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.

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
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
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
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.
50 feet
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
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
270 feet
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
225 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
50 feet
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
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
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
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
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
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
Salmon Creek Falls080Salmon Creek Falls
This out and back hike visits a fine 120-foot waterfall near the start of Salmon Creek Trail.
0.25 miles
60 feet
Oso Flaco Lake Trail Oceano Dunes SCRA Nipomo Dunes Hike San Luis Obispo California
Oso Flaco Lake Trail in Oceano Dunes SVRA offers a hike with easy-going appeal. The nearly level trail takes a boardwalk over a 75-acre birdlife-boasting lake and across sand dunes to a tucked-away beach and a viewpoint overlooking the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. These are the largest dunes on the coast of Southern California, but Oso Flaco Lake Trail is a short hike at just... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: September 21, 2016
Chumash Trail Crespi Trail Hutash Trail Loop Morro Bay State Park San Luis Obispo hike California Turri Road
While it is one of the more inland hikes in Morro Bay State Park, the loop formed by connecting Chumash Trail, Crespi Trail, and Hutash Trail delivers ample coastal views as it leads to a lovely grove of coast live oaks. This lollipop loop covers 2.9 miles with 420 feet of elevation change. Hutash Trail can be trimmed from the circuit to lower the round trip distance to... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Morro Bay · Morro Bay State Park · Ocean Views
Distance: 2.9 miles – Elevation change: 420 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 9, 2016
Terrace Hill Open Space hike San Luis Obispo California Terrace Hill Loop
An interesting chain of conical volcanoes, or volcanic plugs called the Morros, graces San Luis Obispo County. Terrace Hill is one of the smaller and harder to identify Morros within the city of San Luis Obispo County. Unlike the other Morros, Terrace Hill has a broad flat summit. The top of the hill was removed for use as construction material in the 1920s, leaving... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Morros
Distance: 0.55 miles – Elevation change: 110 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 5, 2016
Rattlesnake Flats Trail - Badger Trail - Bluff Trail Loop Montaña de Oro State Park Hike
Completely resurfaced to be wheelchair-friendly, the Bluff Trail in Montaña de Oro State Park is one of the most pleasant coastal trails in California. Once you have hiked the Bluff Trail, you will probably want to see it again (and again and again). Revisit the Bluff Trail and get just a bit more elevation by creating a loop with Bluff Trail, Badger Trail, and... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Los Osos · Ocean Views · Tide Pools · Montaña de Oro State Park
Distance: 1.65 miles – Elevation change: 150 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 23, 2016
China Flat Trail Simi Peak Trail Simi Hills hike Oak Park California China Flat Dead Cow Trail Suicide Trail Loop Oak Savanna
Looking up at the orange sandstone outcroppings on the rugged slopes of the Simi Hills, you would hardly expect the terrain above to host a peaceful oak savanna. Walk through this grassy area shade by tall oaks to ascend to Simi Peak, the highest point in a mountain range that spans the boundary between Ventura County and Los Angeles County just north of the 101 Freeway. ... Read more.
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Tagged with · Conejo Valley · Free Trails · Oak Park · Simi Hills · Summits · Dog-Friendly Trails · Mountain Biking Trails
Distance: 6.2 miles – Elevation change: 1090 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 23, 2016