Camp on Prewitt Ridge

Added by Clare Healy

Enjoy dispersed camping in the Los Padres National Forest. Prewitt Ridge offers up indescribable Big Sur coastline from above.  Please remember to pack all of your trash out.

After much time in Big Sur, it became quickly apparent that Prewitt Ridge is the crown jewel of camping in the area. It has even been described as "the most beautiful car camping spot on god's green earth" and that doesn't do it justice.

While Prewitt Ridge is an officially designated campground in the Los Padres National Forest, it's "dispersed camping," meaning there's no reservations, no toilets, and no running water. But don't let that discourage you. These are the reasons why PR remains a hidden gem and allows campers immense space and notable views, even on busy holiday weekends.

Let me start with the reason no one goes there - Nacimiento-Fergusson road. You have to climb it to get to the fire road that allows access to the campsite and it's just not the kind of road that most people would consider easy. It is a dirt road that winds its way along too many switchbacks to count until to part ways to drive the ridge road that dead ends into the campground. Although a bit time consuming to drive the road safely, I've seen every type of car do it (even Honda Civics).

Once up there, you won't want to leave. From hiking trails to open space and often friendly neighbors, this site is a camper's dream. Make sure you take extra water, food, and firewood. There's a bunch of spaces available, most with the most epic views. Look for one with a metal fire ring and maybe even a picnic table.

Look up the current sunset time and try and arrive with time to spare. I have never seen better.

Tips:
  • Bring a LOT of water. The air is very dry. You wont get another water source unless you drive down the mountain. Bring a gallon per person per day.
  • Make sure to have at least half a tank of gas before you go up there. The closest Gas station is 16 miles South in Gorda.
  • Try to allot enough day time to actually get up to the site.
  • Is it fire season? Check to ensure if fires are allowed or if you are restricted to propane stoves.
  • Be prepared for the weather. In late May, it was in the high 50s down on highway 1, but in the high 70s, low 80s up on the Ridge.
  • Be sure to pack out everything you brought in!
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Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

about 2 months ago

Jessica B

Must be nice to travel during Covid, Jessica B! Prewitt used to be beautiful until careless yuppies ruined it with human waste and trash

Incredible, but only for appropriate vehicles

Hands down the most incredible place I've ever camped. BUT - not for Honda Civics. Both mornings we were there, unequipped vehicles got stuck and held up an entire line of other vehicles trying to leave the campground while someone else generously towed them out. Come with 4WD, high clearance, and appropriate tires, or don't come. Please don't be THAT person.

Help us save the beauty of Prewitt Ridge!

Hi - We are locals who live on Prewitt Ridge & Alm's Ridge in Big Sur, Ca. An amazing place for hang gliders, campers & hikers. Our unsurpassed views & beauty has had an explosion of guests that like to enjoy the beauty of our National forest. Unfortunately, the road is suffering terribly with all the traffic on it. The Forestry has no budget for the road. However Fort Hunter Liggitt has actually stepped up & are currently cleaning out water bars & grading the road. We desperately need rock & rock base but have no funds. We want everyone to enjoy the scenic beauty we have to offer. We have started a Go Fund Me campaign to help restore & maintain the road. We are asking group, clubs & organizations to help contribute, share on FB, Instagram,Twitter & other friends and family who love our natural forest & who would like to help keep this area accessible for all of us. Please consider helping us. We thank you in advance for any donations. Everything helps....and remember to enjoy but leave no trace! Help us save ourselves from ourselves. You love Big Sur, now please write the check, the second most visited place in USA. We need you now! Thanks - Colleen Wilson (you can find me on FB) & Tom Collins Go Fund Me: (you'll have to search as the form won't insert a link!) Click here to support Big Sur Road Restoration - Help enjoy the beauty! organized by Tom Collins

**Lost Go Pro on Road to campsite**

Fantastic campsite but I lost my go on the way down the road. It is a hero 6 black ( black case and black go pro) and would have a bunch of motorcycle footage on it. I am more concerned about retrieving the footage than the actual go pro. If someone finds it please contact me at reecepardell@gmail.com or 403.837.6717 and i will give you a healthy cash reward for your efforts.

Not accessible for most vehicles

There is a section of the dirt road (The Coast Ridge Trail FR) about 2 miles after the turn-off from Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and about 2 miles from the campsites, that is impossible for most vehicles. Myself and several other vehicles, including 4x4 SUVs, had to turn around, so unless you have an off-road really high clearance vehicle/truck that can handle deep washboard ruts and massive potholes surrounded by loose sand, I highly recommend not attempting it. A Honda Civic would definitely not make it unless this stretch of the road is repaired. There are plenty of nice spots along the Coast Ridge Road to camp, however. I've previously camped along the Plaskett Creek Ridge Road, and the panoramic views from the campsite were absolutely breathtaking, and the road is more navigable and accessible with plenty of spacious places to camp with ocean views.

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