Top three reasons to hike in Big Sur
The most scenic coastline in the contiguous US
Hike coastal bluff trails and see 300’ tall redwoods
Unspoiled wilderness close to major urban centers
Big Sur is one of the last bastions of undeveloped coastline in California. Many twentieth-century poets have found refuge among its mist-covered cliffs—a tradition continued today by hikers who take pleasure in the dramatic landscapes of one of the best hiking areas in Northern California. Nothing surprising since this 70-mile stretch of seaboard features some of the most scenic trails in the United States. The unique combination of steep flower-strewn slopes, lush redwood forests, and surging Pacific waves makes Big Sur one of the world’s most fascinating junctures of land and sea—equally stimulating to venturesome outdoor enthusiasts and those who simply want a break from the hustle and bustle. Find out more about the best hikes in Big Sur from Liz Thomas, backpacker and guidebook author.
San Jose CA, is two hours away
Beginner to intermediate
Choose how to spend your day
3-Hour Hiking Adventure
With this short private hike, you’ll get a taste of everything Big Sur has to offer. It usually includes two hiking locations based on your abilities and desires—whether you want to explore the shores or spend some more time discovering the flora and fauna of the area is up to you. Communicate to your guides what is it that intrigues you the most about the area and spend an incredible day in Big Sur!
4-Hour Hiking Adventure
This tour is designed to provide a more in-depth experience of Big Sur. Choose among three easier and shorter hikes or one that is longer and more challenging—the guide will work with you to choose the best fit depending on your skills and desires. As with the previous adventure, you get to decide which locations and activities will be the focus of your excursion.
Half-Day Robinson Jeffers Hiking Excursion
This 3-hour adventure offers an exciting contrast between forest and sea. There will be an emphasis on exploring the wildlife and vegetation of the area, the highlight being the centuries-old coastal redwoods. You will also follow a cascading mountain stream through a gorgeous canyon. The tour will finish by the ocean, where you can encounter Big Sur’s amiable inhabitants—daily otters, harbor seals, dolphins, and the gray or humpback whales.
Full-Day Hiking or Sightseeing Adventure
This 6-hour adventure provides the most comprehensive experience of Big Sur. The excursion includes many locations and points of interest with hikes in between. There is also an option of a more challenging hike. As with the previous adventures, the itinerary will be crafted according to your desires and ability level.
Meet your guide
Big Sur Guides
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things 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 traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Big Sur please refer to the official website of the Government of California.
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 you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A half or full day of hiking depending on your chosen itinerary
What’s not included:
- Transportation (transit to and from Monterey can be arranged with an additional cost)
- Lunch (additional cost of $20 per person)
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 a few 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. Your guides will determine the best trails for your group’s skill level. 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 running shoes
- Spare clothes for layering
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For the group adventures, the maximum guest-to-guide ratio is 10:1.
- The cost per person doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Hiking in Big Sur can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
There are no minimum age requirements for these adventures.
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.
The meeting location will be determined once the adventure is booked and you contact the guides. It is usually in central Big Sur or in the south Carmel area. There is also an option of a pickup in Monterey with an additional cost of $100 for a one-way drive for a maximum of 4 people.