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7. Partington Cove Trail

A fenced-off walkway leading to Partington Cove.

The Partington Cove trek is a short, but sweet hike that a lot of people miss out on their trip to Big Sur.Partington Cove is a short, steep, and easy-to-miss jaunt along the Big Sur shoreline. Passing a gated fire road and a small dirt runout west of Highway 1, walk a steep-ish downhill for 15 minutes until you reach an information kiosk. Here, you’ll find a junction: the left path will take you to the cove, while the right one leads to an isolated beach.

But you’re here for the cove, so cross a creek, turn right, and wander into a tunnel carved into a rock wall back in the 1880s. From there, you’re a short walk away from Partington Point. Here, I recommend sitting down, grabbing your sandwich, and enjoying the sound of the waves reverberating against the rocky shores and expansive views of the ocean blue. Just try not to think about the climb back.

About the author
Professional hiker and guidebook author

Liz Thomas is thru-hiker and guidebook author best known for breaking the women’s self-supported record on the Appalachian Trail. She’s the author of the National Outdoor Book Award winning Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike, which won the National Outdoor Book Award in 2017. When she’s not backpacking, Liz is a motivational speaker who has presented on Capitol Hill, corporate retreats, national non-profit donor events, and colleges and universities including Yale and MIT. You can find her at or @lizthomashiking
and Facebook.

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