For a more complete sense of what it's like to explore Big Sur, read my magazine feature, Backroading the 'Big South', published in Road & Track magazine's spinoff, Open Road.
LOCATION Monterey County’s northern Big Sur coast, inland from California’s famous coastal Highway 1 between Bixby Landing and Andrew Molera State Park. Google Map
|Bridge on Old Coast Road|
DIFFICULTY Easy on a good, often one-lane dirt road. Occasional tight, blind curves.
MAPS Benchmark Maps' California Road & Recreation Atlas, p. 82 (D-E, 1-2). California State Automobile Association's Monterey Bay (J-K, 1).
INFORMATION Contact Monterey County Public Works.
|Old Coast Road @ Bixby Bridge|
REST STOPS You’ll find camping, hiking and fishing at Andrew Molera State Park.
|Old Coast Road|
You wind along a ledge in Bixby Canyon and quickly enter the rugged northern end of the Santa Lucia Range not far west of the Ventana Wilderness. Climb a bit, then descend steeply into a deep, verdant canyon. About 2.8 miles from the bridge the road enters deep coastal forest, where shade and rays of sunlight create a patchwork on the roadbed.
At mile 3.2, where there’s room to pull over, you will feel cool and damp breezes passing like a whisper as a brook gurgles nearby. At mile 3.8, climb out of the forest to be greeted by sunshine and vistas of mountains and sea. Then descend steeply, rounding a number of blind curves and crossing two one-lane bridges. Soon you’re back on the highway.
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