Hikes In Big Sur: 10 Epic Trails to Explore

The best way to experience Big Sur is by hiking around the gorgeous area. Filled with towering redwoods, stunning coastlines, and a magical nature area, you won’t be able to get enough of Big Sur once you start exploring.

Big Sur is filled with incredible hikes you can accomplish solo or with a group of people. These hikes range in different levels of difficulty, from easy to a bit more of a workout with steep climbs.

We promise that in the end, you’ll find your favorite trail that will leave you wanting more.

Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.

Big Sur hiking trail through Redwood forest

The Best Hikes in Big Sur

Pacific Valley Bluff Trail 

The Pacific Valley Bluff Trail offers a flat hiking surface with a 1.6-mile loop. This is one of the best Big Sur easy hikes with a trail is perfect for all skill levels, And you can even bring your leashed dog along for the hike!

Throughout the hike, you get a stunning panoramic view of the ocean, plus there is a lot of plant life and wildflowers around you. The trail will start at the Pacific Valley Ranger Station across Sand Dollar Beach.

San Carpoforo Creek Trail

Looking for one more easy hikes in Big Sur? Take this stunning hike straight to the ocean. The trail is only a mile long, perfect for first-timers, and features views of local birds and flowers.

This trail has no elevation gain, making it simple to walk and enjoy. After your one-mile hike, you can go swimming, fishing, or wind sailing at the beach.

Salmon Creek Trail

One of the most popular hikes in Big Sur is the Salmon Creek Trail. It is a short hike, around ¼ of a mile long, with an easy hiking trail, making it accessible for all. The trail will lead you to a stunning waterfall that anyone can enjoy, and it is the perfect hike for anyone on a quick day trip out in Big Sur.

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can continue the trail, headed onto the Silver Peak Wilderness trail, a more extensive hike that is 10.9-miles long with a 6,063-foot elevation gain.

McWay Falls

McWay Waterfall Trail

This is one of the most iconic hikes in Big Sur since it leads you to an 80-foot waterfall that drops directly onto the beach. The trail is relatively easy for anyone to hike, and there are two trail options if you need one that is more accessible for wheelchairs.

The main trail is ½ a mile long, with signs leading you directly to the falls. You can find the trail at the front of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but honestly, head towards the beach; you can’t miss it.

Tan Bark Trail

Try out the Tan Bark Trail for those who want more of a challenge on their hikes. This is one of the best trails in Big Sur, the hike is a steep, 5.6-mile loop along Partington Creek.

You will encounter redwoods, ferns, large boulders, and canyons throughout the hike. While hiking, you will be able to get great views of the ocean as well, where you can stop and take a moment to enjoy nature.

Mill Creek Trail

For all-day hiking, head out to the Mill Creek Trail, a 14.9-mile hike that will give you amazing views the entire time you’re out exploring. Considered among the best day hikes in Big Sur, the trail starts with beautiful greenery before you descend into redwoods and creeks.

Dogs are welcome on the trail but make sure you are prepared to be out in nature for a while since it is a long one In any case, you can always turn back whenever you’re ready to head home.

Vicente Flat Trail

Right outside of the Limekiln State Park is the Vincent Flat Trail. Nothing will beat the fantastic views you get on this trail as you explore the forest, a scenery that places this path among the best hiking trails in Big Sur.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this trail is known to be a little narrow and steep, so take precautions while you’re hiking. The max mileage of the hike is 10-miles, but since it is an out and back, you can decide when you want to turn around, making it as short as 3-4 miles.

Sand Dollar Beach Big Sur Hiking Trails

Sand Dollar Beach Trail 

Looking for one of the top hikes in Big Sur? Then head to Sand Dollar Beach and find the parking lot with wooden steps; this will be the start of your trail.

The trail is located on a gravel path to hike to a beach overlook. The overlook will give you stunning views of the ocean, and you can easily enjoy this easy hike in Big Sur, since it is made for everyone. The hardest part of the trail is the 150-foot elevation gain, so be careful on the gravel.

Jade Cove Trail

If you’re looking for less vegetation and a wide-open trail, the Jade Cove Trail is just about right for you. This flat trail offers a steep but short path to the ocean where you can spend some time relaxing or possible looking for jade.

The trail is only 1.6-miles long and a moderate hike; beginners might find it a little complicated but doable. The loop trail will take you back to your starting point with an elevation gain of around 120-feet. The best thing is your view of the ocean while you enjoy this hike.

Pine Ridge Trail

We saved the hardest for last. The Pine Ridge Trail is a difficult 18.9-mile hike through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park that offers an out and back trail. The trail will lead you to hot springs and has an elevation gain of 5,242-feet.

Throughout the trail, you will cross rivers, so be careful, but the views around you throughout the hike are beautiful. Dogs are permitted on this hike but make sure you can potentially camp or be in the dark during this hike since it can take a while.

Big Sur is filled with wonderful hikes that are perfect for all skill levels. Hiking is the best way to explore and see Big Sur, and these trails will help you fall in love with the area even more.

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