Explore! Big Sur Country: A Guide to Exploring the Great Outdoors


From the Carmel River to Hearst's Castle, author Barry Parr describes the region along spectacular Highway One—a region well known to motorists, who comprise the majority of the likely readers of this book. Aside from describing the parks, lore, history, and scenic riches, the author gives strong emphasis to the many day-hikes both from the coast and interior roads, and lesser emphasis on selected backpacking routes mainly in the Ventana Wilderness. There are sections on the best beaches, biking routes, ...

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From the Carmel River to Hearst's Castle, author Barry Parr describes the region along spectacular Highway One—a region well known to motorists, who comprise the majority of the likely readers of this book. Aside from describing the parks, lore, history, and scenic riches, the author gives strong emphasis to the many day-hikes both from the coast and interior roads, and lesser emphasis on selected backpacking routes mainly in the Ventana Wilderness. There are sections on the best beaches, biking routes, equestrian opportunities, wildlife viewing (especially condors and marine mammals), kayaking and scuba, and some four-wheeling on the interior mountain roads.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762735686
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2007
  • Series: Exploring Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 960,401
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Barry Parr is well situated to enjoy the best of Northern California's outdoor and urban riches. The Sierra Nevada, Big Sur, San Francisco, and the California Coast are among the favorite subjects of his many books and magazine articles. Now a high school English teacher in the East Bay Area, Parr still enjoys backpack trips in the wilds of California.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps     xiii
Acknowledgments     xiv
Introduction to Big Sur     1
Lay of the Land     5
How to Use This Book     7
The Maps     8
When to Go     9
Public Land and Water at Big Sur     12
Driving Highway 1     15
What to Know Before You Go     17
A Straightforward Drive Down Highway 1     21
Carmel River to Malpaso Creek     21
Malpaso Creek to Palo Colorado Road     23
Palo Colorado Road to Point Sur Light Station     23
Point Sur Light Station to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park     25
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to the Coast Gallery     27
The Coast Gallery to Esalen     28
Esalen to Lucia     28
Lucia to Gorda     29
Gorda to San Carpoforo Creek     31
San Carpoforo Creek to Main Street, Cambria     32
Highway 1 Mileage Log     33
Destinations Along Highway 1     37
Parks     38
Carmel River State Beach     38
Point Lobos State Reserve     39
Garrapata State Park     42
Rocky Point Open Space     43
Point SurLight Station State Historic Park     43
Andrew Molera State Park     45
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park     47
Big Sur Station (Multiagency Facility)     49
Pfeiffer Beach     50
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park     50
Limekiln State Park     52
Kirk Creek Beach     52
Mill Creek     52
Pacific Valley     53
Sand Dollar Beach     53
Willow Creek     53
Redwood Gulch     54
Salmon Creek Falls     54
William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach     54
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument     54
San Simeon State Park     58
Resorts and Lodging     60
Big Sur Center     61
Post Hill to Deetjen's     63
Big Sur's South Coast     65
Restaurants     66
Big Sur Center     67
From Loma Mar to Lafler Canyon     68
The South Coast     69
Camping Along Highway 1     71
Driving the Back Roads     75
Back Roads from Highway 1     77
Palo Colorado Road     77
Old Coast Road      78
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road     78
Cone Peak Road     81
South Coast Ridge Road (22S05)     82
Plaskett Ridge Road (23S02)     83
Willow Creek Road (23S01)     83
McKern Road (20S05)     85
Back Roads of the Northern Santa Lucia Range     85
Cachagua Road     86
Tassajara Road     87
Arroyo Seco Road     88
The San Antonio Valley     90
San Antonio Valley Route     90
