Explore the most popular birding 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.

Nice walk. A flat smooth trail with lots of shade. Opened up to a beautiful beach which was not overcrowded at all. Nice little hike to end our day with the dogs.

backpacking
8 days ago

Fantastic trail. Went from H1 to Cone Peak Summit in a day. It was about 12 miles all uphill. Make sure to get water at the first camp because the spring on the San Antonio trail is dry and very overgrown as of October 13, 2018. Great views all the way. I camped on the Firewatch station with my one person ten, the station helped reduced the amount of wind. Don't sleep without a tent, years of people leaving their food/ trash up there has caused a rat problem at night. Other then that I cant wait to go back.

Very easy, smooth, wide, and shaded trail. The poison oak was very red this week. The season must be coming to an end. Oak trees are awesome, and some very large, The beach was covered with drift wood. When the waves were going back into the sea, they were able to move some of the rocks at the waters edge. You could hear the rocks bumping into each other, I have never heard this before and it was really interesting. The parking lock charges ten dollars, to park but I saw a number of cars parked on the side of the road, Wild flowers were still in bloom. Very nine hike.

Did this trail as my first backpacking trip with 5 friends who also were first or 2nd timers. It was a tough trail due to almost 2,000ft incline right from the trailhead. Not being used to heavy packs made it a long arduous task. It was still fun though and amazing views of Big Sur Wilderness! After the initial mountain climb it levels out to Vicente flat redwood creek basin. The way back was nice and easy seems like the water is flowing year round in a few places nearby and along the trails. Stop and fill up if You pass water!

Trail to the falls was not accessible at this time

Scenery: 3.5
Views: 4.5
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Go around end of May. Amazing wild flowers. You cant hike down Deangulo because its too overgrown
Scenery: 3.5
Views: 4.5
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 1
Shade: 1


My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
16 days ago

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 2
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Did this hike with two and four year old children. Beautiful beach and gorgeous coastline await you after hiking through a shaded trail.

hiking
17 days ago

Scenery: 3
Views: 3.5
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Solo hiked on Sep 29 2018.
This is certainly a hard one and NOT recommended for anyone without hiking experience and body strength to hike 20 miles (the map is off by almost 8 miles if you take the full loop). The trail is strait uphill with great view over the ocean and the surrounding mountains.
I did this as a day hike but certainly wouldn’t recommend it. Best would be to camp at one of the campsites (Trail spring camp or the Goad Camp) and hike the day after and make sure to get a chance to see the amazing sky at night.
I camped the night before and after at Limekiln campsite which is a perfect location to start/end this trail. If you take the Limekiln trail from the campsite you can branches off and head to Alvin Trail (it is marked as closed but it was open when I was there) which goes uphill and then merges into the Twin Peak trail.
Left around 7:30 am and took the Twin peak trail and then went to the Cone peak and came down from the Cone peak trail and got back by 6:30 pm. I’m a fast hiker and usually walk faster than an average person, made 4-5 stops to eat and refresh (2 hour combined)so count that in your calculations.
The first half loop to Twin Peak was mostly exposed but the other half was mostly covered. Make sure to take enough water (I took 4.5 Litters which was a bit extra but better to be safe).
The trail is well maintained but some areas were very bushy and tricky to get through, also be careful with poisonous oaks as they are abundant in the area and this trail. The trail from Twin Peak to Cone peak was a bit rocky and I felt lost as it really don’t look much like a trail for 0.1 miles.
I met one person on this hike and had lunch at the Cone Peak and head down at 2:00 pm but he was planning to camp there for the night. Took the Twin Peak trail to go back which turned to be much longer than what I expected.
On my way back looked at Trail Spring camp which seem to be big enough for a group of 6 people but no water although there seemed to be a creek bed which was dry at the time I was there. The Goat camp looked a lot bigger and possibly could fit up to 15 people and had water source nearby.
Beautiful hike but needs experience and love for hiking, highly recommended for 2 days backpacking.

Wish fixing this trail was a priority. It is really a gem and I want to take my kids back.

Loved this easy trail with fun river crossings! I used poles while crossing the rivers and it was a huge help!

Easy walk to a beautiful beach!

hiking
27 days ago

Waterfalls path is closed. “Moderate” walk/hike is not worth the “view” at the top. You’ll see the best redwoods at the bottom.

Since my kids were small we come here at least once a year and anytime we are coming through the area. This is a great hike for small kids. It is easy short but offer rock hopping and enough scrambling to make it fun. Climb to the top of the falls if you can!

hiking
1 month ago

Tough!

Foolishly I left a little too late and the sun was beating on me. For most of the trail, it was in direct sunlight with a few clusters of trees desperately needed for shade.

There were one or two places where the trail completely gave out, need to manage a balance beam step or two during this.

Also there was one section early on that had a fork, maybe 10-15 minutes in. I went right since that was the direction with a steeper incline.

Top 3/4 near the summit is overgrown, lots of pokes and scratches.

More easy than moderate. Absolutely beautiful and very shady.

hiking
1 month 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!

nature trips
1 month ago

Nice easy kid friendly hike to the beach. Kids will specially enjoy the foot bridge that comes at the start of the hike. Beach is scenic but was very windy.

Decent trail with great view at the top. A few benches scattered near the top to sit and appreciate the view.

Overall a good short hike, but nothing that makes it stand out or special. It's close to the highway so you can hear cars entire time, plus the trail itself is heavily trafficked. The views were nice at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

Good, short workout with beautiful view of mountains and ocean at top. Trail is heavily used and worn with many fellow walkers/runners/hikers even on weekday. Close to CA-1 and civilization so don't get that away-from-it-all feeling.

hiking
1 month ago

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

Great views. This time of year they are a bit harder to see due to the all day lingering of the marine layer, which is normal for this time of year. Come in the spring months and you get better views, the marine layer burns off and the water along the coast is turquoise as a result of the sun getting to it.. If you camp at Vicente Flats, there is water up or down that creek bed, just follow it either way for about 10 mins and you will find running water.
Great hike. I'll be coming back in the spring.

Only negative is there are a lot of people crapping, not burying their crap an toilet paper or packing packing the tp out.... just tossing it in the shrubbery.... that was not very scenic. Bury your crap and pack out your trash!

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

Gorgeous

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