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To reach black mountain, there are three prominent trails. One is via hidden villa, second one is via Rhus ridge and the third one is via PG&E trail.

This trail (3rd) is less common due to the elevation gain being close to 3200 feet and is 12 miles total hiking distance. It is a good hike and gets challenging on the last two miles of ascent i.e. 5th and 6th mile. This hike is a must do in bay area before going to Yosemite hikes like upper yosemite waterfall hike or four mile hike etc.

When you reach the top, don't get dishearten by the communication towers. Rather, take the monte bello road towards the opening and you will be pleasantly surprised with the view of pacific ocean to west, San Francisco city to north, Lick's observatory in the east and mnt umunhum in the south. Also, you will get a good view of the silicon bay area.

I recommend this hike.

Great hike with amazing views of the bay, Diablo and beyond. Uphill and downhill struggle pretty much the whole way! It took us 7.5 hours to do (moving time). This is much longer hiking time for us as the downhill is steep fairly frequently with poor grip. If you can stand the burn and blisters it’s definitely worth it!

Nice hike with lots of shade. Ended up being a bit longer - I tracked close to 9 Miles. There is a paved parking lot with space for 30-40 cars and I found a spot easily on Sat afternoon. There are some inclines but mostly just short bursts. Very easy to get lost because there are a lot of trails - make sure you’re constantly checking your AllTrails map. There was a port-a-potty in the parking lot as well as one half way through (and some picnic tables). Not many people on the trail.

hiking
3 days ago

Wow, no kidding that this hike was tough! It was a bit hard to navigate at times (we used two different maps), but overall it was a great workout. During the 9 miles we only saw about 6 people, so it was pretty private. The trails are very well kept. We had a lovely picnic at the top with the lunches we had packed!

hiking
9 days ago

Followed recommendations to do the uphill Ridge trail first then connecting to the Panorama trail and finally Bluff trail., clockwise. Good advise because then the best ocean views are in front of u for second half of the hike and it’s cooler. However wish I’d know that the first 3 to 4 miles or so are uphill and extremely strenuous with no ocean views. A good hike if you’re a fit person!

hiking
17 days ago

Nice hike! Good views!
Took me 3.5 hours to complete with photo and snack breaks. It can get quite windy sometimes.

on Berry Creek Falls Loop

18 days ago

Bring water and look out for banana slugs! Great hike.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful trail! Took me about 4 hours to do the full loop with a beach break. Recommend to bring water/snacks and long pants.

hiking
21 days ago

Moderate, no shade. Very nice at the beach area with purple sand (spring trail)

Started early and by the time we reached it was around 7:15 am and cold. Very few cars were parked due to the cold I guess. Found initially little confusing where the trail started and took us some time to get on the trail. As per the review I read by lots of hikers we wanted to do the anti clock wise hike but came across a detour sign asking us the go on the clock wise direction. We ended up doing that and did not encounter any one until we reached the falls and decided to try the other side to get back to the parking when saw few people coming from the counter clockwise side of the trail. There was no issue with the trail not sure why they had put a detour sign. Took 5 1/2 hrs for us to finish the trail.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike! The beach trail was closed but the hike is tough and rewarding. The first portion of the hike is incline but the second half is mostly decline.Great views overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It is best to go in the morning to catch the cool breeze. There was fog in the morning but cleared up towards the end of the hike.

hiking
28 days ago

Pretty strenuous for a hot day in August. As others have said lots of poison oak, but great views of the ocean and plenty of condors. The redwoods, and oaks at the top were awesome. We didn’t have much fog, so the panoramic views of the coastline were great.

hiking
29 days ago

The trail as mapped is mostly on a road that a lot of horse riders also ride on. Though the area in general seems to have a lot of different trails to connect to and branch off of the road. We were there in August and passed about 8 horse riders on the trail throughout the day - aka we had to sidestep a good amount of manure.

The beach and higher views towards the end are more beautiful than the beginning. Overall it served as a good training trail.

So gorgeous! Tough hike but a good one!

I took the advice here and went early, parking lot at 8 and also took the trail counter clockwise
I only saw three peoples going down and lots of birds! At the falls it began to seem like a freeway but still very beautiful and cool on a hot day.
Took me a little over 4 1/2 hours - I’m older and moderately fit.
Would totally recommend this hike.
Also bring $10 cash if you get there before the park opens to pay for parking - I didn’t have change so then for $20 from me.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is very badly maintained and completely overgrown for the second half.

Strenuous but great! Really beautiful waterfalls

hiking
1 month ago

SO BEAUTIFUL & SO LONG. Make sure you leave pretty early so you can spend more time on the beautiful beach - if you plan on doing the whole loop

My friend and I did this hike in mid-August and were not prepared. Normally rangers/guides overestimate heat and difficulty, but that was not the case here. Started at 12:30pm with about 1.5L of water between the two of us, and we basically were fried by the time we reached the false summit. The overgrown nature of the trail and the heat made the hike so brutal (my friend was showing signs of heat exhaustion) it was hard to enjoy the views. I'm sure in another season and with proper preparation, this would have been a really cool hike, but as a 23-year-old experienced hiker (for my age) and former college endurance athlete, I had a tough time. Bring enough water, start in the morning, and really take a close look at how sure-footed you are before attempting this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty hike but little challenge. Same but nice view of the Pacific Ocean the entire way. Take care for poison oak and you may need to bush wack a touch. We did see the trail maintenance crew out to start cleaning it up which was relieving for future hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Amazing views. The beach is a plus, secluded not too crowded and with pink sand!!! Not an easy one but keep with it.... yes poison ivy, be careful. Do it clockwise, easier.

