Hikes in Big Sur

Below is a collection of trails in Monterey County along the California coast between Big Sur and San Simeon. These hikes are listed from north to south, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these day hikes. An interactive map is also provided.

Big Sur Hikes
Salmon Creek Falls

Hiking Big Sur

Big Sur is a charming town in Monterey County, 140 miles south of San Francisco. The name also applies to the fifty miles of coastline between Big Sur and San Simeon, which is as beautiful as any in the world. Big Sur is defined by dramatic and beautiful landscapes. Tall green mountains drop to rugged shores and mesmerizing blue waters.

The drive up Highway One is so scenic that many people don’t get out to hike at all, but they should! The region offers numerous great trails. Los Padres National Forest protects much of the wild coast, but there are other parks involved, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, home of one of the most spectacular waterfalls on the planet, McWay Falls. Many of the trails in the Big Sur region are free, so get out of the car and stretch your legs on these fine trails with unforgettable ocean views.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Pfeiffer Falls Valley View017Ridge Trail - Panorama Trail - Bluff Trail Loop
This loop in Andrew Molera State Park crosses a coastal ridge, bluff, and beach that are packed with amazing Big Sur views.
8.7 miles
1,100 feet
36.287409,
-121.8441
Pfeiffer Falls Valley View020Pfeiffer Falls and Valley View
This out and back trek is like two hikes in one, reaching a waterfall in a canyon of redwoods and a vista point overlooking the Big Sur River Valley.
2.4 miles
550 feet
36.250663,
-121.785803
Pfeiffer Falls Valley View022Nature Trail - River Path Loop
This easy loop explores woodlands along the Big Sur River and a redwood grove that includes the unique and impressive Proboscis Tree.
0.55 miles
15 feet
36.250472,
-121.781215
Big Sur River Gorge025Big Sur River Gorge
This off-trail hike ventures up the Big Sur River on a water-wading boulder-hopping adventure to a crystal clear pool that’s a gorgeous Big Sur swimming hole.
0.5
50 feet
36.246397,
-121.772097
Pfeiffer Beach030Pfeiffer Beach
This short walk reaches an absolutely stunning beach that's a classic feature of the Big Sur landscape.
0.2 miles (or more)
10 feet
36.238199,
-121.813533
Partington Cove050Partington Cove
This out and back hike visits a tunnel-accessed cove and a secluded beach in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along the scenic Big Sur coast.
1.5 miles
230 feet
36.175267,
-121.696075
Canyon Trail Big Sur053Canyon Falls
This out and back hike heads inland up McWay Creek past a picnic area in a redwood grove to a lovely little waterfall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
0.9 miles
300 feet
36.16014, -121.668523
McWay Falls055McWay Falls
This out and back hike looks out on a stunning Big Sur waterfall that pours 80 feet right on to the beach in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
0.6 miles
100 feet
36.15776, -121.672406
Limekiln Trail Limekiln Falls Hare Creek hike057Hare Creek Trail, Limekiln Trail, and Falls Trail
This out and back hike in Limekiln State Park explores a trio of trails along lovely streams in redwood-lined canyons, reaching Limekiln Falls and historic lime kilns.
2.65 miles
250 feet
36.010436,
-121.518588
Pacific Valley Bluff Trail060Pacific Valley Bluff Trail
This short out and back hike extends from Highway One to an ocean bluff with fantastic views of the Big Sur Coast.
1.1 miles
50 feet
35.932648,
-121.468927
Sand Dollar Beach063Sand Dollar Beach
This short hike to Big Sur's longest beach passes two scenic overlooks on the way to the sand.
0.5 miles (or more)
125 feet
35.921639,
-121.466913
Jade Cove065Jade Cove and Plaskett Rock Point
This loop across ocean bluff visits a prominent peninsula and a small cove.
1.5 miles
150 feet
35.917096,
-121.469079
Cruickshank Trail hike070Cruickshank Trail
This hike into Silver Peak Wilderness starts with bold ocean views and crosses redwood groves to reach Upper Cruickshank Camp at a junction with Buckeye Trail, 2.5 miles from Highway One.
5 - 9.25 miles
1,150 - 1,925 feet
35.843073,
-121.403025
Buckeye Trail075Buckeye Trail
This hike reaches incredible ocean vistas and trail camps in the Silver Peak Wilderness. Connect Cruickshank Trail and Buckeye Trail for an excellent shuttle hike of 8.25 miles or more.
6.5 - 9.25 miles
1,450 - 1,925 feet
35.821754,
-121.374454
Salmon Creek Falls080Salmon Creek Falls
This out and back hike visits a fine 120-foot waterfall near the start of Salmon Creek Trail.
0.6 miles
100 feet
35.816032,
-121.356699
View Central Coast Hikes in a larger map
hikespeak
Coon Creek Trail Montaña de Oro State Park hike Coon Creek Canyon Montana de Oro San Luis Obispo California
Coon Creek Trail explores a coastal canyon at the south end of Montaña de Oro State Park. The trail heads inland for 2.5 miles to a pleasant grove of Monterey cypress at the site of an old homestead that has since disappeared. Take a break in the shade of the cypress trees before turning around for a 5-mile round trip hike with 250 feet of elevation gain. Junctions... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 29, 2014
Balconies Cave hike Pinnacles National Park Balconies Trail Loop
Pinnacles National Park preserves some of California's oddest landscapes with out-of-place rock spires and boulder-filled gorges with talus caves just waiting to be explored. Grab your headlamp and head to the west side of Pinnacles National Park for a trek into Balconies Cave. This fun 2-mile out and back hike or 2.4-mile lollipop loop hike crosses a playground of... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 2 miles – Elevation change: 200 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: August 14, 2014
High Peak - Balconies Cave Loop hike Pinnacles National Park High Peaks Trail Juniper Canyon Balconies Cave Trail Old Pinnacles Trail
Pinnacles National Park is a spectacular place to hike. There is a High Peaks area covered in rock spires and equally impressive boulder-filled gorges with talus caves to explore. See both the High Peaks and Balconies Cave on a great 9-mile loop through diverse Pinnacles landscapes. Starting in the east, this clockwise loop ascends 1,575 feet to a thrilling crossing of... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | | |
Distance: 9 miles – Elevation change: 1575 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: August 13, 2014
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground Big Sur California Camping
Pinnacles National Park has spectacular boulder-strewn mountains and gorges filled with talus caves. The park is a playground for hikers and climbers. For campers, there is Pinnacles Campground, a 149-site campground set within an oak woodland on the east side of the park. While the campground isn't amongst all the awesome rock formations, the park's fun is close at... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 31, 2014
Camping in Andrew Molera State Park Trail Camp Big Sur California Campground
Andrew Molera State Park preserves nearly 5,000 acres of beautiful parkland at the north end of Big Sur. Hikers can explore the park on over twenty miles of trails, including the Ridge Trail - Panorama Trail - Bluff Trail Loop hike. For campers there is Andrew Molera State Park Trail Camp. This 24-site first-come first-serve campground is located in a grassy meadow near... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 28, 2014