Here’s a list of our favorite local hikes, ranging from a quick-and-easy afternoon jaunts to extended trails that make for a fantastic overnighter. North-South: Andrew Molera State Park offers a 1 mile, relatively flat and easy hike to the beach, but you have to wade across the Big Sur River at the end of the trail to get on the sandy beach. “One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Territory Supply is reader-supported and may earn a commission when you book or purchase using our links. This out and back trek is like two hikes in one, reaching a … When she’s not hunched over her laptop, you can usually find her sleeping in the dirt all over the Sierra Nevada. Largely undeveloped and left in pristine condition for all to enjoy, Andrew Molera State Park is a beautiful place to hike and explore the Big Sur coast. It’s a winding, 569-mile cliffside ride down almost the entirety of the California coast, though most tourists opt to only drive the section between Malibu and Monterey. For a good overview, check out the Big Sur Beach Guide.. Trailhead parking is just off Highway 1 at Salmon Creek, where visitors will be greeted by a brown, metal sign boldly stating the distance to Spruce Camp (two miles) and Estrella Camp (3.25 miles). Why you should go: Get your moss on and marvel at a multitude of redwoods on this longer loop that also passes by a historic house. The Vicente Flat Trail starts climbing immediately and doesn’t quit until it’s gained 3,000 feet in just 3.5 miles. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. A short spur trail will take you to the lovely Salmon Creek Falls before you begin the intense climb up the canyon towards the first camp. Why you should go: Escape the crowds on this shady, tree-filled hike through towering redwoods, maples, and sycamores. A hike on the Purgatory Flats Trail is anything but purgatory —unless you start sucking air due to the high elevation! 1,210 Reviews. Big Sur’s Best Hiking Trails McWay Waterfall Trail. Pass through grasslands and hilly chaparral before the trail intersects with Spruce Creek near the first campground area. Turn left onto the narrow and sometimes brushy Cone Peak Trail to the Summit Trail. Most people have put away their hiking boots by this time of year and will forget about them until fair weather returns. Check out the top, family-friendly hiking paths at Big Sur. At this lovely stop, rolling golden hillside and mountains await; the untouched backcountry of Big Sur. If you’re just passing through and want an easy roadside stop, this is the one “must see” path in the whole area. Enjoy the panoramic view of the valley below and the Pacific Ocean as you climb towards the lookout point, topping out at a wooden bench set at the perfect angle to gaze out at the coast to the northwest. Directions: The park is 37 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Emily Pennington is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. No, Big Sur is dangerous of an enchanting ‘won’t want to leave’ and ‘nothing else compares’ kind of way. Originally called “el pais grande del sur” (the big country to the south) by Spanish settlers from Monterrey, Big Sur has managed to maintain its remote wildness in the modern era. Find the best hikes in the Big Sur + Central California Coast, located in California. Namely, the fact that there’s no cell service for miles. Come prepared with downloaded offline maps, print-outs, or purchased paper maps if you’re going to be exploring the trails. The best tour of Big Sur Bryan was our tour guide for our half day hike tour, and it was an unforgettable day, we learned so much about the area and nature and plants in general. Accordingly, Big Sur is an ideal destination for hiking due to the breathtaking scenery. Partington Cove is a short hike along Highway 1 in Big Sur. Here, you’ll head west on a closed, wide dirt road along the ridgeline, with views to the hidden interior of the Big Sur mountains. McWay Falls. After you’ve taken a peek at the most famous waterfall in all the land, McWay Falls, hop back under the freeway into Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and get ready to explore a more rugged and “real” trail that passes through the spectacular and varied ecosystems that help make Big Sur so unique. Moab is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Utah, and for good reason. The Golden State is filled with world-class hikes. You’ll hike down a few wooden steps, under the freeway, and then amble along an easy path with several great spots to turn out and look at the falls. There's not much out here except cactus and rugged mountains. