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.

great trail

*As of August 10th, 2018 there was no water at the falls or next to the second Ojitos camp

Started at the coast in Limekiln State Park and followed the Twin Peak/Cone Peak Loop. Camped at the first Ojitos Camp which was definitely an adventure to get down. Poison oak everywhere, but never really that hard to get along the path without touching it. ~10-15 trees to climb over or under. Campground could fit up to 2-3 tents optimistically but a nice place to stay the night and no one around. Water disappears and reappears as you make your way to the falls along the creek bed (perhaps the coolest part of the hike), but falls were completely dry. It wasn’t too hard to get to the base of them (path off to the left), but we decided not to continue onwards.

Flies were prevalent anytime there was light in the sky, but after the sunset they disappeared almost immediately and they didn’t really bite, just wanted to climb up your nose. Mosquitos around only near twilight and early morning. Would definitely do again to check out the waterfall in the spring.

hiking
5 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

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.

hiking
12 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.

hiking
14 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
17 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.

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
20 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
20 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
21 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.

hiking
24 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.

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
29 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
29 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

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 :)

backpacking
1 month ago

Spectacular views, wildflowers, very well maintained trails. I backpacked for 3 days and did about 10 miles a day. I parked on Highway 1 across from Kirk Creek campground and backpacked to Vicente flats on night 1. Great, big open camping areas under the redwoods with stone rings for fires. Day two I stayed at Ojito camp. Don’t do it. It sucks. There are several places to camp along the trail that are not on the map that would have been better. As of July 4, there were a few creek crossings where you can get fresh water. Wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

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

Nice trail, great redwoods (not old growth). We parked at the trailhead on the right. After we hiked about 100 ft and turned around we realized we should have drove around the corner and parked on the left. The trail seemed to degrade after the 3rd stream crossing at 1.4 miles so at that point we turned around.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail on the Fourth of July and were surprised to only see one other hiker the entire day. The trail is in good shape, although it crosses a few active slides in places and you'll want to watch your footing. There is a lot of poison oak along the first mile of the trail, but it's easily avoided. Views from the summit are spectacular! We took an extended break at the old lookout and watched the fog starting to burn off below us, revealing views straight down to the Highway 1 bridge at Limekiln State Park.

Things that made this a great trip:
1. No cell service without a 30 minute drive (read boss can’t call you)
2. We had a campsite at the beach, with the sounds of both the ocean and a fast flowing creek to sooth us to sleep.
3. It’s near enough to Monterey to get good seafood if you’re willing to drive 90 minutes
4. Lots of scenic lookouts of the beautiful Big Sur coastline
5. You can go from the beach to the California Redwoods within minutes by foot.
6. Not “touristy” unless you head to Monterey, etc...
7. Did I mention no cell service for ANY provider?

This was our first visit, but not our last. My wife has added it to our regular vacation rotation.

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.

Very cool trail, did this several years ago with another family of 4, so we had 4 adults and 4 kids under the age of 7 with the youngest being 3. At the water crossings we had to play pass the baby but it was definitely worth it. The kids and adults alike enjoyed the kilns and the history behind them! Would definitely recommend this trail!

Lovely trail, too bad it burned. Hope to go back soon to see how the forest is recovering. We camped at Barlow Flats and it was perfect...

backpacking
1 month ago

Loved this trail. Amazing views and challenging terrain. If you choose to go up the right side of the loop, beware of the rigorously steep terrain and also there is absolutely no water until you descend half way down cone peak down the other side of the loop. I packed in 2 gallons and still ran out 2 hours prior to reaching cone peak. Along the left side of the loop there is a water spring about every hour or so and it is a much easier path to take. I started my hike at midnight on Sunday and camped 2,100 ft up the trail just above the fog. Started at it again at 0900 that morning and made it back to the bottom by 21:00 Monday night. Planned on staying another night but getting dehydrated on the right side of the loop really took away all my desire to camp. Hope this post helps future backpackers!

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!

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