Our original plan for the holiday was to drive back to LA from Monterey down the famously beautiful coastal Route 1. However due to a pretty epic landslide
in 2017 the road is still closed so instead of a day in Big Sur then stopping for the night further south we decided to day trip it to Big Sur from Monterey. Sadly landslides had also taken out lots of trails, including the Ewoldsen Trail we had planned to do so we came up with a new plan involving a short hike and several scenic stops.
After breakfast we set off down Route 1 passing Point Lobos and contining to our first stop - the photogenic Bixby Creek Bridge. It was pretty good but not a patch on the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or Ironbridge! We then continud to Big Sur, passing Andrew Molera State Park we first stopped at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to do the 4.8mile Buzzard's Roost Hike.This was a lovely hike, althoug I managed to twist my knee somehow which then ached with evrey downwards slope! The path switchbacked up a hill through tan oaks and bay trees to great views over the coast from Pfeiffer Ridge.
After this hike we crossed the road and did the 2 mile Valley View Trail, although the side path to Pfeiffer Falls was closed. We sat at the bench at Valley View eating lunch with a beautiful view down Big Sur Valley. We then headed further down Route 1 to Julia Pfeiffer State park and Partington Cove. A steep track downhill lead from the layby parking to a 60 foot tunnel leading to what was once a secluded cove used for smuggling bootleg liqour!
A little further south we stopped to visit the McWay Falls - an 80-foot waterfall that drops directly onto the sandy beach. We couldn't get all the way to the view point due to a landslide but we got far enough to get decent views of the falls. Pretty, but from that angle less spectacular than many other falls I've seen... Although between Yosemite, Iceland and UK holidays I have seen a lot of waterfalls!
We then left the state parks to explore other parts of Los Padres National Forest. We missed the parking for the Pacific Valley BluffsTrail as the sign we were expecting was absent. After a brief stop at Sand Dollar
Beach - the largest crescent of sandy beach in Big Sur - we headed down too Jade Cove. This trail was again hard to find but we did & headed down to the green cove. Another smaller landside had taken out parts of the path but we made it most of the way down without falling over the cliff or into the poison oak! Was nice having that walk all to ourselves!
There was a brief discussion about continuing south too see if we could see the big landslide but opted for turning back north and visiting the Pacific Valley Bluffs. Described by the hiking website as the most scenic short coastal trail and I'm inclined to agree. We picked our way carefully over the barb wire fence (the footpath gap being covered in poison oak!) & along the narrow, poison oak lined track with beautiful views both ways along the coast.
It was getting late as we headed back so we decided to stop at a pizza place on the way back into Monterey. It was pretty standard pizza, but tasty enough with an all-you-can-eat side salad. We then drove around Sunset Drive/Ocean View Boulevard to admire
the sunset over the Pacific Ocean (as well as some lovely houses!) before heading back to the hotel for our last night in America.
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