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Why you should go: Offering amazing views of canyon and coast, this steep out-and-back trail also doubles as a great overnight backpacking trip. “If you take some of the side trails that split off from the path down to the stairs, you’ll get some nice views from the bluffs out over the beach,” says visitor Katarina O’Dette on AllTrails. Ewoldsen Trail. Pfeiffer Falls and Valley View. Gaze down at the aquamarine surf as you make your way up a series of switchbacks that climb through California poppies, lupines, blackberries, and western columbines. When you’ve had enough, simply hike back the way you came. After crossing the bridge, turn left along the River Trail and enjoy a walk along the bank. “The trail is nice and follows the Mill Creek which has abundant water and many small waterfalls,” says hiker Mike Smith on AllTrails. Want an all-day hike full of deep green forests, fuzzy redwood trees, coastal views, and Big Sur history? Want to bring Fido hiking? Set several miles south of the town of Big Sur, this tree-lined trek is just out of the way enough to avoid the throngs of tourists you might find on other hikes in the area. Salmon Creek Falls Trail. Best dogs trails in Big Sur, California 309 Reviews Explore the most popular dog friendly trails near Big Sur with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. What are the best places for hiking trails in Big Sur? This challenging, 4. At 71 miles long, Big Sur is one of the longest and most beautiful coastlines in the U.S. Remember to bring water as there is no spring up here to fill up your bottles. Find the top hikes near Big Sur, CA. Look no further than the Tanbark Trail loop. Adventuresome hikers who make it all the way to Estrella Camp will be greeted by a lush meadow, lovely campsites, and great opportunities to hop in the nearby creek. This makes it a great hike for beginner-intermediate backpackers who just want to escape for the weekend. We recommend going the distance and enjoying the more level trail all the way to Vicente Flat Camp, nestled right against a rushing stream under a canopy of enormous trees. The hikes listed below are from highest rating to lowest. Rainier provides a wealth of outdoor experiences unmatched anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. Why you should go: Nab the best view of Big Sur Valley, Pfeiffer Falls, and a grove of creekside redwoods on this short hike through the hills. Around three miles from the trailhead, hikers will take a left onto a fire road and pass the Tin House, a relic from 1944 that was built by Lathrop Brown, the same man who built the house near McWay Falls. Valley View Trail: 2 miles roundtrip from trailhead or 1/2 mile from Pfeiffer Falls; easy. When you’re ready to go home, just turn around and head back the way you came. These places are best for hiking trails in Big Sur: Which places provide the best hiking trails in Big Sur for kids and families? Whether you are a solo traveler, traveling with your friends, or your family, these best hiking and trekking spots in Big Sur, … Traveling south on Hwy 1, the pullout for, "The top of the trail is located on the western inside of a bend in Highway One, 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, and 2 miles north of the entrance to, Hotels with Complimentary Breakfast in Big Sur, Hotels near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Hotels near Point Sur State Historic Park, Hotels near Henry Miller Memorial Library, Hotels near (MRY) Monterey Peninsula Airport, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: Tickets & Tours‎, Salmon Creek Falls Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, Tanbark Trail & Tin House: Tickets & Tours‎, Pacific Valley Bluff Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, Things to do near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Things to do near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Things to do near Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort, See more hiking trails in Big Sur on Tripadvisor, See more hiking trails for kids in Big Sur on Tripadvisor, See more hiking trails for couples in Big Sur on Tripadvisor, See more budget-friendly hiking trails in Big Sur on Tripadvisor. Then, get ready to climb up, up, up, crossing the creek about a mile and a half in. Gorgeous hiking photos paired with a map, trail descriptions and tips to help you plan your next great hike. But for those willing to put slick sole to muddy trail year-round, the area around the Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur offers spectacular winter hiking. The different scenic elements of the California coast really come together here. Park in a small lot just off Highway 1, then look for an odd set of wooden steps set right into the fence line. If you’re traveling, please check state and local COVID-19 guidelines before booking. Limekiln Falls is a breathtaking 100-foot waterfall cascading down a rugged limestone cliff, and the limekilns give a fascinating look at the early days of industry in this central California town. Best Hiking Trails in Big Sur, CA 1. 