Big Sur hiking Trails

Mid Big Sur Hiking Trails

from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to Slates Hot Springs

Big Sur has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state of California with picturesque canyons, valleys, forests, coasts and views. Here is a list of hiking trails in the mid Big Sur area including the popular Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Pfeiffer Beach Trail

Distance-1 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 29.3 miles-turn right onto Sycamore Canyon Road for 2.1 miles to the Pfeiffer Day use parking lot. (fee required)

The trail starts at the west end of the parking lot at the trailhead sign. The trail takes you along Cypress creek to the beach with the creek forming a lagoon at the beach. The beach has interesting sandstone arches, sea caves and rock formations. A trail goes up the cliffs to the north and follows the bluffs. Choose your own return spot.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Pfeiffer Falls Trail

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance-2.2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles and turn left onto Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd. where the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park sign is and go past the lodge and cabins to the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park entrance station (fee required) and continue to either day lot #1 or day lot #2 and park. From the parking lot take either the River Path Trail or the Nature Trail to the Pfeiffer Falls trailhead.

Start the Pfeiffer Falls Trail from the trailhead signs at the parking lot. The trail is well maintained climbing through majestic redwoods and ferns going up to the falls. The trail has a fork for two trails, one going for .25 miles to the falls and the other going .35 miles to Valley View. Check out the falls and then go back to the Valley View Trail for scenic views of the area. Return back on the same trail back to the parking lot.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Gorge Trail

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance-1.4 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles and turn left onto Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd. where the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park sign is and to the entrance station (fee required) continue past the first two day use areas and continue straight past an intersection to the Day Lot # 3 and the Gorge Trail.

The Big Sur Gorge is a popular trail going to swimming holes and small waterfalls. Take the gated road going past the trail sign to a fork in the road and go to the right, the left trail goes the John Pfeiffer homestead cabin built in 1884 and the Oak Grove Trail. The trail starts out as a wide trail going up to the Big Sur River where then there is some maneuvering up, over and around boulders and tree roots heading upstream to reach a large and some small pools. Return back the same way.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Buzzard’s Roost Trail

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance- 2.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difiiculty-easy to moderate

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles and turn left onto Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd. going past the entrance station (fee required), continue straight and turn right after passing the Big Sur Lodge, crossing over a bridge for the river and park in the day use parking lot . Take the River Trail from the parking lot to the trailhead by the Redwood Deck.

Take the trail going under the bridge for the Big Sur River and follows the river under Highway 1 to the Buzzard’s Roost Trail sign on the left with the main trail going to the campground and Liewald Flats. The trail climbs up the hill to the Buzzard’s Roost Ridge for picturesque views of the area. Continue on the trail that makes a loop back to the main trail and return back the same way you came.

Oak Grove Trail

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance 2.8 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles and turn left onto Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd. where the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park sign is and to the entrance station (fee required) continue past the first two day use areas and continue straight past an intersection to the Day Lot # 3 and the Oak Grove Trail.

Take the gated road going past the trail sign to a fork in the road and go to the left. The trail goes to the John Pfeiffer homestead cabin built in 1884 and to the Oak Grove Trail. The trail going to the right at the fork goes to the Gorge Trail. The Oak Grove Trail  connects with Pfeiffer Falls Trail, go left going along the Pfeiffer Redwood Creek to the paved park road and follow the road to the lodge and then take the Nature Trail back to the parking lot.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Mount Manuel Trail

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance-10.4 miles round trip

Hiking difficulty-very strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles and turn left onto Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd. where the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park sign is and to the entrance station (fee required) continue past the first two day use areas and continue straight past an intersection to the Day Lot # 3 and the start the hike on the Oak Grove.

Take the gated road going past the trail sign to a fork in the road and go to the left. The trail goes the John Pfeiffer homestead cabin built in 1884 and to the Oak Grove Trail. The trail going to the right at the fork goes to the Gorge Trail. Take the Oak Grove Trail for 0.7 miles to the Mount Manuel Trail sign at a junction. The trail winds up the mountainside into the open with scenic views of the surrounding are. The hike can get hot in the summer going through arid areas and watch out for poison oak and ticks. The trail comes to the summit and a vista point. This is the turn around point for this hike. Return back on the same trail. The Mount Manuel Trail continues north connecting to Pico Blanco Road at Bottcher’s Gap.

Big Sur hiking Trails

River Path Loop

Distance-0.6 mile loop

Hiking Distance-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 26.1 miles-turn left into the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park entrance-continue straight for 0.3 miles to the parking area on the right. (entrance fee required)

The River Path starts by the picnic area along the Big Sur River, take the path in either direction with the path connecting to the River Trail to make a loop back to the River Path and the parking area. The path goes through shady redwood groves along the Big Sur River.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Pine Ridge Trail

Distance-10.6 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-The trail starts from the Big Sur Ranger Station which is 27 miles south of Carmel or 47 miles north of Ragged Point. Turn east (inland) and drive to the far end of the parking lot.

