10 Natural Wonders in Big Sur

The coffee's hot and the engine's running. Get ready for a road trip north along California's Highway 1

By Google Arts & Culture

Ragged Point

Ragged Point marks the start of our trip north. Big Sur is famous for its beaches, cliffs, forests, and creeks, and the ones here are the southernmost. Keep a look out for wildlife, including elephant seals, sea otters, and birds such as the Western snowy plover.

Salmon Creek Falls

Not far from Ragged Point, follow the rocky trail inland and uphill to find the Salmon Creek Falls. Above you, two rivers join and cascade 120ft down into the pool below. While you're here, why not take a dip in the refreshing waters?

Cone Peak

Take in a view of land and sea from the summit of Cone Peak, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Los Padres National Forest to the east. The trail starts down on the beach, and with plenty of campsites along the way, you can take your time.

Limekiln Falls

The Limekiln State Park is named, perhaps unsurprisngly, for the 19th-century kilns found among the ancient redwood forests. Discover these and more on the trail that leads from the highway up to the Limekiln Falls.

McWay Falls

Take a bird's eye view of the McWay Falls. Found in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, just off Highway 1, these 80ft falls flow year-round from the cliff tops straight into the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Pfeiffer Beach

This unspoilt beach is famous with locals for the unmistakable sight of Pfeiffer Keyhole Rock and for its distinctive patches of purple sand. Head off the road just south of Big Sur Station to find this secluded gem.

Molera Point

There's miles of beaches, bluffs, and hiking trails waiting to be explored at the Andrew Molera State Park. Take the path from the beach out to Molera Point and look back on the rising Santa Lucia Mountains.

Bixby Creek

The bridge spanning Bixby Creek is one of California's most famous landmarks, but the landscape is just as magnificent, described as, "the most spectacular meeting of ocean and land in the entire United States".

Soberanes Point

Soberanes Point in the Garrapata State Park is popular with visitors for its abundant wildflowers. The shoreline here is fairly rocky, but this makes for excellent birdwatching and seal-spotting.

China Lookout

Well, this is it, buddy. China Lookout marks the last stop on our trip. North of here lies the Malpaso Creek, which marks the end of Big Sur. Further on you'll find Point Lobos and Carmel-by-the-Sea.

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