I would never complain that the Pacific Coast Highway is boring, but it is nice that about halfway through the Big Sur Mountains, there’s a side trip that provides a change of pace. Nacimiento Road heads inland on a curvy path, carved out of the edges of surrounding cliffs. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.
You could use Nacimiento Road to completely abandon the PCH, and head inland to US 101, for a quicker drive north or south. But chances are, you don’t want to do that. Instead, I suggest taking Nacimiento Road inland for just about 4 miles. That will be far enough to give you a heart-pounding ascent, leading to a fantastic view of the coast.
Nacimiento Road doesn’t have guardrails, and in some places, it doesn’t have a center line. It is paved, more or less — at least for the first few miles that I covered, before turning around.
The drive uphill leads you to views of a beautiful valley. This marks the spot where I turned around.
Heading downhill is much more fun. I stopped at one location after another to take pictures. Even though there aren’t many turnouts, you can stop in the middle of the road with relative safety, since there is so little traffic on Nacimiento Road.
Another stop, looking north…
… and another viewpoint.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, through the Nacimiento Road area: