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Big Sur

If you plan ahead, motivated visitors can pack multiple day trails into one day of hiking in Big Sur. Get the most out of the area by choosing a few hikes of varying lengths and types — some trails like the McWay Waterfall Trail will take less than a mile to get to a waterfall, while others like the Limekiln Trails will have you winding on level paths through towering redwood forests. Stone Ridge Trail in the Ventana Wilderness is an excellent loop trail that gives you a taste of Big Sur’s many ecosystems with several campsite options.

Currently closed, Cone Peak Trail will have you climbing the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous US (you’ll have to check for updates on this one). Create a loop with two of the most popular and scenic trails in Big Sur by hiking Buckeye Trail to Alder Creek Camp in the Silver Peak Wilderness area. And Salmon Creek Falls offers a great spot to cool off on a hot day.

Big Sur Highway 1
Carved into the seaside cliffs, follow California’s iconic Highway 1 to Big Sur

Discover family-friendly hiking in Big Sur

With few exceptions, the trails around Big Sur are perfect for families and hikers who don’t need to get deep into the backcountry to enjoy themselves. The reward for relatively short hikes is high, and exploring redwood forests is something every nature enthusiast should experience. While the hiking out here is glorious year-round, the coastal weather changes in the winter months are as crazy as what you’d find hiking New Zealand’s North Island. Bringing an extra layer is never a bad idea, as fog and drizzle can roll in and drop the temperatures rapidly.

About the author
Backpacker, trail runner, climber, and mountain biker

Maggie is an avid outdoor enthusiast based in Bozeman, Montana. When she's not in front of a computer writing and editing, she can be found backpacking, trail running, mountain biking, climbing, shooting archery, or trying to teach her cat how to walk on a leash.

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