Mill Creek Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
off road driving
The Mill Creek Trail is a short, easy hike through groves of Coast redwoods along Mill Creek. The trailhead is a short distance up the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road from Highway 1. There is a small dirt parking lot a few yards beyond the signed trailhead on the opposite side of the road. The trail starts with a very steep, but brief, climb before dropping down again and entering the forest at an old cattle gate. The trail gradually climbs and descends, eventually dropping down to run along the bank of Mill Creek at the bottom of the canyon.
Staying on the north bank of Mill Creek, the trail eventually reaches a crossing of Lion Creek, which descends from the left. This may be a wet ford during high water. Beyond the crossing, the trail continues upstream to a crossing of Mill Creek itself near a series of small waterfalls. We turned around here, but it's possible to cross the creek and continue upstream to a small, unofficial campsite about 1/4 mile further upstream. The trail continues beyond here to eventually climb up the hillside to reach the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. However, this portion of the trail is not maintained and can be difficult to follow.
Wildflowers are abundant during the spring, and it's possible to see some interesting wildlife if you look close enough. My son found some giant centipedes and even a very small scorpion (!) here. While you're unlikely to see them, there is a lot of poison oak along the trail and ticks are common in the spring.
Overall, this is a remarkably beautiful trail that's frequently overlooked despite being so close to Highway 1. If you want to avoid the crowds at some of the other, more popular trails at places such as Limekiln State Park, this is the trail for you.