Big Sur, Monterey
We drove down to the Big Sur area and spent part of it simply driving along the coast and the rest hiking a Pfieffer Falls Park. The views are spectacular and it is definately worth a drive if you have a chance.
Hiking in Big Sur is a lot of fun and there are trails of varying diffculty and length depending on your fitness level. Walk along the rocky coast trails or head into the mountains and check out some waterfalls. Below is a good website with trail maps and pictures of some of the hiking trails, most (if not all?) are open year-round:
A vague geographical area along California's Pacific Coast, the Big Sur area runs roughly from the Carmel Highlands south along the coast to San Simeon. This coastal expanse stretches about 90 miles north-south and maybe 20 miles east-west, and really the only town is the village of Big Sur, which seems to exist just for tourists, artists, and hippies. The entire area is very sparsely populated and is home to various parks offering a variety of recreation activities; these parks include Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer State Park, Point Lobos State Reserve, Garrapata State Park, Point Sur Lightstation State Historic Park, and others. Perhaps the most popular activity in this area is just driving along Highway 1 which hugs the Santa Lucia Mountains on steep cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. One of the favorite stops along the route is the Bixby Bridge, a concrete arch built in 1933.
Webcam view of the Big Sur area.
I found Big Sur a great place to take pictures. Usually i just drive through Big Sur and admire the scenery of the coast. Everytime i drive through here i think to myself "California is beautiful!"
I have stayed here a few times and found that there is soo much to do that i never had enough time. This is more than just a side trip, its a whole other vacation.
These waterfalls lie along the route Highway 1, just south of the Monterey Peninsula, and are spectacular. The entire coast south of the Monterey Peninsula is known as "Big Sur" and offers amazing coastal scenery, with the montains dropping off into the Pacific Ocean. Here at the falls, a small river drops out of the mountains and onto a secluded beach, making it an incredibly romantic stop.
If you are driving south from Monterey, you'll pass Point Lobos State Reserve and continue south. The falls will be on the right hand side not long after passing the sign for Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. You should get a good map of the coast befopre heading out, because the place to stop along the road comes up right before you see the actual falls, and if you miss the stop, there's no other place to stop. Right after passing the place to stop you'll cross a bridge and then have a view of the falls while driving, so you'll have to go real slow.
If you are driving north towards the Monterey Peninsula, it will be very difficult to stop, because the place you can stop your car is on the other side of the road in front of a curve, which makes a bit dangerous to cross the road to park. You'll need to pass the falls, find a place to turn around, and then stop.
Click here for a good website about the falls and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Big Sur - Take a day trip south down Highway 1 to Big Sur. The drive goes down a winding highway along the edge of cliffs, and once you get there, the hiking and the hot springs are incredible. Also nearby is Pfeiffer Beach with its unique rock formations and crashing surf.
In the XVIIIth century the Spaniards called the area located down Monterey as the 'Big country in the south'. Big Sur is definetely an amazing place. The 160Km coast is full of incredible cliffs. The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park stands as one of the most beautiful places there. You can see a waterfall empty its water in the ocean. It is only accessible by foot.
Don't forget to take your camera when visiting Big Sur.
Point Lobos and the Big Sur Coastline. Big Sur is boring so turn around at the Lighthouse.