In the spectacular Big Sur area, Andrew Molera State Park is still relatively undeveloped and offers visitors great hiking and beach-combing. Miles of trails wind through meadows, beaches and hilltops. A primitive walk-in trail camp, popular with hikers and bikers, is located approximately one third mile from the parking area. Open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.
This trail provides exceptional memories every time depending on the season, time of day and, of course, who accompanies you. The bench at the top is gone, however. Four of us did this loop in the rain today (late November) and we did everything wrong! A 7 yr old and a 10 yr old will agree that starting out at 3pm in November in the rain will give one bragging rights of the cold, the rain, the wind, the pitch black darkness, the salemanders, slugs, magical grove shelter and fatigue. They didn't know it is 8.2 miles. I've done this trail a few times and am awestruck by the variety of natural beauty (even in the dark) on this trail, including bobcat, coyotes, deer and a rattle snake.
Be ready for a cold paddle through the stream to get started. It's about knee deep with a stoney bottom. Once you've got your shoes back on then it's an easy walk, even a little dull, but the beach at the end of it is gorgeous. You can loop back through the River Trail, even though the only contact with any river consists of the paddle through the stream that starts and ends both trails at the parking lot. Worth it for the beach.
We had a wonderful overnight visit. From the trailhead you will walk about 1.5 miles down a well-maintained dirt road. The road goes to a boy scout camp, and there were a few vehicles passing by en route to the camp. A well-marked sign will then take you down another 1 mile trail that drops you into a beautiful and lush canyon, walking under a canopy of various trees, including redwoods. There are about 4 or 5 suitable campsite, along-aide a rushing creek/river.
At the time of our visit (mid-May 2016), there was wonderful flow of clean and cool water. We encountered only a few mosquitos, although I expected a lot. Our campsite had an existing three-log sitting area and a nice campfire ring, perfect for inviting guests from adjacent sites.
The hike out the next day was back up the same trail. I would call it moderately steep in places, but not too bad. The trail was very slightly overgrown in a few areas. A large tree has recently fallen across the trail, providing a single barrier to an over-wise perfect trail. Of course, there is plenty of poison oak, so keep covered up as you head through the Forrest.
We did find some trash left by previous campers (not too much) which we removed what we could.
I will try to visit this place again and allow at least another day just to hang out. I would imagine there are fish in the creek, not sure.
I've hiked this trail twice now and love it. The wildflowers have been amazing this spring and they are abundant on this trail. There is plenty of poison oak and lots of wind. the views are breathtaking. This is a moderately difficult hike, my 66 year old mom did it fine, but she's tough.