a hiker’s paradise: big sur

Last weekend I planned a trip to Big Sur for my boyfriend’s birthday. We stayed in a darling boutique hotel (Glen Oaks – I’d highly recommend it) and did tons of hiking. Be warned – Big Sur is not for you if you don’t enjoy hiking.

I’d never been to Big Sur before and I have to say, there’s quite an eclectic mix of people. We saw older couples sipping wine, 20-somethings in relatively large groups, and a number of rastas. The beauty of tree lines meeting the ocean appeal to a lot of different people, I guess.

We drove down from San Francisco. It was an easy drive and breathtaking once you get into Carmel. Here is a shot I took from the car as we approached the Bixby Bridge:

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Our first stop was Andrew Molera State Park. We decided to head into the mountains instead of the taking the more popular path down to the beach because you have to cross a river (which was unfortunately flooded) on the way to the beach. At first we were disappointed that we would miss the beach, but this view made up for it:

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We also did some hiking in Pfeiffer:

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We hiked up to Pfeiffer Falls (pretty but nothing spectacular) and then backtracked and took the Valley Vista trail. The latter takes you further up the mountain and has a better view. Here we are on the way up!

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Next time we plan on going to Julia Pfeiffer State Park – from what I heard, it has a more traditionally Big Sur landscape. That is, you can see more of the ocean from the trails.

All in all, Big Sur is definitely a worthwhile trip. The scenery is unbeatable! However, it is a relatively pricey destination. If you plan on picnicking, I’d buy groceries on the drive to Big Sur instead of in Big Sur. And you should fill up your gas tank elsewhere – we saw gas prices ranging from $4.79-$4.99/gallon. Pretty ludicrous. You can expect the same price inflation at restaurants too. Before you get too riled up about the cost, remember that you’re mostly paying for the views and the ambiance. One of which you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.