Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce and Estrella Camps

MODERATE 20 reviews
#14 of 134 trails in

Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce and Estrella Camps is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.6 miles
1683 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running






wild flowers


9 days ago

This was an amazing trail! Lots of different scenery and wild flowers are starting to bloom. However, be aware of poison oak too. We combined it with the Salmon Creek Waterfall trail. Went to the main waterfall first, which was beautiful! We then came back around to start this trail. The first .5 miles are a steady incline that’s a little strenuous, but the remaining parts of the trail to Estrella Camp are mostly a combo of level ground, some downhill, and couple more short uphill climbs. Many parts of this trail are on a narrow pathway/ledge when you get higher up, so watch your footing. At this time there is still the remnants of a large pine tree that fell directly on the main path right before getting to the Spruce Creek Camp. You will have to step through and over a wall of fallen branches and then climb over the large trunk. On the way to Estrella Camp from Spruce Camp, you are parallel to Salmon Creek and can hear the sound of flowing water. Very soothing. We also caught a glimpse of another waterfall through the trees. On the way back the views of the forest and ocean are great! Especially if you’re heading back down around sunset. Overall the hike for us ended up being more like 6.5 miles round trip. We did not camp overnight.

2 months ago

The trail was ok, not really up to stuff, but the scenery and freshwater makes up for it.

3 months ago

if ttyyou like waterfalls this one is awsome

3 months ago

This is a good, scenic trail that has a lot of clean water from the Salmon Creek along the way. The trail and the camps are in good condition and mostly shaded along the way. The trail leads away from the coast, so you will not views of the coast like the Buckeye Trail, but it has a lot of beautiful backcountry views. Overall, it is a pretty easy hike that starts off pretty steep, but never has any really dramatic inclines after the first half mile. On Instagram @picbynathan

4 months ago

One of my favorites. once you get up the hill, really nice and easy.

5 months ago

I loved this trail, it was gorgeous and everyone I met on the trail were very cool. Would have gave it 5 but it wasn't maintained as well as it could have been

5 months ago

Awesome trail. The opening climb might put you off a bit if you aren't prepared, especially if you start in the middle of the day. My girlfriend, two very old dogs and myself started about 945am, and made it to Spruce Creek Camp around noon. We had to stop to water the dogs about 4 times, and about 10-15 minutes at a time. Overall, not a strenuous hike, just bring lots of water if you have dogs! I purified about 7 liters of water at the camp site, and my pups drank about 6 Lts of it. We also gave some water to a few people on the trail who only had a small water bottle. It was about 90-95 in the sun, and several day hikers ran out of water. We saw a fair amount of traffic through Spruce Creek Camp. We had a super sweet spot right above the creek and the springs. Bugs weren't too bad. A lot of people going to the lower falls and the parking lot was packed full of cars when we came out of the trail. Overall, I'd love to come back without the old pups and do the hike up to South Ridge Road and come out one of the many connector trails, or venture down Spruce Creek Trail! The Split for Spruce Creek Trail and Salmon Creek Trail is at MGRS Grid 10S FE 4942 6577. I recommend you set that as a way point. You wont see the camp sites or much of the trail on Google Earth, so setting way points off that can be... difficult. Some of my WPs were up to 100 meters off what the trail actually turned out to be.

8 months ago

Stay at Ragged Point Inn and hike this one in the morning. Rated moderate but it's actually pretty easy. Fire trail is cleared well. Once at the top I recommend heading right and hanging out with a PBandJ while you enjoy the view. On a nice and easy pace we do this hike in about 3.5 hours. Once back to Ragged Point Inn grab some lunch and relax. Doesn't get any better than this in Big Sur!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

this is a beautiful hike the first 3/4 of a mile is a bit steep but if you're young and in Shape it won't be to bad I'm 50 with a bad back my group made it in obout 4.5 Hrs bring a lunch and enjoy the picnic tables at spruce creek

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tough little uphill to start the hike. Saw my first mountain lion though, so I'd say it was a pretty awesome trip. Estrella camp is a great spot.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This trail sucked compared to all of the other trails near by.....don't waste your time on this trail if you are not here for multiple days. Not a lot of views. 30 minutes in it is quite a sight to turn around and look at how far down Hwy 1 is but other than that I would only use this trail if you are trying to log miles and get a good workout. The elevation gain in the beginning is great and also if you continue on from Spruce Camp to Estrella Camp you will get a good workout. The gnats on this trail are positively awful though. If I would have had a bee suit with that thing that goes over your face I would have worn it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Heads directly inland so the views aren't great but it is shady. The Buckeye Trail that starts slightly to the north is much prettier.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

BEAUTIFUL! The start trail does sneak up on you while you are scaling up Hwy 1 but once you park and start the hike within a 5 minute walk you are able to see this beautiful waterfall, great for pictures. As you continue through the S.C. trail you constantly have a great view on the Pacific Ocean and the hillside. In the trail there is plenty of shade with so much wildlife all around you as you hear the birds chirping, it does start off a little steep but it does flatten out and becomes a great walk. Once you get to the Creek , peacefulness!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Day hiked up to Upper Salmon Creek Falls for lunch and a dip in water. A fallen tree is in pool now, blocking a third of it from being used. Water is about 2.5 feet deep in deepest spot there, good sunshine and rocks to sit on to dry off. Trail is well maintained with lots of PO on the sides, no ticks this time, did not see any birds, saw an alligator lizard and a couple of squirrels.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a good workout, but not terribly interesting. Most of the views are obstructed by the forest, and there are parts of the trail that feel a little dangerous because they've been wiped out by rock slides, so be careful. If you're interested in the view, I would recommend just doing the first mile, because you'll see pretty much all you would see in that mile. Make sure to do the detour to the falls!

1 month ago

3 months ago

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wednesday, July 31, 2013