Big Sur Hiking trails

North Shore Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-3.2 miles

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve for 0.2 miles-turn right at the Whalers Cove turnoff for 0.3 miles to the parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

The North Shore Trail weaves through Monterey Pines and Cypress paralleling the coastline for views of the bay. The trail ends by the Sea Lion Point parking area, return on the same trail.

Big Sur Hiking Trails
Big Sur Hiking Trails

Northern Big Sur Trails

from Point Lobos State Park to Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur has very picturesque and scenic trails.There is a great variety of trails from rugged coastlines with secluded beaches and tidepools to mountain landscapes with waterfalls, majestic redwood trees and spectacular views. Big Sur has over 300 miles of hiking trails waiting for you to come explore. Here is a list of trails from Point Lobos to the Andrew Molera State Park.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Sea Lion Point Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-0.7 mile loop trail

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 0.8 miles to Sea Lion Point parking area on the right (fee required)

The Sea Lion Point Trail starts at the west end of the parking lot. The trail overlooks the Sea Lion Cove and surrounding area with barking sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Granite Point Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distane-2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve for 0.2 miles-turn right at the Whalers Cove turnoff for 0.3 miles to the parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

Granite Point Trail is located in the Lobos State Reserve on 1276 acres in the north end of Big Sur. The Granite Point Trail begins by walking down the road  0.1 miles to the Whalers Cabin and trail begins across the road by the trail sign.  The Whalers Cabin built in the 1850’s by a Chinese immigrant and now used as a historical museum. The trail connects to the Moss Cove Trail and goes to Ichxenta Point. Return back on the sane trail.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

South Shore Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 1.2 miles to the Bird Rock parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

The South Shore Trail begins at the north end of the parking lot near Bird Island and ends by Sea Lion Point winding by tidepools, coves, and rock islands along the bluff tops. Turn around when you get to Sand Hill Trail for this hike.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Whalers Knoll Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve for 0.2 miles-turn right at the Whalers Cove turnoff and

go  for 0.3 miles to the parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

Whalers Knoll is a lookout for watching whales. Start the trail from the north end of the parking lot on North Shore Trail which connects to Whalers Knoll Trail that makes a loop back to the North Shore Trail to return to the parking lot. Panoramic views of the coastline at the summit.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Cypress Grove Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distane-0.8 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 0.8 miles to Sea Lion Point parking area on the right (fee required)

The Cypress Grove Trail is a bluff top loop trail that goes around the Allan Memorial Grove, one of only two natural stands of Monterey Cypress in the world.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Bird Island Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-0.8 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 1.7 miles to the Bird Rock parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

Bird Island Trail begins at the south end of the parking lot going through a Monterey pine forest along bluff tops overlooking the ocean of China Cove and Gibson Beach. The hike loops around Pelican Point where Bird Island can be seen with nesting colonies of brown pelicans and cormorants.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

South Plateau Trail

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-1.6 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 1.7 miles to the Bird Rock parking area at the end of the road (fee required)

Start on the Bird Island Trail from the south end of the parking lot going to South Plateau Trail (the trail to the left at the fork) The trail ends at the road, walk on the road going to the left for 0.1 miles to the Mound Meadow Trail and take this trail weaving through the forest and towards the ocean coming out of the forest at the park road, cross the road to the South Shore Trail that takes you back to the parking lot completing a loop.

Big Sur Hiking Trails
Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Pine Ridge Loop

Point Lobos State Reserve

Distance-1.2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location- On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 2.5 miles-turn right into Point Lobos State Reserve and drive 1 mile to the Piney Woods Picnic turnoff-turn left and drive to the end of the road and park. (fee required)

Take the Pine Ridge Loop winding through Monterey pines and oak trees going to the Mount Meadow Trail, taking Mount Meadow Trail to the left and up to the Lace Lichen Trail near the park road and continue on the Lace Lichen Trail which will loop you back to the Pine Ridge Loop Trai and back to the Piney Woods Picnic area and parking to complete the trail loop.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Soberanes Canyon Trail

Garrapata State Park

Distance-3 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive 7.1 miles to parking pullouts on either side of the road (no sign)

Start the hike from the inland side of the highway on an old range road going through a cypress grove, when you come to a fork take the trail to the right (the left is a strenuous trail) The trail goes continually up crossing streams, going over footbridges and switchbacks, through chaparal areas to the top of the canyon to a fork in the trail with no sign (the trail ahead is strenuous), this is the turn around point going back on the same trail.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Soberanes Point Trail

Garrapata State Park

Distance-1.8 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive 7.1 miles to parking pullouts on either side of the road (no sign)

Soberanes Point Trail starts on the ocean side of the Highway going through a gate. Soberanes Point in Garrapata State Park is a popular whale watching place. From the top of Whale Peak are 360 degee panoramic views  

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Garrapata Bluff Trail

Garrapata State Park

Distance-2.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive 9.8 miles to the parking pullouts on both sides of the highway (no sign) The pullout is 1.2 miles south of the Granite Creek Bridge and 0.2 miles north of the Garrapata Creek Bridge.

