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.

hiking
11 hours 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

WE started out on this hike on a Saturday in mid August so it was very crowed with people. I can deal with that but what caused us to abort the hike was the noise from both the highway below and a construction site nearby. The hike itself is nice but there are better options in the area even on the weekend

Agree with Chris S. Did this when it was closed today. Had to literally crawl through branches at some points but was doable (I'm 6ft and was wearing a backpack). Very much worth the scratches.

My friend and I did this hike in mid-August and were not prepared. Normally rangers/guides overestimate heat and difficulty, but that was not the case here. Started at 12:30pm with about 1.5L of water between the two of us, and we basically were fried by the time we reached the false summit. The overgrown nature of the trail and the heat made the hike so brutal (my friend was showing signs of heat exhaustion) it was hard to enjoy the views. I'm sure in another season and with proper preparation, this would have been a really cool hike, but as a 23-year-old experienced hiker (for my age) and former college endurance athlete, I had a tough time. Bring enough water, start in the morning, and really take a close look at how sure-footed you are before attempting this hike.

Awesome hike..

hiking
7 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.

This is a tough little hike with spectacular views. Most hikes will give you glimpses of the views along the way but this baby saves all her beauty until the very end and it is grand.

hiking
9 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.

Difficult trail. The trail gets really sketchy around the 2.5 mile marker but the views are beautiful. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water - you'll be in the direct Eastern sun the majority of the time. Really be prepared for a hard climb and feel good in your footing. The trail gets very narrow and overgrown, and in some places there almost isn't a trail at all. Overall it's a great physical challenge, just make sure you're prepared!

hiking
12 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.

Really beautiful hike. Good workout and nice views at the top!

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
15 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.

hiking
15 days ago

This is a very scenic short trail system suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. The trail requires scrambling over and under logs in a few places and crosses a steam multiple times with makeshift log and stone crossing points. We went at end of July and water was low enough that you could cross without getting feet wet. The trail is through second growth redwood forest and is shaded and very cool the entire time. Great for a break on a hot day. The waterfall is worth seeing, though not spectacular. The abandoned lime kiln is cool. Our three children 12, 14, and 22 enjoyed it and our eldest did a ton of off trail scrambling on the rocks and fallen logs. Trailhead is at the far end of camping area, walk past everyone, there are a small number of day use parking spaces for $10 fee. If it’s full there is parking on side of road above. At the opposite end of camping area there is a small sand beach and rocky area where the creek empties into the ocean. Cross a wooden bridge and walk under the bridge. That is also super cool and worth a visit. The water is freezing but nice to splash around. Bring trunks and water shoes.

backpacking
16 days ago

Super overgrown trail. Did this with two other people... we are shocked that none of us have poison oak or ivy as we had to dive through quite a few of those bushes to stay on the trail. Parts of the trail are washed out, be careful. Pack lots of water if you’re doing this in the summer months. I had a water filter and thankfully we came across one river that was still flowing. Vincente flat campground is completely dry right now and tons of flys and bugs. Just be cautious if you pick this trail, and be prepared.

Falls are closed

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.

Did this cool little hike from Fernwood Resort

hiking
19 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.

Great hike. The redwoods are breathtaking! It’s very shaded, perfect in the summer heat. Go to the 100 foot waterfall, you have to cross the creek a few times but that’s the fun part. Then go check out the Kilns, they’re really interesting and make for beautiful photos.
Be careful, there is poison oak everywhere.
Also, There’s NO (zero) cell service anywhere in Big Sur.

Beautiful dense trees once you finally arrive at Vicente flats. There is no water or signs to let you know you have arrived at Vicente flats. We kind of lost the trail for come peak when we went looking for a place to set up camp in Vicente flats.

We headed up on a Friday at 12:17 and was hit with lots of sun. The hike up could of been planned a lot better but, the views were just beautiful and took our mind off of the uphill hike with our 35lb packs for our age and circumstances I think we did just fine. Took us about 4hrs to reach Vicente flats.

We hit Espinoza camp first and next was the creek. We were so was so happy to find the small creek along the way, it was very refreshing.

When we arrived at Vicente flats about 3 miles up from the creek there wasn’t anyone there besides 1 small group, the next day heading out so many backpackers passed us. Some looked exhausted and not prepared and still had at least 4 Miles to go. I hope they all did well. Please bring plenty of water and bug repellent for those pesky flies!!!

Lots of poison oak everywhere so wear long pants or be like me and get it on your legs, thanks goodness I didn’t have a - bad reaction besides rashes.

Go do yourself a favor and get yourself some hiking poles, they def made the difference and kept me steady on those narrow trails with my heavy pack on.

For the girl we saw hiking by herself with the satchel & basic backpack, you are my hero!! Looks like she hiked all over that moutain by herself! Way to go!!!

Oh one more thing - you can park at the bottoms of trail head we had no problem

Good loop

Nice hike, we went CCW which was steep at times going up.

The walk took us a little over 1 hour. It's rather easy than moderate we think (and we're beginning hikers). The view at the top is not amazing, but overall we liked the hike.

hiking
24 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.

Super fun and definitely worth the view! Tougher than it seems but if you’re an active person you won’t have problems

hiking
24 days 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

We entered Coast Rd just north of the Andrew Molera State Park. There is no gate there. We drove in about 7 miles and then turned around because we weren’t sure if the exit would be gated. It was a great opportunity to go off reading.

lots of climbing over branches and stream crossings. Absolutely gorgeous. my favorite things: redwoods, running water and fog

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 :)

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