Tanbark Trail and Tin House

HARD 143 reviews

Tanbark Trail and Tin House is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Big Sur, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 6.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,024 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A strenuous loop into the hills above Big Sur with amazing views along the coast as far as the eye can see. This tough climb away from Hwy1 will reward you with breathtaking views along the Big Sur coastline as far as the eye can see. The trail starts through redwood and oak forests on the side of a creek and almost exclusively climbs up to the Tin House where the trees clear and leave you with an unrestricted view across the canyon and down to the shoreline below.

Gorgeous views! 10/10 I clocked in at 7.1 miles rt. The tin house itself is not spectacular, but the views of the ocean when you get to the top are well worth the trek. The first mile through the forest feels like you’re in a fairy tale.. then the next few miles kick your butt. Would definitely do this hike again.

hiking
15 days ago

Great day hike! Wide clear trail.

hiking
20 days ago

This was a great trail! Gradual incline was steep but the view was worth it!

hiking
22 days ago

The first few miles of the hike are challenging, but there’s some stunningly gorgeous views. It’s a steep grade up, and a steep grade down, but overall, it was a truly magical trail. I did NOT like having to walk on the highway at the end. There’s virtually NO shoulder: There’s a steep cliff on your left side, and oncoming traffic zipping around the switchbacks to your right. Not entirely safe, so be very mindful at that part!

hiking
2 months ago

The only things I would change would be to peak at the top of the ridgeline and then descend, and the road walking. I would prefer to walk back on a trail. Stunning views along the way both with the steep elevation and creek and ocean views.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail offers Everything: forest, ocean views, birds... It is not crowded at all. The first 3 miles of the hike, I did not see anyone. It is not technical but there will be steep hills for sure. Regardless it was BEAUTIFUL And if you have time you should totally do this! One thing to pay attention if you plan to do the loop, a part of the loop is on Highway 1. As you already know Highway 1 does not have much shoulder in this area. So that part gets tricky and little not safe... just be mindful of that.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

This trail was a great challenge. I enjoyed it. Started the trail at around 9:30am and the weather was perfect at that time. We had the shade starting all the way up, so that was ideal. Brace yourself at the start because its nothing but steep hiking straight on and off for at least an hour, but definitely worth it. The view way up high was beautiful, the ocean is so vast and ahh inspiring.

hiking
3 months ago

The hike up Tan Bark trail was lovely. Steep, yes, but lovely and shaded. The Tin House should be called the Tetanus House. There is nothing grand to see other than the view on the front side after you pick your way through rusted metal and broken glass to get to the front. Its got a cool history, but is just rusty, dangerous junk now. If you take the loop down the fire road and hike down Highway 1, my watch clocked in at 7 miles. The last bit on the highway is slightly unnerving although there is mostly enough room if you hop over the guard rail and use the trail beaten down by others. We probably would have hiked back down Tan Bark Trail if we had known there wasn't a good shoulder to walk down. Also, no shade on the fire road or highway. In all a nice hike. I would do it again.

hiking
bugs
over grown
3 months ago

This trail offered beautiful views and the majority of it was shaded by astonishing trees. However if you go all the way to the tin house then take the highway trail down or leaves you about a mile away from the trail head. I walked along highway 1 heading north and it was fine, but that brought it down from a 5 to a 4 star trail. I would recommend bug spray because the first mile is following a creek and there are a lot of bugs. As well as some shoes with good traction as it is rather muddy and slippery. Overall a good trail and would do it again!

hiking
3 months ago

Steep incline at the start but it's very shaded. Not an easy hike but the beautiful views and being alongside the redwoods make it well worth the hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Very great! Shade when you need it and sun as well. Also, when you beg to the tin house. Jump down and go to right before the edge... it’s the whole reason you do the hike!! Also, if you want to do the whole loop and park at the beginning , it takes about 20 minutes to walk along hw 1. Stay close to the water side .. there also will be like 3 places where you need to be careful and go on the other side of the railing Or run fast !! Worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely beautiful trail for anyone looking for a challenge. Starts with a picturesque but steep hike through a redwood canopy that gradually opens up a bit as the foliage changes with some gorgeous views along the way. The panoramic view of the ocean and cliffs at the peak of the trail is the cherry on top. It’s basically 4 miles straight up so be sure to bring layers and plenty of water. The day we did it was easily 95* Fahrenheit and it was absolutely scorching in the sun. The tin house is a great place to stop for a break and a snack. Heading back down the fire trail is a lot easier but still a bit tough on the knees with sore legs. We didn’t experience any ticks but there is a bit of poison oak and some obstacles on the trail like fallen trees, which are fun to climb across as long as you’re physically able. Overall an epic hike and I can’t wait to do it again!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Good amount of shade. Watch out it’s longer than what the app says by a few miles. Did the trail as an out and back to the Tin House. If you do the loop I believe you have to walk back up hwy 1, but not entirely sure...

hiking
4 months ago

I definitely recommend. Some poison oak on tan bark trail. It’s relatively easy to avoid or for a shorter out and back, just use the fire road.