Garrapata Bluff Trail is part of the 2,879 acre Garrapata State Park. The trail goes the bluff tops above the beach with stairways going down to the beach. This beach with its beautiful white sand is an unofficial clothing optional beach.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Rocky Ridge Trail

Garrapata State Park

Distance-6 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-very strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive 7.1 miles to parking pullouts on either side of the road (no sign)

Rocky Ridge Trail is a hard hike with steep climbing for the rugged hiker. Panoramic views of the coastline and mountains from the top. Start on Rocky Ridge Trail connecting to Soberanes Canyon Trail going down the hill to complete the loop.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Skinner Ridge Trail

Distance-4.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Skinner Ridge Trail to Mount Carmel

Distance-9.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 11.3 miles-turn left onto Palo Colorado Rd. for 7.8 miles to Bottchers Gap parking lot at the end of the paved road ($5 daily parking fee required)

Skinner Ridge Trail starts at Bottchers Gap from the upper end of the parking lot. The trail passes through oak groves and chaparral with views of mountain ridges and the ocean, going on down to Mill Creek and back up the hillsides winding through the woods to Skinner Ridge in the Ventana Wilderness. Picturesque views from the 3400 ft. ridgetop. This is the turn around point for the Skinner Ridge Trail hike. The trail continues on for a strenuous hike up to Devil’s Peak and Mount Carmel for a 9.5 mile round trip hike.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Turner Creek Trail

Distance-8.3 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 11.3 miles-turn left onto Palo Colorado Rd. for 7.8 miles to Bottchers Gap parking lot at the end of the paved road ($5 daily parking fee required)

The trail starts on the Skinner Ridge Trail at the upper end of the parking lot for 2 miles and then comes to a posted junction with Turner Creek Trail going to the left. The trail goes by the Apple Tree Camp that has a waterfall along a short side path, for a 6.5 mile round trip hike you can turn around here or continue on to Turner Creek Camp for almost another mile hike for a 8.3 mile round trip hike. Turn around at this point and take the same trail back to Bottchers Gap.  

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Pico Blanco Trail

Hiking Distance-7.2 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 11.3 miles-turn left onto Palo Colorado Rd. for 7.8 miles to Bottchers Gap parking lot at the end of the paved road ($5 daily parking fee required)

The Pico Blanco Trail starts at the lower end of the Bottchers Gap parking lot going past the locked gate and hiking down the dirt Pico Blanco Road. This road is on private land with a right of way for hikers. The road goes along and down to the Little Sur River and crosses a bridge at the Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp. The camp is on land donated by William Hearst in 1948 with redwoods planted between 1910 and 1921 surrounding the camp. Passing through the camp cross a long wooden footbridge going over the stream and look for the sign for the Pico Blanco Trail to continue on with the hike. The trail comes to a fork with Little Sur River Trail and this is the turn around point for an 8.3 hike or continue on for ¾ of a mile more taking the left fork of the trail going to Jackson Camp on the Little Sur River Trail. The right fork  connects to Mount Manuel Trail going all the way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Cerro Hill Trail

Hiking Distance-5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 14.1 miles to Coast Road on the left and park.

The Cerro Hill Trail is part of the Brazil Ranch, 1255 acres of rocky shoreline and rolling hills acquired by the US Forest Service in 2002 as an addition to the Los Padres Forest to create an 11 mile stretch of protected coastline from the Bixby Bridge to Andrew Molera State Park. The Cerro Hill goes to Sierra Hill.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

North Old Coast Road Hike

Distance-11.2 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 13.4 miles to the north end of Bixby Bridge and park in the pullout on the ocean side of the road.

The Old Coast Road was the original coastal route before the Bixby Bridge was built. From the north end of Bixby bridge take the Old Coast Road inland for spectacular views of Bixby Bridge and the coastline. The road parallels the Bixby Creek and Sierra Creek winding through a redwood forest and out to rolling hillsides. The turn around point for this hike is when you reach the Little Sur River where two metal consecutive bridges cross the South Fork and the Main Fork of the Little Sur River. Return back on the same road.