020. Big Sur, Ventana Wilderness [Los Padres National Forest] (National Geographic Trails … Around the three-mile mark, the trail takes an abrupt turn inland, heading towards an ancient grove of old growth redwood trees. You'll also find some great local park options, like Lovers Point Park or Perkins Park. You’ve come to the right place! Looking for a great trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California? “One of the most amazing views in my life!” says visitor Nicholas DiLauro on AllTrails. Conquer the climb and enjoy the view. Hare Creek lets hikers get up close and personal with some of the largest and oldest redwood trees in all of Big Sur. There’s a trail here that leads to the second tallest peak in Big Sur, Cone Peak, which reaches 1,574m. Opt to take a 0.1 mile side trek to check out Canyon Falls, if waterfalls are your thing. Jump onto the Lookout Trail at the top of the ridge, sit on the bench, have a snack, and take it all in before heading back downhill the way you came. The scenic stretch of California’s central coast hosts a labyrinth of trails full of mossy boulders, enormous redwood groves, and rocky coastline. When you’re ready for some sun and sweet beach action, turn around and take a sharp right towards the trail that heads downhill to the beach itself. It is rightfully one of the best hiking destinations in the country. #2 Andrew Molera State Park. A set of stairs will take hikers down the steepest bit, and soon you’ll find yourself on the surf-lined shore of Sand Dollar Beach. You can learn more about our editorial and affiliate policy, 11 Best Flagstaff Cabin Rentals to Escape to in 2020, 14 Jaw Dropping Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, The 10 Best Hikes Near Telluride, Colorado, Easy Hikes Near Durango: Purgatory Flats Trail, 13 Best Camping Spots Near Salt Lake City, Utah. Head deep into an otherworldly redwood canyon on the Soberanes Canyon Trail, a challenging... 3. Accordingly, Big Sur is an ideal destination for hiking due to the breathtaking scenery. With hundreds of campgrounds available less than an hour from the city, your camping options are nearly limitless along the Wasatch Front. From here, turn around and head up towards the falls. One of the most popular short hikes for locals, Salmon Creek Falls is just a quarter-mile round-trip... Pacific Valley Bluff Trail. Each trail is only half a mile long, and ends at a different, unique landmark that is quintessentially “Big Sur.”. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Follow the same path back the way you came, but this time, the ocean will be in front of you, meaning you get those mountain and surf views Big Sur is famous for. My husband took my girls hiking there and they were so excited to see a bobcat on the trail! The Tanbark Trail offers some of the variety you’d expect with a Big Sur hike, but with its own added flair of pizazz. BESTSELLER NO. It is a favorite of mine because it has beautiful coastal views and a historic tunnel. Located about 18 miles north of Hearst Castle in San Simeon (a worthy day trip if you’ve never been), the Salmon Creek Trail is one of the southernmost in the area and a worthy stop for any hiker looking to get their sweat on. #bigsur #hiking #travelcouple Thanks so much for tuning into our most recent video! Keep walking a few hundred feet, and you’ll come to the ruins of the historic Waterfall House. From here, the trek passes through enchanting meadows and lush hillsides as you ascend towards live oaks and a few, smaller redwood trees higher up. When you’re finished soaking in the views, hike back along the trail on the west side of the freeway to your vehicle. Although there’s no set definition for Big Sur, most people consider Monterey to the … These are the best places for couples seeking hiking trails in Big Sur: Which places provide the best hiking trails in Big Sur for travelers on a budget? With this many scenic hiking and trekking places in Big Sur, not only will you be able to enjoy a breathtaking trip, but also stay fit at the same time! Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. There are 23 hard trails in Big Sur ranging from 4.9 to 33.4 miles and from 39 to 5,157 feet above sea level. If you’d rather not get your shoes wet on the creek crossings, skip it and veer left to check out the nearby limekilns. BESTSELLER NO. Hiking and Backpacking Big Sur: A Complete Guide to the Trails of Big Sur, Ventana Wilderness, and Silver Peak Wilderness. Pacific Valley Bluff Trail. Directions: The Pacific Valley Bluff Trail starts across from the Pacific Valley Ranger Station, which is now permanently closed, north of Sand Dollar Day Use Beach in Big Sur. Directions to the trailhead, free maps, and more. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Join 80,000+ adventurers getting epic travel, camping and hiking ideas every week. When you’re done exploring, simply turn around and head back towards your car. You’ll often see the terraforming plant popping up near streams or recent burn zones, reclaiming soil that was once in motion. Pro tip: Be sure to call the ranger station to check on trail closures and current conditions before attempting this hike. Big Sur has many great destinations, but Sykes Hot Springs is definitely near the top of the list for anyone who has been there. Seen in: California, California Hiking, Hike, Southwest. These are the best places for budget-friendly hiking trails in Big Sur: "I recommend driving down the Pacific Coast Highway and make multiple stops along the way including the Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls and the Julia Pfeiffer Burns. Miles of hiking trails wind through bluffs, meadows, hilltops and beaches, offering lots of variety in terrain. At this lovely stop, rolling golden hillside and mountains await; the untouched backcountry of Big Sur. For more tips on where to find the best trails, check out our California hiking guides: 14 Best Hikes at Point Reyes National Seashore. Once you’ve had enough of these magnificent views, turn around and hike back towards the parking lot, skipping the falls trail this go-around. 