Prewitt Ridge Trail

MODERATE 14 reviews
#68 of 186 trails in

Prewitt Ridge Trail is a 7.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, bird watching, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.2 miles Elevation Gain: 3,103 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

First and foremost, the views from the trail are stunning, but they come at a cost... My friends and I did this early Aug 2019 in reverse from Highway 1 up to the top of the ridge. We parked at the North trailhead which is hard to find on a map. Search for "Big Sur Stone House" instead and that's the Northern trailhead. Note: there's overlapping trails at the bottom, Prewitt Ridge Trail and Prewitt Ridge Loop. We took Prewitt Ridge Loop for the first mile before it joined up with Prewitt Ridge Trail and you make a left. This will be easy to tell since it's the first and only trail marker. If you go this same route the total distance is 7.9 miles. The entire trail was passable despite some earlier reports of overgrown brush. The first mile on Prewitt Ridge Loop is dense, narrow, and full of poison oak. I would recommend to wear pants and potentially gaiters if you have them to avoid getting poison oak all over you. The rest of the trail is wide open and no issues with poison oak. There's few trees along the trail so if you go on a hot day like we did, you'll appreciate the shade breaks. The heat was intense (85+ degrees and elevation factored in) and it's clear why all the plants are dried out and a big wildfire risk. Plan accordingly - bring plenty of water, wear a hat etc. I ended up drinking my entire 3L camelback on just the climb up. For the uphill part, it's pretty grueling depending on the weather you have. It's ~4 miles of straight uphill and keeps getting steeper and steeper with few switch backs. Getting near the top, we had these beautiful yellow lemon scented plants along the trail which made everything smell great...but they were super sticky. Again - pants here were key. All of our legs and hiking poles were covered in the sap from the plants. Once you get to the top, you'll know you're close when you start to see all the used toilet paper (ugh). The top opens up to a few parking areas for folks using Nacimiento Fergusson road to get to the top and camp. I wouldn't say the top is any more beautiful or interesting than any of the rest trail so if you're just looking for pretty views and don't care to go all the way to the top, you could probably stop between 2-3 miles in and you'll have pretty much the same views. The downhill is what you would expect but in the afternoon heat it ended up taking us almost the same amount of time it took to get to the top since we needed several shade breaks. We brought 2 dogs on the trip which was ambitious in the heat. They had to be carried the majority of the way and ended up being covered in burrs and ticks. There weren't any rock scrambling parts so footing wasn't an issue. That said, unless your dog can withstand the heat and elevation gain, I'd probably recommend to leave the pooch at home. Overall it was a beautiful trail. I'm glad we did it, but it was definitely hard work on a hot, clear day. Plan accordingly, bring the right gear, take your time, and you'll have a great time.

hiking
over grown
9 months ago

Bottom mile is full of poison oak and overgrown. Trail sign also points you in wrong direction. I would not recommend this trail. My dog also ended up covered in ticks.

Wed Oct 10 2018

This trail was not well kept. Eroding hillsides and so much growth blocking the trail. Two of the three of us were cut up all over our legs and the third gal got hives from one of the plants we had to move just to pass through the trail. We stopped about a mile up the mountainside and turned back.

hiking
Thu Aug 09 2018

Please beware that the first quarter mile of trail is literally choked with poison ivy. About 300 yards in the trail becomes a tunnel of P.O. one could probably punch through to make it beyond to P.O. to the drier slope above but I had to curtail my hike. Note: to complete the Prewitt Loop trail starting from the southern TH, one would have to bushwhack through this tough section

hiking
Fri Feb 09 2018

Beautiful place. dispersed camping. a lot a trash left from rude campers. please pack it out.

Sat Oct 28 2017

Not an easy hike. Straight downhill then straight back up. Very difficult.

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

camping
6 months ago

recorded Prewitt Ridge Trail

hiking
Fri Nov 24 2017

Wed Jun 07 2017