Camp on Prewitt Ridge

Prewitt Ridge - Search Nearby - 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.

  • 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!


Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Stay Nearby

Big Sur, California

Big Sur Lodge

From $199/night

San Miguel, California

Enney Ranch

From $110/night

Pacific Grove, California

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds

From $176/night

Prunedale, California

Salinas / Monterey KOA


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Toilet Paper Is Litter

When you visit this area you will see what people have left, TOILET PAPER VERYWHERE. Its against the law to leave your toilet paper on top of the ground that makes it litter with fines up to $1000 for each piece/ handful you leave. The Forest Service wants you to pack it out DON'T LEAVE IT. Your suppose to dig a hole to shit in or purchase a pota potty for a couple hundred dollars and take it with you. There is a fine $ also for popping on top of the ground. That is sick!! You are also required to get a camp fire permit for both your camp fire when in season and for your camp stove. The Forest Service can and will be checking, you can get these on line either on their site or Google campfire permit

Worth the treck.

This is a little bit of a drive to get to, but well worth it! Went over a holiday weekend and it was packed, so make sure you get up there early, as the prime spots go fast! Also, make sure you pack out any waste, as tickets can be as much as $1000 for littering. Overall, great experience- definitely a Big Sur gem!


Quite possibly the best car campsite in the Lower 48 states, though I'm open to any suggestions on what places are better!