The Pine Ridge Trail starts at the far end of the parking lot at the trailhead sign. This trail goes to several camps and trails in the Ventana Wilderness. The most popular place this trail goes to is the Sykes Hot Springs for a 10 mile hike one way for backpackers. This hike takes you to Terrace Creek Camp going 5 miles one way for a day hike going along the Big Sur Valley. The trail near the campground after not too long goes to a fork with no sign, take the right fork, the left goes to the campground. After 2.5 miles the trail enters the Ventana Wilderness leaving the state park. The Pine Ridge Trail goes to the Terrace Creek Trail and camp. The Terrace Creek Trail goes to the Coast Ridge Road.  Terrace Creek Camp is the turn around point for this hike.

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Big Sur hiking Trails

Coast Ridge Road Trail

Distance-8 miles round trip

Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 28.3 miles-turn left onto Coast Ridge Road for 0.2 miles to the Vista Point sign and park in the parking area on the right.

The Coast Ridge Road Trail starts 0.1 miles up the road where an unpaved road goes to the left, go past the gate and take the dirt Coast Ridge Road around Ventana Inn. The Coast Ridge Road is a private road with a right of way for hikers. After 4 miles is a trailhead sign for the Terrace Creek Trail, this is the turn around point for this hike. Return the same way you came. The Terrace Creek Trail connects with the Pine Ridge Trail.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Boronda Trail

Distance-5 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-very strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 32.5 miles to the trailhead on the left side of the road where a metal gate and an old wooden cattle loading chute is, 0.5 miles past the Coast Gallery and Café. Park in the pullouts on either side of the road.

The Boronda Trail starts through the trail gate by the old wooden cattle loading chute. The narrow dirt road winds up the mountainside with scenic views of the coastline. At a fork in the trail go left and continue up the hill. Near the summit is an old wooden gate, go around the gate to Coast Ridge Road and into Timber Top Camp. This is the turn around point for this hike. The Coast Ridge Road continues on 4 miles to Ventana Inn to the left, to the right the trail goes for 1.8 miles to connect with the De Angulo Trail.

Partington Cove Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Distance-1 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From Gorda drive north for 27.7 miles to the parking pullouts on both sides of the road. (1.9 miles north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance)

The Partington Cove Trail is on the ocean side of the highway on a dirt road behind a metal gate. The dirt road winds down to the creek and a fork,  the right fork going to Parlington Point, the left fork goes to the historic tunnel carved through a granite wall and comes out at the east cove where the  remains of the Partington Landing are.  Partington Cove Trail is part of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that is 3,762 acres.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Tanbark Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Distance-6.4 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-From Gorda drive north for 27.7 miles to the parking pullouts on both sides of the road. (1.9 miles north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance)

The Tanbark Trail starts on the inland side of the Highway and is part of the 3,762 care Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The trail starts out following the Partington Creek and connects to the Fire Road Trail, go left on the Fire Road Trail for a short distance to the old Tin House that was built during World War ll. Return back the way you came.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Fire Road Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Distance-4.6 miles

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Gorda drive north for 26.8 miles to the Vista Point sign and park in the pullout on the ocean side of the road.

The Fire Road Trail starts on the inland side of the highway just before the Vista Point sign at the gated Fire Road. Walk around the gate to start the hike through a redwood grove. The trail goes to the old Tin House that was built during World War ll. This trail is not as long and is a little bit easier hike to the Tin House than the Tanbark Trail. The trail has picturesque views of the coast line. The trail ends at the Tin House, return back the same way you came.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Canyon Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Distance-0.7 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Gorda drive north for 25.7 miles and turn left at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and park in the day use lot.

The Canyon Trail starts at the upper end of the parking lot at the trailhead sign. The trail follows the McWay Creek through a redwood forest and ends at the base of the Canyon Falls.

Big Sur hiking Trails

McWay Waterfall Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Distance-0.7 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Gorda drive north for 25.7 miles and turn left at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and park in the day use lot.

The McWay Waterfall Trail starts across from the restroom at the trailhead sign. The trail goes through a tunnel under Highway 1 to a fork with the right going to the McWay Waterfall viewing area and the left going to the Saddle Rock Overlook, both are short and easy trails so go see the waterfall and then go back and take the other trail for the Saddle Rock Overlook. McWay Falls is a very picturesque 80 foot waterfall with the water falling onto the sandy beach. You are not able to go down to the beach. The Saddle Rock Overlook is by a picnic area so bring a lunch or snack and relax.

Big Sur hiking Trails

Ewoldsen Trail

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Distance-4.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Gorda drive north for 25.7 miles and turn left at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and park in the day use lot.

The Ewoldsen Trails starts at the upper end of the parking lot at the trailhead sign. The trail goes through beautiful redwoods and has fantastic views of the coastline and mountains.

Big Sur hiking Trails