special access issues. Please see the map below followed by the access descriptions and hyperlinks to DFW web site references:
Chimineas Ranch Foundation
7870 Fairchild Ave Winnetka, California 91306