Big Sur | California

Hiking in Big Sur

57hours Icon season


Spring and fall are ideal, but you can hike year-round

57hours Icon nearest-city

Nearest city

San Jose International Airport (SJC) is less than two hours away, Monterey is only an hour away

57hours Icon duration


1 day

57hours Icon skill-level

Skill level

Beginner to intermediate

One of California’s natural treasures along the Pacific

Driving to Big Sur, winding along sweeping views of the Pacific, is a timeless coastal trip everyone should experience at least once in their life. Hikes in Big Sur reveal lush forests, towering bluffs and rare wilderness. The area is fiercely protected by a local community that has managed to retain its original charm through quaint campgrounds, roadside coffee shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. Guided tours are one of the best ways to venture onto hidden roads and trails offering vistas of the Ventana Wilderness typically reserved for Red Tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles. Go exploring in Big Sur and discover California’s best hidden gems!

Most Popular Itineraries

Half-Day of Hiking With a Private Guide

$175 per person · Half-day

Your Big Sur tour is a private and scenic affair with a knowledgeable, local guide. Coastal Big Sur hikes are tailored to your fitness level and goals. Your senses will awaken among the old-growth redwoods, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. Prepare for the peaceful connections only nature can provide!

Full-Day of Hiking With a Private Guide

Price on request · Full-day

Explore stunning coastlines, plunging waterfalls and historic lime kilns on private, short hikes in Big Sur. You’ll meander with a knowledgeable guide on majestic trails before a gourmet picnic surrounded by ancient redwoods. You don’t have to look far to discover California’s wilderness on these intimate Big Sur hikes.

Things you need to know

Covid measures in Big Sur

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Big Sur please refer to the California State Parks website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

  • A professional, knowledgeable, medically-trained, wilderness guide
  • Transportation
  • Gourmet picnic lunch

What’s not included:

  • Accommodation

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking in Big Sur is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed — around a 40L bag
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder — 2L capacity
  • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
  • Spare clothes for layering
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

What can I expect from hiking with a guide?

Hiring a local guide offers you the chance to experience Big Sur’s beauty to the fullest. Local guides know all the hidden gems the area has to offer, will explain the history and geology during the hike, and will customize your day to the desires of your group. Because there is so much to see and do in Big Sur — and it gets crowded quickly — this is one location where it really pays to have a guide by your side to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Why should I book with 57hours?

With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.

What about group sizes and pricing?

For this adventure, the usual client to guide ratio is 6:1. Pricing is per person, and all tours require at least two participants to operate.

Hiking in Big Sur can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

What is the minimum age requirement?

All ages are welcome on guided hikes in Big Sur. There are plenty of family friendly options for those hiking with small children. If you’re unsure about what to expect on a guided day hike with little ones, contact us and we will provide you with all the information you need to book your next family adventure.

What about bad weather?

Tours are scheduled to fit with the seasons and ideal hiking conditions. When the weather does not cooperate, your guide will know the correct course of action to take. Whether that’s shifting to a more favorable location or postponing until conditions approve, your guide will know just what to do. In the event of predictably bad weather, you will be contacted prior to the trip to discuss suitable alternatives.

Do I need an insurance policy?

We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.

If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Flexible Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to fourteen (14) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations seven (7) to thirteen (13) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a credit with that Guide for another identical or substantially similar Booking, or a full refund, minus a One Hundred-Fifty Dollar ($150) reservation fee. For cancellations one to six calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a full refund, minus a One Hundred-Fifty Dollar ($150) reservation fee. For cancellations anytime less than 25 hours in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Big Sur most people fly into San Jose International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Big Sur, which is less than two hours away, or to Monterey, which is only an hour away.

People staying in the town of Big Sur or the Monterey and Carmel areas usually meet guides at the first hiking location at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park at 9:30 am. People staying in other places in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County usually meet guides in Morro Bay or Cambria for the drive up to the hiking areas. Once you get there, the guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the hiking ability of the group.

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