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
230 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
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
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.
0.6 miles
100 feet
East Cuesta Ridge Road Mount Lowe Road Santa Lucia Mountain East Cuesta Ridge Hike San Luis Obispo
East Cuesta Ridge Road, also known as Mount Lowe Road, is a dirt road that crosses the dominant ridgeline in the Santa Lucia Mountains northeast of San Luis Obispo. Views from the trail extend over San Luis Obispo and its surrounding peaks toward the ocean to the west at Morro Bay and to the south by Oceano Dunes. The hike starts just off Highway 101 at the top of Cuesta... Read more.
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: October 31, 2015 Image:
Stenner Creek Trail Red Dog Trail Poly Canyon Road Loop San Luis Obispo Eucs Hike
Above Stenner Creek Road near the Cal Poly Campus, a freestyle bike course is hidden within a eucalyptus grove. The easiest route to The Eucs is to head up and back on Stenner Creek Trail. For a longer hike that explores neighboring grassland on slopes below the Santa Lucia Mountains, consider this 4.25-mile loop with 550 feet of elevation change. This hike takes... Read more.
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Distance: 4.25 miles – Elevation change: 550 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: October 31, 2015 Image:
M Trail Cerro San Luis Madonna Mountain Hike to the M Cerro San Luis Obispo California
From downtown San Luis Obispo, it's easy to spot the large white "M" on the side of nearest mountain, Cerro San Luis. If you've looked up at the "M," you may have wondered what it's like to look down from that big white letter. Find out on a 1.9-mile hike that goes right up to the "M". You can also visit the Mission Prep High School "M" as part of a longer hike to the... Read more.
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Distance: 1.9 miles – Elevation change: 560 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: June 9, 2015 Image:
Hi Mountain Trail Hike San Luis Obispo County Hi Mountain Road Arroyo Grande
Hi Mountain Trail is located in the Santa Lucia Mountains east of Lopez Lake. The San Luis Obispo County-run trail is quite different from the area's coastal hikes and covers a variety of environments in a short distance. Start with a nice-and-easy streamside trail through a dense woodland. Bust up a ridge and suddenly you're in a grassy landscape with panoramic views. ... Read more.
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Distance: 3.25 miles – Elevation change: 575 feet
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: June 8, 2015 Image:
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Bluff Trail Cambria Marine Terrace Trail East West Ranch San Luis Obispo County California central coast hike
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (previously called East West Ranch) is a 434-acre park right in the middle of Cambria, a coastal town at the north end of San Luis Obispo County. Bordered by neighborhoods to the north and south, the preserve provides public access to a mile of beautiful coastline spared from development except for trails with boardwalks, bridges, and whimsical... Read more.
By: hikespeak Published: Last updated: June 7, 2015 Image: