Andrew Molera State Park is the only state park campground that is first come/first served, meaning you can’t reserve a place. The only catch? *Note: Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail is closed until further notice (fire damage). #10 - Cone Peak Loop via Highway 1 [CLOSED], Pico Blanco via Coast Road and Little Sur Trail, Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail [CLOSED], Salmon Creek Trail, Cruickshank Trail, and Buckeye Trail Loop [CLOSED]. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered. There are a numerous amount of waterfalls to see throughout the Santa Lucia Creek Gorge. California is the most populated state in the US. Limekiln is a small forested state park two miles south of Lucia. The trailhead is located at the Big Sur Station. Camping is one thing, but hitting the road is another. Explore the endless hiking and backpacking possibilities in 75 trips (plus numerous side trips) on the rugged coastline and isolated backcountry trails of Big Sur, Ventana Wilderness, and Silver Peak Wilderness. Security Belt with Hidden Pocket: I never hit the road without my security belt. Note: Be aware that there is TONS of poison oak in the area. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. #4 - Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail [CLOSED]. This ultimate guide to camping Big Sur is the result of my experiences getting to know this beautiful and wild stretch of coast. With zero facilities on offer, it is not a surprise that campers here have made a mess of things. BIG SUR STATION: Located at 47555 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920.Big Sur Station is the information center for the Big Sur area. Here are some of my favorite hotels in Big Sur: There you have it, friends. From San Francisco, northern Big Sur is roughly a 2 1/2 hour drive. Water sources can be far and few between. Sweeping views of the Big Sur valley. One of the most common (and beloved) Big Sur activities is hiking. Thanks for your support. Any time of the year you could find people camping along this road. In fact, most if not all lay-bys, turn-offs, and small nooks found just off Highway 1 are off-limits for tent, car, and RV camping. The trail itself is an undulating footpath (10 miles one way) that takes you away from the coast and into the rugged interior of the mountains. Before we talk about all the best places to camp in Big Sur, let’s answer the burning question…. Every awesome place has its downsides though. Around holidays too, Highway 1 is totally nuts chockablock with holidayers driving the classic West Coast route. Good for an overnight at Trailsprings or Ojito Camp, but certainly do-able in an ambitious day. PIT STOP: Stop and have lunch at Nepenthe's south of Big Sur. This is … Most hotel rooms are at least $100/night at an absolute minimum. The water temperature seems to consistently be at or near 100° F. This place is the essence of what makes Big Sur camping so magical. We’re drawing to the end of the Big Sur camping guide now but before we do, I’m throwing some delicious travel tips at you. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. 5. Best Hikes in Big Sur. We have come to the final act of my guide to Big Sur camping…. From within these state parks, one can experience the quintessential Big Sur Coast, epic day hikes, redwoods, waterfalls, and, of course, some of the best Big Sur campgrounds imaginable. The Pacific Coast Highway 1 runs along the Big Sur coast, sandwiched between by the dramatic Santa Lucia Mountains rising abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. Whether you are looking for a luxurious hotel overlooking the ocean or you are ready to head out on your next backpacking adventure, then Big Sur is the spot for you. Don’t let that put you off! Big Sur Hiking Trails & Local Tips. The 70-mile+ of coastline that makes up the Big Sur region runs between Carmel Highlands in the north and San Simeon in the south. Big Sur has many great destinations, but Sykes Hot Springs is definitely near the top of the list for anyone who has been there. Give some thought to this and how you’d like your Big Sur camping adventure served. Really these campsites are just flat spots off of the road where people have been setting up shop for decades. Likewise, the opposite could be true. So, if you park and walk into the bush more than 300 feet, in theory, this is allowed. The drive up the road isn’t super long, though it can be very steep in some places. This trail is extremely popular on weekends and holidays when many backpackers are drawn to Sykes Hot Springs, a strenous 10-mile (6-7 hour) one-way hike. Since there are only 24 campsites available on any given day, be sure to get there early (very early in some cases) to ensure you snag a campsite. Hammock: Taking a tent backpacking is not always practical but hammocks are lightweight, cheap, strong, sexy (chicks dig hammocks) and allow you to pitch up for the night pretty much anywhere. The park features the beauty of the redwoods, rugged coast, and cultural history of the limekilns. Big Sur is not and cannot be densely populated due to the rugged nature and isolation of its topography. In the summer, the state park campgrounds are booked out every night, often months in advance. Combine four different trails into a challenging but stunning hike in … Big Sur has no definitive borders, though the general consensus is that the above-mentioned stretch of highway and the surrounding mountains from south of Carmel to the north of San Simeon makes up greater Big Sur area. Making a Big Sur camping trip or two is without a doubt the best way to take it all in. Having a pleasant camping and trekking experience begins and ends with having the right gear. Remember to: But most of all, be good to Big Sur; be a responsible traveler. In the peak of the summer in years past, the Nacimiento-Ferguson Road was absolutely loaded with cars and people. Once it opens though, it is a hike not to be missed! DO NOT bushwhack through the vegetation unless you are 100% sure there is no Poison Oak. Chris is also a founding member of, Airbnb's Most Unique Properties Worldwide, I consent to my personal information being processed in accordance with The Broke Backpackers. Keep in mind that accommodation in the Big Sur area is EXPENSIVE. Huge, legendary traffic jams occur nearly on a daily basis from June-August. Do your part to help keep Big Sur’s camping places awesome for the next group of travelers. This trail offers the opportunity to take a dip in the Big Sur river. After returning to your car, consider checking out … Pretty much as soon as you know you are coming to Big Sur, check the Julia Pfeiffer reservation website and book whatever is available within your time frame. The official word from the Forest Service was that the camping along the road is forbidden until August 19th, 2020. Big Sur camping doesn’t get any better than this! A picnic option is offered on all hikes. The hot springs is about 8 feet across and a couple of feet deep--about the size for 4 adults, and it stays around 100 degrees depending on rain. If you’re RV camping, I don’t recommend trying to park here. It is roughly 9-10 miles to the Skyes campground, and limited climbing after the first 2 hours (which can be steep at times, and tiring in the direct sun). I really hope I don’t have to explain the necessity of a headlamp for camping in Big Sur. 10 reviews Hiking “I reached out to Lesli from Big Sur guides, shared my ideas and she was simply amazing.” See all Big Sur Guides and Hiking reviews Big Sur River Gorge. Big Sur, CA is one of the prettiest locations along the California coast. June 2020 – Note: The Trail campground at Andrew Molera is closed and has been for some time. Pssssst! 66 reviews. Big Sur Land Trust 509 Hartnell Street, Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 625-5523 | info@bigsurlandtrust.org Tax ID# 94-2473415 If you wait to the last minute to book a Big Sur state park campground, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get a spot. There are numerous forest service roads running through or adjacent national forest land owned by the government that offer the best free camping spots in Big Sur. Big Sur enjoys a mild, temperate coastal climate throughout the year. On every adventure, there are five things I never go traveling without: 1. None of the sites have electricity, but you don’t need that anyway, right? "I recommend driving … For more ideas on the essentials for outdoor adventures, check out our jumbo-sized roundup of the best gear to take backpacking. There are PLENTY of awesome hammock spots in Big Sur and along its beaches. #3 of 22 Outdoor Activities in Big Sur. Within the Santa Lucia Mountains and Los Padres National Forest, there are at least 55 designated trail camps and countless others that are unofficial or undiscovered campsites. Big Sur has many great destinations, but Sykes Hot Springs is definitely near the top of the list for anyone who has been there. On October 31, 2018 the seasonal footbridge crossing the Big Sur River was removed for the season. Good luck, amigos! On the Central California coast, a magical, sparsely populated land of waterfalls, rugged mountains, redwood trees, stunning beaches, and blazing sunsets has been attracting people of all walks for decades. Even if you only end up using it once, a decent head torch could save your life. The weather is mild with a potential for fewer people to be around, and the grey whales are migrating to the Arctic from March-April! Here are some of the biggest threats to your safety that immediately come to mind: Posion oak… rattlesnakes… ticks… Staying safe in America’s nature can be a lot more than most people bargain for. Cost: $25/night; $10 extra for firewood. More information. I’m not sure exactly how many spots there are; possibly, nobody knows. There are a series of excellent hiking trails, brilliant ocean views, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Poison Oak is everywhere. 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