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

backpacking
11 days ago

We did it in two days at a moderate pace and the worst part was just the heat at times. Unbeatable views.

backpacking
1 month 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 at the summit 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.

Got an early start this trail is exposed to sun first couple of mi. Heart starter switchbacks . Cool in the am . Trail is well maintained. Nice views from first peaks as with most Big Sur hikes steep outta the gate but the payoff is spectacular! Made it to upper Cruikshank camp ( one table and a fire pit...:) Had lunch and headed back down.

hiking
2 months ago

I day hiked this trail yesterday. i must say it’s one of the most challenging hikes i’ve done to date. the real challenge starts right after you get to Vicente Flat campgrounds. The views at the fire lookout is worth every single step. If you’re looking to train in distance and elevation gain for Mount Whitney, i recommend doing this hike. i did Whitney twice this year already, trust me :) Last but not least, being more than 3L of water on a hot day.

expectacular hike. great sources of water for backpacking. beautiful views. trail is very clean with poison oak. a little narrow close to strella campsite but not too bad.

backpacking
2 months ago

generally: great big sur trail with ocean views, redwood grove, and then summiting cone peak for the last portion with option to hike part way or backpack;
parking: Easy parking at Kirk creek trailhead (no passes or fees)
trail conditions: relatively well maintained (by big sur standards), overgrown in some places, some poinson oak but we wore shorts and did not have a problem.
Scenery: The first few miles were shrouded in clouds and comfortably cool until we got above the cloud line a few miles in, redwood grove at vicente flat, exposed w expansive views for upper portion of hike to cone peak
water access: There was a stream flowing just past Espinoza, no waterfall Vicente Flat, but a stream less than half a mile past it.
We camped at Vicente flat, which was not crowded on a Saturday.

I had an amazing time backpacking this trail with my brother. Spent one night camping at Vicente Flats and a second night camping on Cone Peak. It’s not necessary to camp for 2 nights but it’s certainly worth it as the view of the Milky Way at night from the peak is breathtaking.

Lots of the trail is exposed to the sun and MUCH hotter than we expected from the weather report of Big Sur. This made it difficult for my dog, but not dangerous for her. Something to think about if you’re taking your furry friend.

Even in the middle of August there were water sources before Vicente and at. The creek bed in Vicente is dry but if you hike down it you will find water. Once you move beyond this point water becomes limited and there is absolutely none on the Cone Peak trail. I would suggest not hiking to the top unless you’re carrying at least a gallon per person and a little extra for your dog.

Overall this hike is incredible, Vicente Flats is breathtaking, and the views from Cone Peak are worth it. I would definitely do this hike again.

backpacking
3 months ago

Just finished this trail as an overnight backpacking trip. Would rather recommend doing this in the spring or fall. Summer’s too hot and the trail’s mostly exposed. Bring lots of sunblock. Creeks we’re running and got to filter some water. Stayed at Vicente Flats for the night. This is definitely a butt-kicker with a pack. Could be done as a day hike but start early.

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.

backpacking
4 months ago

*no water at vicente*

We hiked in planning to either camp at Vicente or get water there and continue to cone peak. The hike to Vicente was gorgeous - ocean views most of the way and wildflowers all along the trail. There was a small stream right by Espinosa camp almost 4 miles in.

We reached Vicente on 6/9/18 and the stream/creek was bone dry. There was no water at any nearby streams. There were also big bee hives and lots of bees at the camp. We decided after looking for water for an hour or so to camp at Espinosa and refuel at the stream. It was beautiful there with ocean views and very quiet. There were a lot of gnats at dusk and dawn. The hike down the next morning was quick and shaded - we started out around 8am. It’s a beautiful hike.

Oh also beware of poison oak! I was spared but my boyfriend is covered. Careful about putting your pack in the brush.

strenuous 1 day ascent to summit from hwy 1 (took 8 hrs), overnight under the stars, spectacular views and stargazing, about 1/2 time for descent next day, worth the work. lots of poison oak but with long pants and sleeves have managed not to get a rash.

backpacking
6 months ago

My boyfriend and I took our first backpacking trip on this trail, and it was great for our first time. Not too long and a little elevation change was a good challenge. There were a lot of downed trees on the trail and a little difficult to climb over/under with my pack, but it was good practice. we kept our dogs off leash the whole time and never really saw anyone else. We camped at the site with the picnic table, and it was a gorgeous little spot with big redwoods anchoring the site. One piece of advice, when the trail splits and you have to choose to go up or go down, my advice is to go up. We went down and couldn't figure out how to continue along the creek after we went down. There were so many large rocks and downed trees along the creek, it was too difficult to maneuver with our packs and short legged dog friends were having trouble.

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.

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.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun and saw nobody out there. Beautiful view.

on Highway 1 to Cone Peak

8 months ago

Feb 17-19, 2018.
*TONS OF POISON OAK*

This is a great first time backpacking trip. On presidents day weekend, we hiked in the five miles to Vicente Flat campground with all of our gear and set up camp. Definitely busy, but there's a ton of spots to set up tent. We were cozy with our neighbors, but everyone was polite. We left our camp set up and day hiked up to the peak just with day packs. Stayed at Vicente Flat Saturday night then hiked back out the 5 miles with our gear.