Difficult trail. The trail gets really sketchy around the 2.5 mile marker but the views are beautiful. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water - you'll be in the direct Eastern sun the majority of the time. Really be prepared for a hard climb and feel good in your footing. The trail gets very narrow and overgrown, and in some places there almost isn't a trail at all. Overall it's a great physical challenge, just make sure you're prepared!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Stunning views. Loved every minute of it. Would do ridge side first as it gets hot and the bluff side is much cooler with the breeze. Would wear pants as it’s a bit overgrown at parts.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We did the clockwise direction on a Saturday in July, and the trail was great! The initial climb was strenuous, but it wasn't too bad after that. We enjoyed being rewarded with the Spring Trail to the beach at about the halfway point. As others have noted, there is quite a bit of Poison Oak, so keep an eye out for that. We thought it might be more crowded, but we did not encounter that many other hikers, even on the beach. If you time it right and hit low tide, you may be able to hike bike along the beach all the way back. We were not able to do the beac hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked the loop, counterclockwise, last week (07/21) and started about 06:07am and finished back to car at 09:43am, which included at 15/20 minute break at Berry Falls. I've done this hike in the past couple years ago.

GAIS GPS clocked in at 10:55 miles roundtrip, while the Apple Watch clocked in at 10.46miles.

You'll be mostly in the shade. There are some section of the trail that are closed so watch for the detour signs. Can't miss them. A lot of up/downs. If you start counter-clockwise, you'll be mostly going down, or up gradual inclines but nothing too crazy. The last three miles is mostly up, but gradual.

Overall, nice hike through the redwood and peaceful and calm (as I was there pretty early). Go early if you can. It's nice and peaceful early in the morning when it's quiet.

Great hike! A little strenuous and very sunny, so be prepared.
The beach is beautiful and private. We almost missed it. There is a marker for Panorama Trail at the turn off. If you can see the bleached wood and the makeshift bridge then you are in the right place.

hiking
1 month ago

Quite strenuous loop, considering few closures along the hike. Get early to avoid the crowd. 3 waterfalls along.

hiking
1 month ago

Best Hike in Big Sur

Summary
Summary: Creamery Trail > Beach Trail > CLOCKWISE: Ridge Trail > Panorama Trail > Spring Trail > Bluffs Trail > Beach Trail > Creamery Trail

Details
You can just put in directions to Andrew Molera State Park and google maps will bring you to the park entrance ($10 to park in the lot or it's free right along the road 0.1 miles away from the lot).

From the side of the road, you walk down to the sate park parking lot. Instead of entering the lot, go through the white gate/arch to just keep following the road. This road is called the creamery trail. Take your first right to follow the Beach Trail and cross the river (there's a beam, so no need to walk through the water) to stay on the beach trail.

Keep walking and you'll see a trail on the left that says "ridge trail loop". Take that trail (otherwise you can go straight for ~0.05 miles to the main beach but this beach isn't that cool). After starting up the ridge trail, you'll quickly see a fork in the road for ridge or bluff trail. This is the 8 mile loop, definitely take the clockwise route aka the ridge trail/uphill option.

Follow that until you're at the very top and take the only trail down aka the Panorama Trail. Brace yourself for stunning views. Now time for the pink sand beach. As you get close to the water, you'll see a trail on the left going towards the water but it's overgrown and won't be able to take it. Instead, take the next left option, you'll see a ton of driftwood and then you're there!

When you're done enjoying the beach, take the bluff trail (which seems to become spring trail for a small portion). This will loop you back to where you started the uphill climb up ridge trail. From there, just go back to the beach trail and head back to the parking lot.

Sounds a little complicated, but it's really not. Just go up as high as you can and then follow the coast for as long as you can until you find your starting point. Lots of poison oak and parts of the Panorama trail are super narrow so highly recommend bringing poison oak wipes/washing everything afterwards (even shoes).

Summary: Creamery Trail > Beach Trail > CLOCKWISE: Ridge Trail > Panorama Trail > Spring Trail > Bluffs Trail > Beach Trail > Creamery Trail

If you're not feeling like a long hike, you could do the counterclockwise version to the pink sand beach and just don't take the panorama trail uphill. Doing this as an in and out trail to the beach, would prob be ~2 miles each way... maybe less.

Arrived at 8:45a on Sunday and found the lot closest to HQ already full. Per the recommendation of the Park Aide, I hiked this trail counter-clockwise and was I glad I did since I was fresh and going downhill through the gorgeous upper part of Sunset trail as it winds through redwood groves. Most of the Berry Creek Falls trail is also very pretty. Completed the hike in 5.5 hours with a brief layover at the falls and numerous photo stops. There’s a big tree across Berry Creek Falls Trail right at the juncture with Sunset Trail, so it looks like the Berry Creek Falls trail is closed. But it’s not.

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