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

Stunning views and an easy hike around the bay. Sunshine draped the coastline. Though we were cautious about ticks, we found none.

Perfect hike for what we wanted. Flat, absolutely stunning scenery, wildlife abounds, awesome photo opportunities, so don’t forget the camera! We’ll be back with the kayaks next time.

Really beautiful and great for all levels- my inlaws stayed on top on the easy path and is kids went down the cliffs onto the private beaches. Beautiful beautiful!

Beautiful views, and pathways. The trails that are off the main trail are the best. Being able to climb down the cliffs and go right up to the water was spectacular!

hiking
2 months ago

The ticks where bad. Other than that great little hike.

Easy hike. Very pretty wild flowers

Stunningly beautiful views from this trail. Moderate effort.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing trail. The views are outstanding, and seeing the elephant seals in the culmination of the trail was a nice bonus.

The beginning is somewhat tricky to find. If you walk towards the end of the beach, you will see a trail on the right leading up the hill. Head up there and walk along the fence and you will get to the main trail.

Breathtaking

hiking
4 months ago

We happened to go on a foggy day. Took away from the overall views from the different vista points. Overall, the hike was nice. Kid friendly with a lot of places to stop to enjoy the view, if it was clear. We will be back to try it again on a clearer day.

hiking
4 months ago

Super fun and short little hike. When I went I was the only person on that little stretch of beach for almost 30 minutes. So many people at the Inn start the hike and then stop very shortly into it because it is very steep at parts for non-hiker folks.

Just gorgeous, great vistas on this trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome trail!! Lots of fun ways to access vista points and beach access. At the end of the trail we sat and watched 12 elephant seals on the beach coming in from the ocean

A must trail to do. Easy way to find the trail head is to go to the start of the pier and turn right to the beach

Gorgeous mix of forest and ocean/coastal scenery. Small places where you can climb down to the ocean. Highly recommend.

hiking
9 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done

Wonderful hike offering tons of great views. Many different terrains from walking on the beach, into the dense forest of pines, out onto the bluffs above the ocean and across rolling fields to the point offering a great view of the entire landscape for miles on either side. Finished hike with a trip to the Hearst winery across the parking mot for wine and cheese in the afternoon sun.

walking
10 months ago

I've done this one many times and love to return for a quiet walk with beach, trees, ocean views, etc. Just a lovely walk.

Beautiful hike, about half was in the trees with peekaboo views of the ocean. The trail had several tree lined picturesque views. It was relatively flat except for the areas where you had to walk through the sand. Pet owners were disappointing when they had their dogs unleashed and not under voice control.
We would recommend walking to the end of the trail as there are more beautiful beach and ocean vistas to see. It was a comfortable walk of about 1hour 45 minutes with stops for pictures and water.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail, took my family and had a blast, good enough to get in a work out but easy enough for my kids to keep up. The views are amazing and the little beach at the end is a nice relaxing spot, water is clear and sand is beautiful. Highly recommend it.

hiking
11 months ago

Awesome trail! Fun for all ages! Took my 4 year old, 8 year old, and 11 year old and they loved it! Went along with my husband, my brother in law, my brother and sister as well. It was not difficult, we went through some paths that required extra caution but avoiding those areas makes it a very easy trail. It's long enough to get good steps in and the views are amazing!

Been down this trail 3-4 times. Really neat place to go to the beach.

super easy trail for all skill levels, definitely not moderate as listed. but it was a very good hike with great views

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beautiful landscape with few people on the trail. Elephant seals were hanging out at the coffee at the end and even a deer was chilling on the bluffs.

Did it barefoot and it was quite enjoyable for the most part. A lot of thistles and poison ivy on the beginning and a few red and colonies hear the end, but a very nice walk nonetheless.

Beautiful spot to see a lot of wildlife away from tourists, there was no one else on the trail when we were there... but I pulled off about 25-30 ticks from my sandals and legs as they began crawling up my body.

It was unbelievable how many ticks there were, I've never in my entire life seen such an infestation.

walking
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This was a great way to spend a a few hours. The beginning of this trail is a little bit difficult to find but when you find it the reward is amazing. There is a sense of peace and serenity as you walk this beautiful trail. There is a feeling of being in the deep forest yet you look to the left and see the crystal blue ocean. I highly recommend this unforgettable hike to anyone that has forgotten how beautiful California is. Great family hike.

This trail is a little close to the road for my taste. Obviously it's not a very trafficked stretched (especially with Big Sur mostly closed off at this time) but it was less than ideal. However, the views -- particularly on the latter half, north of the lighthouse -- were spectacular and if you're into seals there are tons of fairly close views of them. There were not many people on the second half, even on Memorial Day weekend.

The parking lot is north of the popular seal viewing spot, and is marked with a blue Vista Point sign and on Google Maps it is labeled "Friends of the Elephant Seals." You can't really see the lot from the road.

hiking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Great hike ... lots of great views and it's a very easy for all skill levels. Best part we got to see lots of elephant seal at the end of the trail..

Thursday, April 20, 2017

There is no official name for this hike whatsoever..... I only found it because a local directed me to it. Otherwise you park, see no signs and are confused. When you find it, however, it's amazingly beautiful!! Like no hike I've ever been on!!

hiking
Sunday, April 16, 2017

As of April, 2017, you can't travel north on Highway 1 beyond the Ragged Point Inn due to numerous mud and rock slides from the previous winter. This very short hike provides a nice opportunity to enjoy the Big Sur coastline just outside of the closure. Starting from a small parking area on the west side of Highway 1, an old paved road descends and turns into a dirt path, headed for the beach. The trail fades when you approach San Carpoforo Creek, which descends out of the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains to the east and empties into the Pacific Ocean here. When we were here, the creek was several feet deep and flowing at a very high volume.
Turn right at the creek bank and head north on the beach, paralleling the creek. The beach narrows and is impassible at high tide, but during low tide you can continue north about 0.3 miles before you'll have to turn around.
This area was original part of Hearst Ranch, but was transferred to the state parks system in 2005 as part of a conservation agreement. There is also a small parcel of national forest land here, which is why you'll see the Los Padres National Forest signboard near the trailhead.

hiking
Monday, March 20, 2017

Great views. Easy for first timers.

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