Back Road Camping     96
Hiking the Trails of Big Sur     99
Backcountry Hazards     101
Selected Hikes     104
Trailheads North of Big Sur     104
Cyprus Grove Trail     104
Bird Rock Trail     105
Soberanes Creek-Rocky Ridge Loop     106
Jackson Camp     107
Pico Blanco     107
Mount Carmel     108
Ventana Double Cone     109
Trailheads in the Big Sur River Valley     109
Headlands Trail     109
Molera Beach     110
Pfeiffer Ridge Loop     111
Pfeiffer Falls-Valley View Loop     111
Buzzards Roost Trail      112
Mount Manuel     112
Sykes Hot Springs     114
Coast Ridge-Terrace Creek Loop     114
Trailheads Between Big Sur and Lucia     115
DeAngulo Trail     115
Partington Landing     116
Tanbark-Tin House Loop     116
Ewoldsen Trail     117
Trailheads Between Lucia and Gorda     117
The Limekilns     117
Limekiln Falls     117
Vicente Flat Trail     119
Cone Peak Loop     119
Trailheads South of Gorda     121
Cruickshank Trail     121
Buckeye Camp     121
Spruce Creek Camp     122
Trailheads Near the Carmel Valley     122
Bluff Camp     122
Danish Creek Camp     123
Tassajara Road Trailheads     124
Anastasia Canyon     124
Pine Valley     124
The Windcaves     126
Horse Pasture Loop     126
Strawberry Camp     128
Arroyo Seco Trailheads     128
The Gorge Trail to Horse Bridge     128
Little Santa Lucia Loop     130
Arroyo Seco to Tassajara Monastery     131
Indians Road     131
Trailheads Near the San Antonio Valley     132
Arroyo Seco Trail to the Coast Ridge     132
Junipero Serra Peak (Sta'yokale)     132
Escondido Campground to the Arroyo Seco     133
Long Backpack Routes     133
Arroyo Seco-Lost Valley Loop     134
Carmel River Loops     134
North Ventana Loop     134
Coast Ridge Route     134
Grand Ventana Loop     135
Creek Hiking     135
Hiking Books     137
More Outdoor Recreation Fun     139
Stream Fun     139
River Paddling     140
Cycling     141
Road Touring     141
Mountain Biking     143
Horseback Riding     145
Reservoir Sports     146
Hunting and Fishing     147
Hunting     147
Fishing     147
Ocean Recreation     149
Kayaking     150
Diving     151
Surfing     152
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding     153
Big Sur Nature     155
Geology     156
The Formation of the Santa Lucia Range      156
A Short Geology Tour of Highway 1     158
Rockhounding Big Sur     160
Jade Cove     161
Big Sur Habitats     163
Deep Ocean     165
Rocky Shore     166
Coastal Scrub     166
Chaparral     166
Grasslands and Oak Savanna     169
Streamside Woodlands and Redwood Forest     170
Dry-Slope Woodlands and Forest     172
Wildlife-Watching     173
Terrestrial Wildlife     173
Marine Mammals     175
Otters     175
Sea Lions and Seals     176
Dolphins and Whales     179
Birding Big Sur     181
Birding the Ocean     181
Birding Highway 1     182
Birding the Back Roads     186
Nature Reserves     189
Federal Lands     189
State Lands     189
Monterey County Lands     189
Private Land Trusts     190
Natural History Publications     191
Big Sur History     193
The Original Inhabitants     195
Hispanic Influences     199
The Spanish      199
Visiting the Missions     202
Mission Carmel     202
Mission San Antonio     204
Mission San Luis Obispo     207
Mission San Miguel     207
Mission Soledad     207
The Mexican and Californio Era     208
The American Era     210
In Search of Old-Time Big Sur     214
Homesteads     214
Dog-Hole Ports     217
Modern Times     218
Highway 1     218
The Hearst Legacy     220
Tourists, Beats, Hippies, Yuppies     222
Reading Local History     223
Big Sur Culture     225
Big Sur Lore     225
The Ventana     226
The Dark Watchers     226
Point Lobos Spiritualism     226
Big Sur Shipwrecks     227
Music in the Air     227
UFOs     228
Al Clark's Hidden Gold Mine     228
New Age Big Sur     228
Big Sur Literature     228
Robinson Jeffers     229
Henry Miller     230
Big Sur Literary Links     231
Big Sur Movie Links     234
Art and Craft Galleries     237
Spiritual and Contemplative Retreats     239
Esalen Institute     239
New Camaldoli Hermitage     241
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center     242
Further Reading     244
Highway 1 Mileage Chart     245
Index     247
About the Author     257
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