Besides being the name of a very small town on the coast, we didn’t realize that Big Sur refers to the 90 mile stretch of rugged coastline between San Simeon and Carmel, with the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Highway 1 through Big Sur has been designated an American National Scenic Highway, and with good reason. It truly is a spectacular drive, and there are plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs at scenic overlooks, hiking trails, several state parks, a few rustic lodges, restaurants, galleries and convenience stores. If you’re coming from the south be sure to get gas in Morro Bay or Cambria, or in Monterey if you come from the north. It was going for $5.79/gallon at the only station in Big Sur the other day. (It was just under $4.00/gallon when we left Morro Bay.)
One of the most scenic places we stopped was McWay Falls, at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Although there is a $10 parking fee if you drive in, there is plenty of free roadside parking where you can access the trail to the overlook.
Another hike was on the Mill Creek trail, about a quarter mile up the road from our site. It starts in the open with a nice view of the mountains but soon becomes a shady trail through the redwoods and stays along the creek most of the way.
It was foggy for a couple days, but just before the fog rolled in we got to watch this sunset over the ocean.
The day after the fog lifted we drove a few miles north to Limekiln State Park, where there is a small, crowded campground, mostly for tents, and a few short trails leading to the fall and the old lime kilns.
All three trails follow branches of the creek.
Four stone and iron furnaces remain from the limestone mine which opened in 1897. It only took the Rockland Lime and Lumber company three years to deplete the lime deposit, along with the redwood forest that was nearly clear cut to use for lumber and fuel.
The 100 foot waterfall.
A very pleasant place for a hike.
So our five days without phone or internet was really not a problem. We may never get another chance for a site with a view like this.
Tonight we’re at the Wal Mart in Salinas, CA. Quite a change in scenery, but we needed to get propane, gas, do laundry, pick up some groceries, and went out to eat at BJs Brewhouse. Tomorrow we’re heading back towards the coast.