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Cone Peak in Big Sur (Sea to Sky Backpacking Route)

Big Sur, California

4.4/5
based on 14 reviews

Details

Distance

19.72 miles

Elevation Gain

7484 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Josiah Roe

Cone Peak is the most spectacular coastal mountain in the Lower 48 States. At 5,155' high and less than 3 miles from the ocean, the average gradient from summit to sea is 33%, which is steeper than Mt. Whitney to Owens Valley.

While you can make a day-hike out of it by driving up the gorgeous Sur-Nacimiento Road from Highway 1 to the Coast Ridge Road and take a 2 mile trail to the summit with 1300' of elevation gain (4 miles roundtrip), the more adventurous types do a Sea to Sky, starting at Kirk Creek Campground and up Vicente Flat Trail (23 miles roundtrip). You can camp at Vicente Flat 5 miles in. Another 2.5 miles up and you'll connect with the Coast Ridge Road, take a left and then up the Cone Peak trail to the summit.

You can camp on the summit if you like, near the old fire lookout. Unless you're during the week or in winter, don't expect to be alone for the hike.

For current fire closures and conditions, check http://calfireinformation.weeb... and http://calfire.ca.gov/. Illegally entering the area during closures can result in large fines.

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Features

Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Did the trip in two days and camped atop Cone Peak. Beautiful sunset and sunrise included. Only saw a few other hikers, but our trip in late December had no water above Vicente Flat. Be sure to fill up there and remember to LEAVE NO TRACE.

I drove up to the cone peak trailhead, where you will find a freshly cleared (10-28-17) and moderately difficult trail up to the summit. The road up from the main road is something to behold, just wide enough for a standard car and in very good shape as of 10-28-17. Took me 1 hr up and 45 min down from the trailhead. Very cool spot.

We took a group of students here last spring. Everyone was so amazed at the views that they (momentarily) forgot about the steep incline! We did screen participants to make sure that the entire group would be able to handle the physical exertion. The elevation gain is not for the faint of heart.

Leave No Trace

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

Nearby

Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

Hike from Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flat Trail

Surf Willow Creek

Camping at Limekiln State Park

3 Branches of the Limekiln

Goat Camp via Twitchwell Flat Use Trail