Exploring Big Sur


I’ve heard so many people say great things about Big Sur, so I’ve always wanted to go. Whenever my family visited San Francisco, I would ask if we could pass through Big Sur along the way, but I guess driving through the Pacific Coastal Highway (PCH) was not as easy and convenient, compared to passing through the 5.

After 5 years of living here in California, I was finally able to visit this place, and despite the nauseous drive along the PCH, I had the best time of my life.

Our big group of 11 camped at Big Sur Campgrounds & Cabins, a privately owned campground which features tall redwood trees all around, as well as a flowing river where you can take a dip. They also have a basketball court, a playground, and clean bathrooms with hot showers! (Oh yes!)

bixby bridge bixby bridge big surThe very first thing on our agenda was to visit the Bixby Bridge, so from the campground we drove up North until we saw this famous and iconic arch bridge in Big Sur. We parked along the side and explored the area.

After spending a good amount of time taking lots of pictures of the historic bridge, we finally decided to move forward with our agenda, which was to hike the Creamery Meadow Trail towards Molera Beach.

creamery meadows hike creamery meadows view molera beach big sur molera beachThis trail is an easy 2-mile round trip hike which features the Big Sur River and a beautiful field of flowers, plants, and trees. At the end of the hike you get to relax and unwind in Molera Beach.

My favorite thing about this hike was probably crossing the river, mainly because we did not expect it at all, and we all had to somehow help each other cross without getting knocked off by the current. The water was quite deep too, it went all the way up to my thighs! I wasn’t prepared and didn’t bring waterproof shoes/sandals, so I had to go barefoot, which made it a lot harder because the rocks at the bottom of the river were painful and slippery to step on.

big sur river crossingAfter the hike we took a break, had late lunch, and rested for a bit at our campsite. By 4:30pm, we made our way to Pfeiffer State Park for one last hiking trip before we ended our day.

We hiked through redwood trees all the way to see Pfeiffer Falls. Although we expected to see a huge 60-feet waterfall, we were kind of disappointed that the water was not gushing. We left the area feeling unfulfilled, so we took a detour and went all the way up to the Valley View Trail for more exploration.

redwood trees hiking big sur big sur birdpfeiffer fallsvalley view big surThe view from up there was very nice, so I’m so glad everyone pushed for it, despite our tired legs. We sat for a bit, admired the sunset and the beautiful view of the valley below. It was the perfect end to our first day in Big Sur.

We headed back to our campsite afterwards. Freshened up, sat by the campfire for hotdogs and a good share of stories, and eventually retired inside our tents.

The next day came, and it was time to pack up our stuff and head back to LA. We all wanted to check out a couple more places before going straight to LA, but the lack of service up there made it hard for us to find locations we were aiming for. A topo map would’ve been useful!

At the last minute, I remembered that there was one more famous waterfall we could check out along the coast, and just as the name popped up in my head “McWay Falls!”, we all saw the sign which said McWay Canyon Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. So we immediately stopped the car and looked for the trail.

To our surprise, it was only a 5-minute walk to the view point, so the quick, last-minute stop was totally called for. It was nice to see this 80-feet waterfall even from afar, it looked gorgeous with the crystal blue water of the ocean, and the cove. I kind of wish mermaids existed, that would have made it a picture-perfect scene!

mcway falls big surOur last stop was the Elephant Seal Beach in Piedras Blancas. I enjoyed this place. There were a lot of seals on shore, and most of them were asleep. It was quite funny to watch them all just scratching themselves, stretching out, our climbing on top of one another in order to get back out into the ocean. They are the cutest!

big sur seals elephant sealsThis whole trip is one that I would treasure forever. It was great that I got to share this experience with people who are just as passionate about the outdoors as I am. From driving through the scenic PCH, to all of our grand adventures in Big Sur, to even some of the misadventures we encountered (our car’s tire popped in the middle of the freeway), it was mainly good vibes all the way.

redwood trees big sur bixby bridge panorama

I’m pretty sure I’ll head back here again soon. There are still so many other things I want to see, so a return trip to Big Sur is definitely in the works!

xx Sassy

What other places should I check out in Big Sur the next time I visit? If you have suggestions or ideas, I’d love to hear them!

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      1. Thank you, Rachel! Big Sur is a definite must-visit when you’re in California 🙂

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