Big Sur Hiking
Traverse the California Countryside
The geographic diversity of California’s Central Coast region makes it an ideal place to explore on foot. From secluded beaches to majestic mountains to verdant forests, the landscape surrounding Big Sur offers a wide variety of beautiful vistas and one-of-a-kind environments to experience. With an array of easy, moderate and challenging Big Sur hiking trails to traverse, there’s never a dull moment at Ventana.
Popular Central Coast Hiking Trails:
Ventana Experience Guide
Create your own experience, download our experience guide and let your adventures begin.
Ventana Property Walk
variable distance – easy
An exploration of the gorgeous property is the best way to start any day at Ventana. Every day at 10am, a trained guide leads a one-hour walk around the property, providing historical context, interesting tidbits about the area, and information on the native wildlife.
Big Sur Hikes with Stephen Copeland
variable distance – moderate
Reserve a hike with the region’s premier local guide, Stephen Copeland, by contacting Ventana’s reception desk. Stephen, who has led hikes around Big Sur for more than three decades, is a natural storyteller with an encyclopedic knowledge of the area. Hikes include lunch. For current rates and more information, please inquire at the Ventana reception desk.
North Coast Ridge Road
5 miles – moderate
This intermediate hike departs from Ventana and travels around the Big Sur area to provide epic views of Ventana, Post Ranch and the Big Sur Lighthouse.
Cypress Grove Trail
0.8 miles – easy
This short hike takes you to Allan Memorial Grove, one of the last two remaining areas with native Monterey Cypress trees left in the world. These trees are intriguing pieces of the natural ecosystem, with low, crooked branches, and bright orange lichens covering their roots.
South Shore, Bird Island, South Plateau and Pine Ridge Trails
2.6 miles – easy
Combine four of the most popular trails in the area on this creative and scenic voyage to the south-facing shore of Point Lobos. This hike traverses various coves, inlets, kelp beds and wide beaches before returning to its beginning point on the South Shore Trail.
Soberanes Canyon and Rocky Ridge Trails
4.4 miles – challenging
This challenging canyon hike showcases groves filled with the world’s tallest living organism, the California Redwood. These famed trees are just part of what makes this hike appealing – the Big Sur coastline also comes into full view eventually.
2 miles – easy
Wind your way through the lush riparian habitat along the Big Sur River before checking out Cooper Cabin, the oldest standing structure in the town (built in 1861) and heading up to the Headlands Trail Junction, where you’ll see breathtaking views of the beach.
Pfeiffer Ridge Loop
7.4 miles – moderate
Big Sur’s best views and easiest climbs reside along the Pfeiffer Ridge Loop. This lengthy loop trail crosses the Big Sur River, heads down to the beach, and stops by a stellar vantage point for whale watching.
Pfeiffer Falls Trail
1.4 miles – easy
This brief out-and-back provides a short and not-so-steep way to access Pfeiffer Falls, a beautiful and hidden oasis complete with a stunning 60-foot waterfall.
Mount Manuel Trail –
10.8 miles – challenging
This trail is tough, but it has a great payoff: one of the most impressive views of the Ventana Wilderness. The steep, nearly 11-mile trail winds through some of the roughest terrain in the region.
5.7 miles – moderate
Follow McWay Creek for nearly six miles through the Big Sur region, taking in redwood forests, wonderful coastal views and even some rare California Condor sightings. This trail offers the quintessential Central Coast experience.
1 mile – easy
This short-yet-spectacular hike follows McWay Creek to McWay Falls, an impressive waterfall that plunges over an 80-foot precipice toward the sandy beach below.