66 reviews. Big Sur is a charming town in Monterey County, 140 miles south of San Francisco. The Best Trails in Big Sur Salmon Creek Trail. This article was written by travellers, for travellers. Hikers of all skill levels will enjoy trekking on the gorgeous, Californian trails during the day, and relaxing at a cozy Big Sur vacation rental in the evening. Gearing up for a challenge? Park and walk east past the kiosk to the beginning of the trail, then cross a short bridge and turn right to head up towards Hare Canyon, gazing up at a grove of enormous older redwoods. BUZZARD'S ROOST **OPEN** 3 miles roundtrip This moderate to strenuous loop hike follows the Big Sur River then climbs through shady redwoods to an exposed sunny ridge with a panoramic view of the ocean, Sycamore Canyon and the Santa Lucia Mountains. ” In 3 reviews 5. Check out the Cypress Grove Trail, which explores one of only two naturally occurring old-growth Monterey Cypress forests remaining in the wild. You can listen to the gentle babbling sounds of the water and allow all city noise to melt away. Redwoods, brooks, wildflowers, condors, and ocean were all a part of our day,” says Gregg Nyce on AllTrails. Look closely or you might miss it! Don’t let the name give you the wrong impression. An abundance of wildlife, scenic coves, and pleasant hiking trails makes Point Lobos a highlight of Big Sur that should not be missed in our opinion. Veer left at this section of trail and continue the long ascent towards Estrella Camp, stopping occasionally to explore creekside pools and small waterfalls as the trail grows ever steeper. "We stopped at many pullouts to get a good look as well as a number of state beaches and parks including Garrapata, "We highly recommend this stop along Hwy 1. Why you should go: This leg-busting hike delivers great views and giant redwoods, and it’s a fantastic backpacking adventure if you have the time to make it an overnighter. Veer right almost immediately onto the Creamery Meadow Trail, following it to a secluded beach. Big Sur is defined by dramatic and beautiful landscapes. Ewoldsen Trail. One of the best things about Limekiln State Park’s short and sweet trails is that they offer the best of Big Sur in tiny, bite-sized packages that are easy enough for the whole family to enjoy. Hikers of all skill levels will enjoy trekking on the gorgeous, Californian trails during the day, and relaxing at a cozy Big Sur vacation rental in the evening. You’ll see a sign marked “beach access” with symbols reminding you to keep your dog on a leash and that no overnight camping is allowed. Best trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California. 4. Turn around and head back down the fire road towards Highway 1, finally descending through the trees for some incredible views of the California coast. Ewoldsen Trail. Escape the crowds and plan an overnighter to really experience the magic of this far-flung locale. I can recommend three beaches — each offering different hiking experiences. Surprisingly lush and scenic redwood forests shelter in steep canyons beside fast-flowing and crystal-clear creeks. Nearly a mile into the trek, you’ll come face to face with the sign for the McLaughlin Grove of redwoods, a massive group of spiral-bark trees that shoot straight up into the sky. Due to a series of wildfires in 2008, there may be some rough areas of trail or downed trees. We saw beautiful redwoods, Brian shared a lot of information and answered whatever questions we had. If these three shorter trails haven’t tuckered you out yet, consider a quick excursion under the freeway on a trail that leads down to a rocky beach where you can enjoy the waves. Big Sur’s Best Backpacking Trails From creek-fed oak groves, to fern-covered redwood forests, to enchanting ocean viewpoints, there’s something for everyone in the Big Sur backcountry. more. If you’ve had enough hiking for the day, you could set up camp at mile 3.25 (Espinosa Camp). Higher-rated hikes are generally harder, longer days with beautiful scenery and lots of solitude and follows a fun, interesting route. Lots of fun, fairly easy and the waterfall at the end is pretty,” says hiker Ali Herrera on AllTrails. Big Sur is also one of the most difficult parts of the redwood … Territory Supply is reader-supported and may earn a commission when you book or purchase using our links. Reapply your sunscreen and enjoy the California poppies and lupine flowers as you amble across the hills. Take a sunset stroll, hunt for jade gemstones along the cliffs, or set up a towel and enjoy the cool breeze. Most people have put away their hiking boots by this time of year and will forget about them until fair weather returns. But Big Sur is composed of a number of small towns, and picking the right one can be a challenge. Be on the lookout for downed trees and creek crossings so that you can stay on the trail and avoid any poison oak that’s common in the area. 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