8 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Big Sur, California

hiking in big sur
| 4 min read

Given Big Sur’s draw as a road-trip destination with unforgettable views, it is a hiker’s paradise. With spellbinding coastal views, Big Sur will have a place in your heart. The scenic stretch of California’s central coast hosts a labyrinth of trails full of mossy boulders, enormous redwood groves, and rocky coastline. Instead of gaining calories like we usually do on trips and vacations, Big Sur will help you burn some! There’s one main road that cuts through the town of Big Sur, called the coastal Highway 1. Along Highway 1 there will be plenty of unforgettable views. Read on to see the list of the best hiking And trekking Spots In Big Sur, California!

1. Andrew Molera State Park

2012-04-28 Big Sur 072 Andrew Molera State Park, Beach Trail
Source: Photo by user Allie_Caulfield used under CC BY 2.0

This lovely state park is the largest of the state parks within the Big Sur area. On this trail, you will experience spectacular ocean views. Start the Andrew Morela Loop by crossing Big Sur River by the seasonal bridge. There are a couple of different nature walks throughout the park that lead you to either a creek or the ocean. This entire place is perfect for nature lovers with a variety of plants and views. Andrew Molera is a family-friendly location and kids will love it just as much as you do. Watch out as you might be lucky enough to see some dolphins! Tip: Before you go, make sure you check the website for closures and alerts to avoid any trails being closed.

Andrew Molera State Park

Address: 45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA

Website: Andrew Molera State Park

Price: 10 USD

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2. Sykes Hot Springs

Jeff fishing from hot springs at Sykes
Source: Photo by user Marc Levin used under CC BY 2.0

This spot is the perfect mix of terrain, scenery, and wildlife. The picturesque hot springs with stone tubs will make you feel at peace. Surrounded by redwoods and a mountain stream, you will experience luxury and blissful times. The hike itself is not easy, it is a mix of uphill and downhill trails, so you do need to catch some breaks. Take a dip in a soothing hot spring after your hike and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere! To avoid the crowds, backpack early in the morning. Additionally, you will need to walk through the river in places, so bring sandals or water shoes.

Sykes Hot Springs

Address: California 93920, USA

Website: Sykes Hot Springs

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3. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Source: Photo by user jphilipg used under CC BY 2.0

Catch an abundance of wildlife, scenic coves, and pleasant hiking trails cheering you up. The water is incredibly blue and makes you want to jump in for a swim. Moreover, this is said to be one of the prettiest drives in all of the U.S. The best time to visit Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is during the summer months, from April to October, whereby the weather will be perfect and views even more breathtaking. The park has a number of trails namely Buzzard’s Roost (3 mi/4.8 km round trip), Valley View Trail, Mount Manuel Trail (8 mi/ 12.9 km round trip), and many more.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Address: Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

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4. Trail Canyon Falls

Little River Canyon Falls Park (39868509932)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Shawn Taylor used under CC BY 2.0

The key to visiting Canyon Falls is to walk in the opposite direction of McWay Falls from the parking area. Take your time here as there is quite a bit to see. You will come across a stunning waterfall that will simply make you stop and stare. Bring your camera and take all the pictures you can! Take a break from hiking in McWay Creek, and grab a meal in the fascinating ambiance. It is a 4.8 mi (7.7 km) crowded trail that is located close to Sunland-Tujunga. It is a moderate hike with permission to bring your dog on a leash.

Trail Canyon Falls

Address: Monterey County, California

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5. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Forest Ewoldsen Trail, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Martin Stiburek used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This state park consists of a number of trails with fascinating views of waterfalls, the ocean, and rocky roads. One of the most popular yet dangerous trails is the Waterfall Overlook Trail/McWay Falls. It is a 0.6 mi (1 km) out and back trail which is only partly accessible due to erosion leading to dangerous conditions. Apart from this, you can also hike the Waters Trail (2 mi/3.2 km round trip), Tan Bark Trail (6.4 mi/10.3 km round trip), Tin house Road (4.6 mi/7.4 km round trip), and Partington Cove Trail (1 mi/1.6 km round trip).

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Address: 52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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6. McWay Cove

McWay Falls 04-17-2009
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brocken Inaglory used under CC BY-SA 3.0

McWay Cove has an incredibly unique view, one that you do not see often even if you are a traveler. This family-friendly hike offers the best look at McWay Falls. The area consists of jagged cliffs, a sandy cove, and aquamarine waves. It’s a short hike, so the only thing you will get tired of is taking as many pictures as you can while you’re there. McWay is the star of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. Hear the relaxing sound of waves and admire these phenomenal views! A tip to take note of is to go early in the morning if you would like to avoid the heat, even though the water looks more spectacular with the sun shining on it. Whatever suits you!

McWay Cove

Address: Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: McWay Cove

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7. Parrington Cove

01 - Path to Partington Cove
Source: Photo by user tinyfroglet used under CC BY 2.0

Parrington Cove is a gorgeous cove with windblown rock cliffs and extraordinary ocean views. The trail is short and moderately difficult, but it is extremely fun! It’s a view that you would definitely want to sit back and admire. The waves crashing beautifully on the rocks is a peaceful sight to see. Also, the sunset from there is magical! It is a 1 mi (1.6 km) down and back trail with moderate difficulty.

Parrington Cove

Address: Big Sur CA 93920 United States

Website: Parrington Cove

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8. De Angulo Trailhead

hiking in big sur | de angulo trailhead
Source: instagram

De Angulo Trailhead features beautiful wildflowers and a view from up high. This trail offers everything: forest, ocean views, birds and fresh air. This hike is rated as intense, so not only are you getting extraordinary views, but also an amazing workout. If you are a sporty person, you will definitely want to come back here. These scenic views will motivate you to stay healthy and fit! On a side note, do watch out for poison oak.

De Angulo Trailhead

Address: Big Sur CA 93920 United States

Website: De Angulo Trailhead

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Enjoy your hikes

Big Sur offers plenty of beautiful places to see and hike. With this many scenic hiking and trekking places in Big Sur, not only will you be able to enjoy a breathtaking trip, but also stay fit at the same time! Whether you are a solo traveler, traveling with your friends, or your family, these best hiking and trekking spots in Big Sur, California, will be perfect for you. Do take note of the hikes appropriate for kids if you are traveling with them.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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