Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway


A few miles north of Cambria, the Pacific Coast Highway starts to climb, and suddenly you’re in the Big Sur Mountains — that dramatic stretch of coastline where the cliffs plunge directly into the ocean.  Thank goodness someone saw fit to try to squeeze in a road.

I took this picture at the very first turnout — the same place I stopped on my trip up the coast in 2004.  This is a great place to view the coast to the south.

Mile after mile, you’ll find one place after another to stop and enjoy the view.  Sometimes there’s a wide turnout, other times you’ll only find enough room to safely squeeze one car off the highway.

Keep an eye out for this spot, which includes a rare chance for a short hike on the west side of the road.

There’s a small hill in between the highway and the cliff.  A well-worn trail takes you to the top of the hill…

… for a view of the road to the north…

… and a look back at the subtle curves to the south.   You can also follow the trail on the ocean side of the hill, providing a spot that isolates you from the road just enough, that it’s just you and the ocean.

About 15 minutes later, I thought I had found another similar spot, with a trail that led out to a point, for a view of the coast.  This trail was too overgrown, and I didn’t make it much further than this point.

About 10 minutes later, I spotted this step-ladder crossing that provided an easy way to cross the fence on the ocean side of the highway.  That’s as good as an invitation, in my book.

On the other side of the fence, a trail led out to this view of some jagged rocks, jutting out into the ocean from the shore.

When I got back into the car, I noticed a perfect scene in my rear-view mirror.  Then again, along here, it would be tough to find a spot that isn’t worth photographing. in any direction.

Keep heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway.  Ahead is Nacimiento Road: the only road that cut across the Big Sur Mountains to US 101 — just in case you’re looking for an escape.

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