Outbound Collective logo

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

Big Sur, California

4.5/5
based on 15 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.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File

Features

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

Reviews

I did this as a 3-day out and back, spending both nights at Vicente Flats. The view on the first day is great, but it’s nothing compared to the views on the way up from Vicente to Cone on the second day. I was glad I had a day pack to get me up and down to Cone peak because the ascent was rough, especially the final 1/4 mile. Very enjoyable all around

i did this as my first solo trip and it couldn’t have been better. the trail was nearly empty so i got to have my solitude, but the campsites were always busy so i felt no fear being alone. views, people, and the wildflowers were all so beautiful, will definitely do this again one day:)

We backpacked the "lollipop" loop over memorial day weekend, in three days. This hike definitely was not easy, as the first two days were mostly uphill and it rained on us the second day. There was poison oak everywhere!!! If you are severely allergic, you may not want to do this hike. Usually it was sticking out onto the trail from one side, but there were a few times where it was sticking out onto the trail from both sides, making it inevitable to not touch!! We used Tecnu every night on our hands and arms. Please check out my video of this trip on Youtube "Backpacking Hwy 1 to Cone Peak by Big Sur" by Kiki's Adventures if you would like to see what the trail is like! Day 1: Parked across from Kirk Creek Campground and hiked through Vicinte Flat Campground and up to Goat Camp for the night (~12 miles). There was plenty of water at Vicinte Flat Campground when we were there and there was also a waterfall right before you get to Goat Camp. Day 2: We hiked from Goat Camp up to Cone Peak and back down to Vicinte Flat Campground for the night (~10 miles). Day 3: We hiked from Vivinte Flat Campground back down to Hwy 1 where we parked our car across from Kirk Creek Campground.

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