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
Lat, Long
Partington Cove050Partington Cove
This out and back hike visits a tunnel-accessed cove and a secluded beach along the scenic Big Sur Coast.
1.5 miles
230 feet
36.175267, -121.696075
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.
0.6 miles
100 feet
36.15776, -121.672406
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
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
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery trail to Piedras Blancas Light Station hike Point Piedras Blancas Lighthouse San Simeon California Northern Elephant Seal Colony Big Sur
There are very few places in nature where you would feel comfortable getting up close to a 5,000-pound animal, and Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is one of them. While visiting the seal colony, you can get up close to these impressive (and vocal) animals and observe them in their natural habitat. In addition to two quarter-mile long boardwalk trails, the rookery... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: January 30, 2014
Point San Luis Lighthouse hike Pecho Coast Trail Avila Beach San Luis Obispo California
If you're looking for a hike to a historic site on California's Central Coast with abundant ocean views, check out the 3.6-mile round trip hike on Pecho Coast Trail to the Point San Luis Lighthouse. The hike near Avila Beach crosses land owned by PG&E that is accessible only with a trail guide on organized treks. On the way to the lighthouse, you'll enjoy sweeping... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: April 19, 2014
Tarantula Hill Trail Thousand Oaks California Dawns Peak hike
The foreboding sounding Tarantula Hill, which also goes by the more welcoming name of Dawn's Peak, is a small, isolated mound in Thousand Oaks that hikers can summit for views over the Conejo Valley and into the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. If your spider senses are detecting pavement, that's because the entire half-mile-long trail up Tarantula Hill is paved. While... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: November 23, 2013
Oats Peak Trail Montaña de Oro State Park summit hike New Oats Peak Trail San Luis Obispo California
Oats Peak is the second highest summit in Montaña de Oro State Park, a full 26 feet taller than Valencia Peak, which is probably the park's favorite summit for hikers. Oats Peak is located a couple miles inland of Valencia Peak, sporting smaller ocean views and greater views over the Irish Hills, the canyons and ridges making up the interior of the Montaña de Oro State... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 14, 2013
Reservoir Flats Trail Montaña de Oro State Park Islay Creek Canyon Islay Creek Campground hike
Montaña de Oro State Park has every type of hike you could want, ranging from easy oceanfront strolls to difficult summit ascents. If you're feeling like goldilocks and want something in the middle (just right), check out Reservoir Flats Trail, a 2-mile loop with 200 feet of elevation gain that is conveniently located just behind the park visitor center. The trail... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 13, 2013