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The Best Backpacking in Big Sur

Looking for the best backpacking in Big Sur? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Big Sur. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top backpacking spots in and near Big Sur

  • Big Sur, California

    Pine Ridge, North Coast Ridge Loop

    2.0
    33.45 mi / 11388 ft gain
    If you are looking to do some backpacking in the Big Sur area, you've come to the right place. This post shares a suggested 4-day backpacking loop in the Ventana Wilderness that will offer a bit of everything - challenging hiking with a healthy does of elevation, beautiful primitive camping amon...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail

    4.2
    18.96 mi / 7339 ft gain
    The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you're really moving. The trail is moderately challenging, you'll cross the river t...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike Coast Ridge Road to Terrace Creek Trail

    8 mi / 1889 ft gain
    This winding path takes you high above the ocean and some wooded areas provide shade along the way. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must be kept on leash. The trail is open year-round but can be a bit muddy after heavy rains.  Turn off of Cabrillo Highway onto Coast Ridge Road, park, and head up!
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Pat Springs via Skinners Ridge

    3.5
    13.18 mi / 3645 ft gain
    Backpacking to Pat Springs is a way to see Big Sur and the San Lucia mountains from a perspective that few get to experience. The Ventana Wilderness is rugged and remote, yet Pat Springs is one of the most beautiful campgrounds around that will allow you to take in this amazing terrain.  To get ...
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  • Greenfield, California

    Jack's Cabin

    11.13 mi / 3130 ft gain
    Jack's Cabin is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Greenfield, California.
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  • Greenfield, California

    Junipero Serra Peak

    11.15 mi / 3691 ft gain
    Junipero Serra Peak is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Greenfield, California.
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  • Big Sur, California

    Goat Camp via Twitchwell Flat Use Trail

    5.0
    9.2 mi / 3852 ft gain
    To find this trailhead, head down Highway 1 towards Limekiln State Park Campground. Between Lucia and Limekiln, there should be a shoulder off the side of the road to park overnight. Cross the street to the trailhead of Twitchwell Flat Use Trail. Bear in mind that there is abundant poison oak alo...
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  • Sand City, California

    Bikepack Highway 1: Monterey to San Luis Obispo

    130 mi / 9000 ft gain
    Please be aware that this is NOT a route for beginning cyclist. It is a very hilly route and you will be sharing the road with cars for the entire route, the shoulder is sometimes very slim. This should not scare you from doing the trip, just be aware of the risks and dangers you might be facing....
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  • Big Sur, California

    Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

    4.7
    Campsite:There is nothing quite like driving or biking along US-1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Make sure you get a chance to do the drive during the day so that you can see all that Big Sur has to offer. Be careful when pulling off especially onto the shoulder and never stop on a curve in the road...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike from Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flat Trail

    10.9 mi / 3454 ft gain
    The Vicente Flat Trail is well kept and wide, with many campsites at the end. This trail is very close to Cone Peak, and is used for mountain biking, trail running, birding, and nature trips. 
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  • Big Sur, California

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

    4.4
    19.72 mi / 7484 ft gain
    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 u...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Cruickshank Trail and Salmon Creek

    11.63 mi / 3734 ft gain
    Cruickshank Trail and Salmon Creek is a point-to-point trail where you may see wildflowers located near San Simeon, California.
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike to Upper Cruickshank Camp

    5.2 mi / 1564 ft gain
    Park on the shoulder of Cabrillo Highway and begin your ascent! Once the trail turns inland, you can hike down to a river for a break by the rushing water (this is a good place to refill waters - don't forget a pump or a filter). Once you get to Upper Cruikshank, descend down to the river and fin...
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  • Paicines, California

    Condor Gulch Overlook Loop via Peaks View Area

    5.74 mi / 1490 ft gain
    Condor Gulch Overlook Loop via Peaks View Area is a loop trail where you may see wildflowers located near Paicines, California.
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  • Big Sur, California

    Salmon Creek Trailhead to Buckeye Camp

    6.91 mi / 2782 ft gain
    Salmon Creek Trailhead to Buckeye Camp is an out-and-back trail where you may see beautiful wildflowers located near San Simeon, California.
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  • Big Sur, California

    Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce & Estrella Camps

    4.5
    6.07 mi / 1919 ft gain
    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...
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