Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail

Big Sur, California

based on 18 reviews



18.96 miles

Elevation Gain

7339 ft

Route Type



Added by Blake Maitoza

Take a scenic 20 mile hike (roundtrip) along the Pine Ridge Trail to 3 hot springs sitting next to the Big Sur River.

The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you're really moving.

The trail is moderately challenging, you'll cross the river twice - be careful in the winter and spring months, when the water runs fast. If it looks too fast, we don't recommend trying to cross. In the last 0.5 miles, you'll have to scramble down rocks to get to the hot springs. If you're reading this and thinking that 20 miles in one day isn't for you, it's cool, there are 3 hike in campgrounds, which are closer to the hot springs: Terrace Creek (about 5 miles in), Barlow Flat (3 miles from the hot springs and the largest campground on the trail), and Sykes Campground (right near the springs). Fires are not allowed in these campgrounds during the summer months. There is one toilet along the route, and by toilet, we mean an exposed wooden box with a hole in it. Pro Tip: the hot springs only comfortably seat 4-5 people. It's best to go during the off-season (not summer) and to get on the trail as early as possible.

Be sure to check the Forest Service site for fire restrictions and necessary permits. 

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Hot Springs

Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail Reviews

Great backpacking trip with my older brother.. We went the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so it wasn't crowded. Be careful for the Poison Oak! We both got it pretty bad after the two day trip.

So beautiful! Go during the week to avoid the crowds and watch for poison oak - it was everywhere... Also, leave some room in your back so that you can pack out more trash then you brought in since this trail does get LOTS of use. We did the full 10 miles up the first day and camped at Sykes the first night, hiked back to Terrace Creek (~5 miles back down) and camped there the second night, then back to Big Sur Station the next day. It was a good split that gave us time to enjoy the hot springs before next day's campers arrived that afternoon and take it a little easier on the way back.

Extremely crowded & lackluster compared to the rest of the spectacular Ventana Wilderness. If you simply can't live with "hot" springs, please visit this page before you go-

Extremely crowded & lackluster compared to the rest of the spectacular Ventana Wilderness. If you simply can't live with "hot" springs, please visit this page before you go-

One of the best hikes I've done.

Definitely bring a water filter, especially if it's hot out, if you only have a 1-liter bottle with you. We didn't plan so well, and we ended up rationing our water for several hours on the way back. It gets hot out there! I've learned from this mistake...

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Pine Ridge, North Coast Ridge Loop

Camp at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Hike to Pfeiffer Falls

Big Sur River Gorge

Pfeiffer Beach

Camp at Ventana Campground, Big Sur