Explore the most popular forest 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.

My friends and I hiked this for a multi-day camping trip in April '16. This was the first time I had ever been on an overnight hike. It was grueling at times and I would NOT recommend it for a first timer who is out of shape. The only reason I did fine on this hike was that I upped my fitness level a little in the weeks prior to the hike (simply by going for daily long walks). The one member of our party who hadn't hiked in a long time and who was totally out of shape had a really, really tough time. There is a lot of up and down, at times pretty steep, and you hit the ups pretty early in the hike. It being my first hike, I couldn't conceive of how hard that would be with a 50+ pound pack!

Having said that, it was a spectacular hike. It was raining most of the time, which we expected, but it was mainly a constant drizzle/mist which made the experience and the views really, really nice. The rain caused a couple of minor hazards, but nothing serious (just have to watch you footing more carefully). Had it been dry and warm, it would have been exponentially harder. Whenever they open this up again, if this is your first overnight hike, I would recommend going in late April (that's when we went) or early May for cooler temps and the chance for some rain (yes, personally, I prefer a little precip on this kind of hike). Also, if your level of fitness is low or non-existent, I'd at least do some daily light cardio for 2-3 weeks prior to your trip.

Again, this is a spectacular hike and I found it to be very rewarding to complete, on a personal level. Most of our party were experienced hikers, most of whom had done this hike before. The hot springs can be a nice reward, even though most of my party was more excited about that than I was, but I think it's worth a soak after such a long hike. The trail was rather busy, which surprised me for such a long hike, but I actually liked seeing and talking to so many folks on such a lengthy and difficult hike. Somehow, I found that that camaraderie made the hike easier (and that's coming from someone who is typically anti-social).

This is a long and at times grueling hike. But it is also beautiful and rewarding and is well worth the effort. I'd definitely do it again and hope to someday.

backpacking
7 days ago

We started at Vincente Trailhead and walked counter clockwise. The diversity of terrain, plants and views is huge.

Early May there was lots of water at Vincente Flat, Goat Camp and Trail Spring.

Shortly before Stone Ridge Trail there were four options of trails. Take the second right if you want to make it to Goat Camp. That’s the right way of Stone Ridge Trail to come to Goat Camp and water.

We added a hike to Surprise Falls. Very steep and a 3 mile walk through the river. Only with water shoes recommended.

We started at Vincente Trailhead and walked a counter clockwise loop to the fall. 20 miles, 2 days. The diversity of terrain, plants and views is huge. Redwoods, oaks, blooming Yuccas, meadows, creeks, views, views, views.

Early May there was lots of water at Vincente Flat, Goat Camp, Ojito Camp and Trail Spring.

Shortly before Stone Ridge Trail there were four options of trails. Take the second right. That’s the right way of Stone Ridge Trail to come to Goat Camp and the next water. We camped on Gamboa Trail at the entrance to the downhill walk to Ojito Camp. After 8 hours we avoided the climbing with the backpacks and wanted the views to the ocean. One tent-side is there. Next day we just took water bottles and some food with us to hike to the fall. It’s strenuous. You really need water shoes for the 2 miles through a river. With the dogs and no rope for us no chance to climb down the fall, but a bath on top was possible.

After that river hike the climbing to Cone Peak hurt, but all in all every single pain was absolutely worth it.

hiking
14 days ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Start by crossing knee deep gently flowing river. Water felt great. Took clockwise route to get all the uphills out of the way early. Had a nice breeze and the ascension grade seemed steady but fair with flat sections to catch your breath. Beautiful redwood forest at the top with nice views on all sides. Coastal portion is overgrown but beautiful and full of color from flowers and plants. Can mostly avoid the thorns but tread lightly on the way down. Reminds me of coastal hikes I've done at Pt Reyes. So refreshing and highly recommended. Not many people early on a Saturday, mainly people coming to beach

on Bluff Trail Loop

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing hike! Went clock-wise as many suggested. The uphill portion was tough, but worth it with all the breathtaking views. Nice conditioning! Took us a little over 4 hours, but we stopped several times for pictures and lunch. Encountered a few people on the trail (on a Saturday) but for the majority of the time we had the trail to ourselves. Would highly recommend this trail! Bring a jacket for the top.

Great trail. Gorgeous views in spring. Be prepared to get your feet soaked. Rocks on the creeks can be slippery too. All worth it though.

Took the inland loop up. Rolling uphill after another uphill and yet another uphill. Then down along the coast with gorgeous views. Trail a bit overgrown on the downward and coastal side. Watch out for poison oak everywhere. A nice long hike.

hiking
26 days ago

I did this hike while it was closed. When you first get onto the trail, stay close to the river, and don't go up the stairs that are being worked on. Eventually you'll veer to the right side of the river. It's quite a hike up (mile or so) until you reach the loop. Once you reach the loop there are numerous sections where trees are fallen, nothing that you can't get through though. I went clockwise on the loop, not to bad. There was one section that was very bad where I had to climb up the side of the mountain and back down which was VERY steep. I basically slid down. That was the worst part of the hike. The views were outstanding - although when we went it was foggy. Rivers, bridges, redwoods, ocean views, incredible tree views. Overall a great hike. And m GF didn't kill me!

Hiked from Nacimiento-Fergusson rd, as Coast Ridge rd is still closed, making it about 16 miles round trip if you believe the signs. The views are fantastic and despite the road being closed, the road and trail were well maintained. Distance aside (12 of the 16 miles), the road to the trailhead is flat and easy. Last mile on the trail is all switchbacks with lots of exposure, which makes the shade at the fire lookout up top, coupled with some amazing panoramic views, feel euphoric. Glad to have been here to celebrate earth day.

Gorgeous. we are visiting Big Sur with three kids (2,13,15) and we all loved it. one of the best if not the best hikes we've done here. i strongly recomend it to families. not too hard for kids; not too long but beautiful all the way, all along the creek with the noise of the water and the waterfall at the end as the reward (out and back trail). just note that you have to cross the creek a coiple of times through rocks and longs but lots of fun if your kids like the adventure type of challenge!

Obsessed with this trail! Great for kids, adventure through rock hopping, and combine the Limekilns for a really fun trip.

Epic bucket list hike.... went out with a bang! Always wanted to do an overnight hiking trip before my big 5-0 .... trail was no easy task (for me) but with the help of my daughter it was a success..... Not so much for one of our team mates who fell about 30ft down a revine and had to be airlifted out after my daughter was able to rescue her enough to get her back on the trail. Hats off #calfire #chp and the medical team.
I will definitely be back.

A great short hike with a beautiful view of the valley at the top!

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.

trail running
1 month ago

Morning trail run before exploring the rest of Big Sur. Bummed that the Pfeiffer waterfall trail was closed but easy run with a view worthy of the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

Did the trail clockwise, however agree with Chris Lingle's comment below about both ways having advantages and disadvantages. Clockwise you are going downhill on uneven paths and uphill on stable ground, but it was nice to get the brutal uphill portion out of the way on the first half of the loop. Would recommend wearing something you don't mind getting wet while treading through waist/thigh high water, hiking boots and lots of water+sunscreen! Very beautiful hike! Took us closer to 5 hours, kept getting distracted by nature!!

Is this hike back open yet ! =))

Great place. Easy quick hike. Waterfall was roarin after the rains. Tied a line to a tree across falls at the top n zip lined to the middle. Epic view. Can also climb on the top of the boulder in middle of water. There's a lil cave under that rock as well.

Beautiful trail with a waterfall at the end. Have to go across the creek a couple times but there are rocks and logs. Nothing too hard!

Nice and easy stroll uphill

Fun trail with a lot of creek and rock hopping

My gf and I took this trail far back where there is not much of a trail. You cross over multiple fallen trees and rock hop your way to gorgeous waterfalls and a bunch of Banana Slugs back there. If you push far back it gets sketchy but worth it each push further back. We hit an area with a bunch of fallen trees, one going across and another across that one. Had to scuttle across and under the other fallen tree, looked uncrossable at first with a 20 ft drop on both sides. Fun!

Nice trail. Steep in some spots. can be slick after it rains. Nice views of the valley and out to the ocean.

This trail is easy to find and has plenty of parking right off HWY 1. The trail starts off with the waterfall only 200 yds from the parking lot. Next, switch backs take you up 800' revealing wild flowers and rock outcroppings. About a mile into the hike, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a mountain lion. Luckily it wasn't looking for dinner or a fight, and just warned us with a pronounced growl. We took a hint and turned around. I am looking forward to going back to complete the hike without interruption.

Great hike for day hikers and overnight hikers. Plenty of water there, easy drive from SLO

Beautiful hike!!! Well worth the drive! Can’t wait to go back! Bring a towel to dry off your feet at the beginning of the trail (or bring water shoes).

hiking
2 months ago

Side loop on Spring Trail takes you down to ocean near junction of Bluff Trail and Panorama Trail. Last bit of Spring Trail involves fun scrambling over tangle of driftwood logs, before reaching a very secluded beach tucked in between two headlands. Good for lunch or a snack. We were unfortunately a bit rushed to finish entire loop, which we did in counter-clockwise direction. Although others recommend clockwise, I'm not sure. It's often the downhills that can cause problems, and clockwise you are going downhill on more loose rock and rutted paths, while on the other it is essentially a more continuously sloped road. Advantages and disadvantages either well, but great views in all directions. Entire loop, including lunch on the Spring Trail loop was around 3 hours 15 minutes.

I did this hike with a group of friends of varying backpacking experience back in 2011 when we were all juniors in high school. This may have been at the peak of its popularity before the fires, and as luck would have it, the springs were VERY crowded, and they are all very small and intimate. It was a really great bonding experience, and for the less outdoorsy friends, it really opened their eyes to the magic of getting somewhere worthwhile on your own two feet. Unexpectedly gnarly up and down the entire way; my ankles were done by the time we got to camp! You can hike out in two days if you need by sleeping at a camp that is about halfway. Definitely a formative experience for me as an outdoors lover. However, I’ll admit looking back that this is one of the less impressive and beautiful hikes in the area of Big Sur. While this trail is being fixed up, I encourage you to explore more of the Ventana and Silver Peak Wildernesses! Who knows, maybe more natural hot water is hiding out there... Remember to practice LEAVE NO TRACE principles! Hike prepared!

hiking
3 months ago

Go Clockwise if you want to get the hard part out of the way. Strenuous inclines but well worth the effort. You won’t be disappointed at the views of the crashing waves. Bring snacks and water to enjoy along the way!

hiking
3 months ago

The views are amazing. I did it clockwise and thankful I read the review prior. A must do hike if in the Monterey area.

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