Despite it being February, I was wishing I was in shorts most of the time we were hiking, especially the 5 miles to and from Vicente Flat. It's pretty much all open, which allows for beautiful views of the coast but direct hot sun. This would be a pretty brutal hike in the summer. Even with warm days, we got a light dusting of snow at Vicente Flat Sunday morning, which was stunning.

We brought our medium sized Australian Shepherd, and saw a few other dogs throughout the weekend. The trail is pretty dog friendly, but I would recommend booties as a good amount of the trail is rocky, but totally doable for a relatively fit dog.

Overall, it was a really nice weekend trip. Beautiful view of the Big Sur coast, a nice mix of chaparral and redwoods, and Vicente Flat was a beautiful campsite.

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

backpacking
8 months ago

Nice trail, but very crowded.

Water:
The first stream is a couple of minutes past Espinosa Camp. The creek was dry at Vicente Flats, you need to hike up another 5 min to get to water. When you head up to Cone Peak, the last water was where the redwoods end. I did not see any sign of the spring mentioned in the trail description.

Camping:
There were easily 50+ tents at the Vicente Campground over president's day weekend. Lots of fun people, but not a lot of solitude if that's what you're looking for.

Hiking up to the peak:
Most people left their tents and stuff at Vicente and hiked up with a light pack, that way you could carry more water. I got up to the peak a bit after 10 and was alone there for almost a half hour before people started showing up. After 12 it got really crowded up there.

Gorgeous views. I’d rate this as a moderate-difficult trail especially if backpacking on a hot day. The beginning is very steep but gets better after that. There’s a small creek still flowing about 2 miles into the hike and when you get to buckeye camp there’s a hose with running water but we still filtered it not knowing where it was from. Our campsite was overlooking the ocean so we watched the sun set and then slept under the stars. Can’t beat that!

This was an amazing trail! Lots of different scenery and wild flowers are starting to bloom. However, be aware of poison oak too. We combined it with the Salmon Creek Waterfall trail. Went to the main waterfall first, which was beautiful! We then came back around to start this trail. The first .5 miles are a steady incline that’s a little strenuous, but the remaining parts of the trail to Estrella Camp are mostly a combo of level ground, some downhill, and couple more short uphill climbs. Many parts of this trail are on a narrow pathway/ledge when you get higher up, so watch your footing. At this time there is still the remnants of a large pine tree that fell directly on the main path right before getting to the Spruce Creek Camp. You will have to step through and over a wall of fallen branches and then climb over the large trunk. On the way to Estrella Camp from Spruce Camp, you are parallel to Salmon Creek and can hear the sound of flowing water. Very soothing. We also caught a glimpse of another waterfall through the trees. On the way back the views of the forest and ocean are great! Especially if you’re heading back down around sunset. Overall the hike for us ended up being more like 6.5 miles round trip. We did not camp overnight.

backpacking
10 months ago

Backpacking with two friends and a dog in mid November.
It Rained the day prior
Parking for about 15 cars maybe more at trailhead.

Overall medium high to low sun exposure throughout, with medium high to low poison oak as well.

Espinosa campsite is about 3.5 miles from trailhead and has Two available campgrounds

Vincente campsite is about 5 miles from trailhead and has Many available campgrounds

There is a River about 8.5 miles from trailhead, as well as a stream about 5 miles in

The Temperatures varied from sweating in shorts and sleeves rolled up during the day uphill to chilly mostly fully layered at night
Good for dogs
Some rowdy people when we were there.

backpacking
10 months ago

Great 2-3 night trip. We camped atop Cone Peak and saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise (see pics above). Our trip in late December was uncrowded, but had no water above Vicente Flat. There is plenty of parking off HWY 1 for easy access.

The trail was ok, not really up to stuff, but the scenery and freshwater makes up for it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

lovely views, be cautious of poison oak!

if ttyyou like waterfalls this one is awsome

backpacking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

This is a nice scenic trail. As other reviewers have said, there isn't as much coastal beauty as the Buckeye Trail, but it is nice in different ways. For one, there is a lot more water on this trail, as the Salmon Creek is alive and well, and the campgrounds along the way are pretty nice trail camps. Fall is pretty evident here with the leaves, but there is plenty of green and shade. The trail is easy to hike and well shaded, but seems to be more popular than the Buckeye, which is a tougher hike. Near the Spruce trail camp there is a fork, so you will want to go left for the Salmon Creek Trail, but I will be back to explore the Spruce Creek trail that branches off to the right at that point. Instagram @picbynathan

backpacking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

This is a good, scenic trail that has a lot of clean water from the Salmon Creek along the way. The trail and the camps are in good condition and mostly shaded along the way. The trail leads away from the coast, so you will not views of the coast like the Buckeye Trail, but it has a lot of beautiful backcountry views. Overall, it is a pretty easy hike that starts off pretty steep, but never has any really dramatic inclines after the first half mile. On Instagram @picbynathan

Amazing hike. First Mile is switch backs and straight up hill. Bring water and at least an energy bar. Gets narrow at times so watch your footing, especially past the pools very narrow and sandy.

backpacking
Monday, September 25, 2017

Once you get to Upper Cruikshank descend down to the river for an awesome campsite at Villa Creek

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