Enjoy swimming in the pools of Salmon Creek Falls (over 100 feet) and ocean views on this Big Sur hike.

Feel free to hike Salmon Creek Trail at your own pace – you can choose to turn back at any point, or at the Spruce (2 miles in) or Estrella (3.25 miles in) sites. The trail leads to open vistas of the coast, giving stunning views of the cliffs and ocean.

Around 2 miles in, follow the fork to the left to arrive at Spruce point. If you chose to continue on, head to Estrella Camp. This last stretch is highly recommended – the trail climbs higher and higher, offering glimpses of rocky pools and waterfalls, and eventually ending at a small meadow with a campsite.

Another advantage of Salmon Creek is the option to end (or begin) your hike with a swim at the bottom of Salmon Creek Falls (over 100 feet). At the bottom of the trail, follow signs to the left, instead of towards Salmon Creek Trail. The beautiful waterfall and pools are a great place to take relax and have a picnic.

Driving Directions: The trailhead is located at a pull-off of Highway 1, about 2.5 hours south of Monterey, or north of San Luis Obispo.

Pack List

  • Water (no sources on trail)
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Bathing suit
  • Camping necessities
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 1300 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Cool spot!

This is a great, quick stop on Hwy 1! The area around the falls is a great area to explore.

Quick Hike, Great Waterfall

A short hike uphill and you are at the waterfall in no time. A gorgeous waterfall and Creek in a very peaceful setting. Hike up to the Tom of the falls to see tranquil pools that spill into the waterfall!

Perfect stop off point

Most people who drive Hwy 1 are looking out to the ocean and stop at many of the pull offs to feast on the view and stretch their bones. But don't forget to look inland about 5 miles south of Gorda by the Sea and you'll see the waterfall right from the road. Only 100 yards or so from the highway the trail will lead you right to the bottom of this beautiful fall!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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