Decent outing. If you do it as a loop make sure you have another car at the pickup point.

hiking
5 months ago

Lovely shade of Red Wood giants make this uphill climb seem moderate. Tin house patio a perfect spot for lunch— cheaper than Ventana with same vast ocean views! Other hikers on trail warned of doing entire loop down through tick-infested meadows and ending with the Route One hike back so we doubled back. Bug repellent a must, too. Note massive Red Wood is fallen and split and blocking trail on impassible section of deep canyon; requires you scoot along tree to keep on trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Super sous les arbres a l’ombre une grande partie de la montée qui est sérieuse. aprés la tinhouse on esr redescendu par le même chemin

hiking
5 months ago

It was a bit of a chuff up from Highway 1 on a hot afternoon. We took a wrong turn at McLaughlin Grove, but soon realised our mistake. The redwoods were fantastic and the views not bad either. We saw a lot of interesting wildlife, including a king snake. We were very pleased all round when we got back to the car

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike for all of those lovers of wildflowers and amazing views. Trail well maintained.

hiking
6 months ago

On July 18, this trail was stunning. Steep in the beginning through redwood cathedrals it opens up to wildflowers and amazing views. Very well maintained with little poison oak or ticks on the trail. The walk back on Rte 1 was not that bad. Just incredible for this jaded east coaster.

hiking
6 months ago

BEAUTIFUL trail that offers a lot of diversity in scenery. Definitely strenuous!! We took the loop and ended up on the highway which was definitely sketchy. The only saving grace was that it was a short trek on the 1. The hike back on the fire road is beautiful though because it offers expansive views of the coast, so I'd say it's worth it!!! Also the tin house at the top was super cool and weird. The only downside to this trail and season is the ticks!! Found many on me and my dog! Be prepared with bug spray.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail is amazing, starting out in the canyon among a beautiful creek. Most of the trail is shaded and the tin house was not at all what we expected. Be surprised!

hiking
6 months ago

so awesome! the views and so many flowers!!!

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail. Absolutely recommend it. My favorite so far. Tan Bark is very strenuous but well worth it. Traverses through towering ancient Redwoods up the side of a mountain. It gets steep and very narrow at times, and at one point you have to climb across a fallen tree to get to the other side of the trail. Ticks galore, so spray yourself before. Very cool once you make it to the Tin House, which is a great spot to rest and have lunch. Hiking back along Highway 1 is scary, and very dangerous. If you have children, hike back the way you came!

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

It’s open! Absolutely beautiful, but would definitely recommend just doing an out and back starting from the north trailhead. The tin house trail is FULL of ticks and it’s not as picturesque. Also an out and back would avoid the trek back using the highway which was super sketch.

hiking
Sun Jan 13 2019

Lovely waterfalls and mushrooms everywhere. It must be lady bug mating season or something because we also saw thousands of lady bugs and many banana slugs as well.

hiking
Sun Jul 08 2018

Did this trail several years ago while stationed in the central valley of California. It was a very strenuous hike for us (4 adults and 4 children under the age of 7) Though we all made it out unscathed. It took us much longer than we anticipated. The Tin House itself was overly vandalized with lots of broken glass and grafitti, but cool. BUT the views from up there were AMAZING, definitely worth the steep mostly straight uphill climb to get there. We could see HWY 1 and miles of coastline, even saw some sea critters playing in the water below. The view was so mesmerizing we hung out there much too long, saw the better part of the sunset from in the clouds!! Because nightfall was fastly approaching we decided to take the logging road back but still found ourselves hiking down part of the mountain in the dark. We emerged on HWY 1 without any signage or sense of direction due to the dark. HWY 1 can be VERY busy, so be careful. We made our way back to our car and eventually back home. It was an amazing experience albeit a rough one! I see that the trail is currently closed, I am assuming due to trail maintenance, the trail was in rough shape when we trekked it, with rebar stobs, broken steps and places where the trail bed had just fallen away. Should it open back up, I would highly recommend this trail to experienced hikers.

hiking
Wed Apr 04 2018

nice trail, first part along Creek is beautiful, then steady incline for a good workout. The trail is quite overgrown in parts, some bigger fallen trees are blocking the trail here and there. Unfortunately the coastal fog blocked the ocean views, that at a clearer days would have been more rewarding. the tin house is in my opinion not worth seeing. You will have to hike along Hwy1 for a little to get back to the entrance. By the way. I have never seen that many ticks in my live, as on the last third of the trail. I had to shake them off my pants every few hundred feet.

Tue Dec 06 2016

Gorgeous Coastal views. This Trail is very steep in some areas, and there is a MASSIVE fallen tree on on a narrow part of the trail near Swiss Camp. Make sure, if headed to the Tin House, you stay right at the fork once you've reached your "Peak" and you'll be headed to the access road. If you make a left at the sign pointing Left and higher you will miss your exit, and be on your way to Norman House. I don't personally recommend making the trip out to Norman, Tin House is pretty cool. The House is completely gutted with a fallen roof in a rear area of the house. WATCH OUT FOR GLASS AND SHARP EDGES, as the entire structure is Rusted. In the backyard there are views of the coastline in both directions. It's awesome. The access road has amazing views as well!

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