South Old Coast Road Hike

Distance-9 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-strenuous

Dogs-allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park parking lot (parking fee required)

To start the hike walk back to Highway 1 and cross the Highway to unpaved Coast Road.  The Old Coast Road was the original coastal route before the Bixby Bridge was opened in 1932. The road winds through redwoods, oaks and sycamores up to a summit for panoramic views of the coastline. The turn around point for this hike is when you reach two consecutive metal bridges crossing over the Little Sur River. Return back the same way you came.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Point Sur Lighthouse Tour and hike

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Distance- 1 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 18.8 miles-turn right at the gate for the Lighthouse

The Point Sur Lighthouse was built in 1889. The docent led hike follows an old horse and buggy route from the 1800’s. The tour goes through the old lighthouse climbing the spiral staircase to the top and to the lamp with spectacular views of the coastline and surrounding hillsides.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Headlands Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance 2 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

The Headlands Trail starts at the north end of the parking lot. The trail parallels the Big Sur River and goes out  to Molera Point. The trail first goes to Trail Camp campground, walking past the camp continue on the trail, going by Cooper Cabin, a historic cabin built in 1861 out of redwood logs and to Molear Point and beach. Return back on the same trail. Andrew Molera State Park is on 4,800 acres with 2.5 miles of coastline and is the largest park on the Big Sur coast.  

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Creamery Meadow Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-2 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

The Creamery Meadow Trail starts from the parking lot at a signed trailhead. Take the trail to a junction and take the River Trail which connects to Creamery Meadow Trail. The trail is an easy hike to Molera Beach through the grassy meadows of Creamery Meadow that is lined with groves of trees for a beautiful hike. Return back on the Beach Trail for a loop back to the parking lot.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Bluffs Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-9 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

Start the trail at the Creamery Meadows Trail from the parking lot taking the trail for 0.8 miles to the Ridge Trail and taking the Ridge Trail for a short distance to the fork with Bluffs Trail. Start your loop on Bluffs Trail crossing the marine terrace and going to the hills. The trail connects to Panorama Trail winding up the hillside with panoramic views of the valley and the coast curving to the end of the Panorama Trail. Take the signed Ridge Trail north going down through redwoods and oaks taking you back to the Bluffs Trail where you started to complete the loop. Return back to the parking lot on Creamery Meadow Trail the way you started.

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Big Sur Hiking Trails

BobcatTrail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-4.5 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

To get to the Bobcat Trailhead from the parking lot walk back to Ranch House Road which is right before the kiosk entrance and has the sign for the Molera Horseback Tours sign above it, continue to the far south end of the corrals and the road ends by the posted Bobcat Trail on the right. The trail winds through the trees between the Big Sur River and Highway 1 to a grassy meadow and continuing on to Coyote Flats, turn around here if you don’t want to cross the river or cross the river to Cooper Loop Trail. Return back the same way you came.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Ridge Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-3.6 mile loop

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

This hike is makes a loop hike using 3 trails to make a loop starting on the River Trail to the Hidden Trail and then to the Ridge Trail to make a loop. Start the trail at the Creamery Meadow sign in the parking lot going to the River Trail sign and take River Trail. The trail follows the Big Sur River going to the Hidden Trail. Take the Hidden Trail to the Ridge Trail connection and hike the Ridge Trail for coastal views. Coming to a fork in the trail, take the left fork going to Creamery Meadows Trail and back to the parking lot.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

River Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-5 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy to moderate

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

Start your hike from the parking lot at the Creamery Meadow Trail sign which crosses the river and takes you to the River Trail sign. Continue on River Trail running by the Big Sur River and connecting to Bobcat Trail which loops you back by the Molera horse corrals and Ranch House Rd. Walk Ranch House Rd. for a short distance back to the kiosk and parking lot.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

Beach Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance-2 mile round trip

Hiking Difficulty-easy

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

Start the trail from the parking lot where the Creamery Meadow sign is crossing the river to a fork and take the Beach Trail. The trail passes through groves of redwoods, oaks and grassy meadows to the beach. Return on the same trail or take the Creamery Meadow Trail back to the parking lot.

Big Sur Hiking Trails

East Molera Trail

Andrew Molera State Park

Distance- 4 miles round trip

Hiking Difficulty-moderate to strenuous

Dogs-not allowed

Trailhead Location-On Highway 1 from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel drive south for 21.7 miles to the Andrew Molera State Park on the ocean side of the highway and park in the parking lot. (parking fee required)

To get to the East Molera Trail walk back up past the entrance kiosk to the unpaved road on the right with a sign saying Authorized Vehicles only and walk a short distance to the trail sign for East Molera Trail on the left. Take the trail through a tunnel going under Highway 1 to a trail fork with a sign, to the right goes to Highway 1 and left goes uphill to an old ranch road. The trail goes through forest groves and grassy hills to the ridgetop with picturesque views. Return back on the same trail.

Big Sur Hiking Trails