Posted by: James Wapotich | May 19, 2012

How To Not Get Lost In The Woods

Los Padres National Forest Santa Barbara Trail Day Hike Hiking

You may have seen in the news, stories about people getting lost on our local trails. Last year a hiker got lost along the Santa Ynez River behind Santa Barbara, and earlier this year two hikers got lost while hiking to Cathedral Peak.

Through this class you will learn skills and awareness that will allow you to remove the word lost from vocabulary. This class is not about being a survivalist or living off the land, but rather it’s about learning how to see the land as a more familiar place and how to read the trails so that you can find your way anywhere.

This 3-week workshop will take place on our local trails, Saturdays 8-11AM, June 2nd through June 16th. And will include topics such as understanding the local topography so that you can easily orient yourself while out on the land, learning how to read the trails and transitions to be able to follow any trail, how to recognize plants and other features of the natural environment and how to shift one’s awareness from the place of outsider to native. And along the way enjoy some of the rich beauty of our local backcountry.

The class is $75 per person, or bring a friend and save 20% each, limit 12 students. Must be able to comfortably hike 2-3 miles.

James Wapotich, is an experienced backpacker and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry, he is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and is the author of Trail Quest, the weekly hiking column in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

For more information call (805) 564-6946 or email me at


  1. Hi James – I was wondering if you’ll be repeating your how not to get lost course this summer?

    • Dave, thanks for your question. I’ll be reoffering in the fall, Sept/Oct when it gets a little cooler out.


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