Explore the most popular beach trails near Big Sur with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gorgeous

hiking
6 days 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

hiking
13 days 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.

Not really a hike and personally think the view is SLIGHTLY over rated.

hiking
15 days 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.

hiking
18 days 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.

Paradise by the seashore. One of the most picturesque beach hikes I’ve ever done. Partington Canyon and cove was named for the Pioneer family who settled in the area in 1874. A moderate hike down to the cove through a short mountain tunnel and you find yourself in a late 19th Century “dog cove” where supplies were shipped and off loaded from the sea. There’s a comfy bench to take in the stunning views. You can still see the remnants of the wood and steel apparatus used to off-load supplies. If you take the other path (to the right) you will arrive at a beautiful rocky shore. We sat and watched sea otters frolicking in the water before us. Could have spent a whole day in this area. It’s not a long hike but the view is invigorating and inspiring. Not to be missed.

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
21 days 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.

The beach is a beautiful crescent, very scenic, and seeing the very small waterfall splashing directly onto the beach is an unusual sight. But on the downside, you can’t actually get down to the beach to see it up close, and it’s incredibly crowded (we went in late July). The view of the beach from the road is actually better than from the trail, because half of the trail was closed off due to instability of cliff face. There is a huge logjam of people at the place where the trail is closed. The walk from trailhead to turnaround is less than 10 min. Don’t even bother with the day use parking, it’s always full. There is ample parking on road, but make sure you don’t cross the white line at side of lane. Two rangers were out giving tickets to any car that was parked over the line. Access the trailhead from the entrance to day use parking. You cross under the road through a short tunnel. Note that there is no cell service in Big Sur so download local maps in advance.

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
25 days 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.

Loved this hike!! Once you hike down the switchback You can go right and sit on the rocks by the beach and listen to the waves crash. You can go left and walking along the creek to a small waterfall. Or you can go straight and though the wooden tunnel (which is super rad!) and check out the beautiful cove. It’s beautiful and worth the trip. Be careful, poison oak is everywhere so I would recommend long pants.
Going back up, the hill is steep but not too long, that’s the only “challenging” park of the hike.

It’s not a hike, more like a walk but my goodness is it beautiful and worth the stop!

One of my least favorite stops in Big Sur. Not a bad thing but just not anything too memorable the best part of the beach was the stairs. There was no sand dollars to be found at low tide besides a couple of broken ones. The rocks were ok, the caves were pretty. The bathrooms are gross.. the lady collecting the money was very sweet

Too crowded, very short and not an amazing view. Not very challenging (rather easy than moderate).

hiking
30 days ago

Great hike - epic! I didn’t read the reviews here prior to departing and hiked bluffs trail to ridge trail. Bluff trail has plants on both sides 5 feet tall at times and the uphills were steep. We parked on the street.

hiking
1 month ago

great hike as all others have said. Hard going up the Ridge Trail for moderate hikers. Saw awesome falcon's fighting in the air for food, deer and their babies and beautiful ocean vistas. Beautiful spread of wildflowers- Trail easy to follow... lots of erosion on Panorama trail with a "fence" of poison oak. In fact, poison oak was doing very well on most of the trail. Best to keep appendages covered. bring plenty of water and wear good shoes

It’s a favorite stop in Big Sur for me; three different areas for the hike down!

Don’t forget the forest area, it’s awesome too!

So much fun! Rangers will likely advise you to go the bluff trails way, but I highly suggest going the ridge trail clockwise direction if you plan on doing the whole loop. That way you get the hardest inclines out of the way and have the most ocean views on the way down. And you can head down the spring trail for easy beach access and one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to in big sur on your way back. Beautiful trail and not too hard either :)

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! I recommend starting on the ridge trail and finishing on the bluff trail to get the steep part out of the way first. The views were awesome!

hiking
1 month ago

I agree with the last review, it’s not really a hike but a walk on the beach. That said, it’s absolutely worth a stop. There are patches of purple sand and a rock with a hole in it (which is a pretty famous sunset photography spot, at the right time of year). There was a pool of water higher in the sand, popular with younger kids. We saw lots of ocean swimmers and one surfer.

Great views of the coast! Super easy walk! Loved it! (Definitely not a hike)

Easy walk to the beach and spectacular beach yet super super windy

Easy trail with plenty of shade. Stay on the trail, otherwise you will run into a lot of poison oak.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike! Overall, found this to be a physically challenging trail – steep ups and downs, some washed out areas, lots of overgrowth and poison oak. Absolutely beautiful views and totally worth it. We went clockwise and very much enjoyed the amazing views on the back half.

Starting out, there was a good bit of confusion in the parking lot, as the Beach Trail is closed and the Creamery Meadows trail head is not apparent from the lot. There were a few groups milling around until we spotted a small "hiking guy" sign with an arrow near the shack (there was no ranger when we got there). Duh! It's down the access road, to the right as you exit past the ranger shack on foot.

As someone mentioned, there are planks over the river, so no issue there now. Down the Creamery Trail, turned left onto the Ridge Trail (to go clockwise) and up a steep incline. Ridge Trail in general was open and smooth sailing in terms of being washed out or difficult to navigate. Very warm starting out, then windy at the top – and gorgeous! As soon as you start down on the Panorama Trail you are in areas of overgrowth and lots of position oak. Long pants a must, and watch your arms! Some steep parts a bit tough to navigate. Views are totally worth it. Flattens out as you come onto the Bluff Trail and then head towards the beach. The end of the Bluff Trail is closed, so you have to jag back over to the end of the Ridge Trail and come out again on the Creamery Trail. Sounds complicated but it’s not. We went left on Creamery – away from the parking lot and down to the beach - and enjoyed a recovery meal on the beach. Awesome time!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike by the ocean. Especially on a sunny day. They put a FOOTBRIDGE over the stream!! yea! so no more walking thru ankle deep water. Got there about 8:30 on a Saturday (6/30) and practically had the place to myself. I went counterclockwise on the bluff trail based on the ranger’s suggestion that morning. It is overgrown in parts but not really that bad. It is a good idea to wear long pants tho due to the poison oak. Nice ocean views up to the panoramic trail. Got pretty windy due to the fog coming in so a light weight wind jacket is recommended. Its up from there but not too bad or steep, but glad I did it this way as it was easier on my knees.
Once you get to the Ridge trail its like another world. Its a wide tree covered trail. A nice difference compared to the narrow path you just left. Easy hike mostly down hill the 4 miles back.
From the lot it was a little over 9 miles 1200 feet of accumulated elevation and took me 3 hours.
Bathrooms at the parking lot.

This trail was perfect for a small trip with much to see. It has a wonderful coastal view at two lookout points as well as a small waterfall.

Short walk down to a nice cove.

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