Description - Route One from Carmel south to the San Luis Obispo County line follows some of the most spectacular and highly scenic shoreline found along California's coast. Views include rugged canyons and steep sea cliffs, granite shorelines, sea lions and other marine life, windswept cypress trees, and majestic redwood forests. This byway also provides travelers with a lesson in California's rich Mission era and natural history. The primary goal of the byway is to preserve California's delicate and pristine coastal ecosystem for its natives, visitors and future generations while still providing opportunities to experience its wonder.
- A great way to learn about activities in the immediate area is to stop at Big Sur Multi-Agency Facility located on Route 1, Big Sur Coast Highway. It sits half a mile south of Pfeiffer / Big Sur State Park. This is a joint information center for CalTrans, Los Padres National Forest and California State Parks. The center is open every day from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Adventure Passes for the Southern California Forests are available here. See Contact Information for phone number.
The many cities, sights and attractions along Route 1, Big Sur Coast Highway:
Big Sur - Though recognized as a town on most road maps, Big Sur is more of an area than a town. The area contains a large camping area, while many inns, restaurants, and other small shops are found up and down corridor in the Big Sur area.
Carmel - The city of Carmel is situated in a forested area just off Highway One. Carmel is about five miles south of Monterey and 26 miles north of Big Sur.
Monterey - In its early days, Monterey was the capital of the Spanish territory of California, while Monterey Bay was an important port. The city displays its historical importance with beautifully restored historic buildings and a "Path of History" walking tour.
Points of Interest:
Bixby Bridge - A marvel of engineering that spans a large canyon along the Big Sur Coastline. Every day it looks different, whether there are clouds resting themselves on it, or sun reflecting off of the gleaming white structural supports.
Carmel Mission and Basilica - The second in the chain of California`s Historic Missions, Mission San Carlos Boromeo del Carmelo has been a haven for artists and writers for over a century.
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument - Above the ocean at San Simeon lies the creation of two extraordinary people, William Randolph Hearst and Julia Morgan. Their collaboration, which took nearly 30 years to complete, transformed a hilltop campsite into the world-famous Hearst Castle.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - Stretching from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges, the park features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail.
Limekiln State Park - This 716-acre park features the beauty of the redwoods, the rugged coast and the cultural history of limekilns, which are kilns or furnaces in which limestone and / or shells are burned and reduced to lime.
Monterey Bay Aquarium - The marvels of our ocean planet come to life at the world-acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Your visit will carry you into the hidden world of Monterey Bay-- a place of ever-changing beauty at the heart of the nation's largest marine sanctuary.
Point Lobos State Reserve - Deriving its name from the offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos, Point of the Sea Wolves, where the sound of the sea lions carries inland, the reserve has often been called the crown jewel of the State Park System.
Point Sur State Historic Park - The centerpiece of this historic park is the Point Sur Lighthouse. Modern technology has now replaced the kerosene lamps of times past, but the beautiful buildings remain part of the scenery along the Big Sur Coastline.
The Henry Miller Library - This library was founded by Emil White in honor of his friend Henry Miller. The library has exhibits showcasing the life and influence of Henry Miller.
Recreation - The Route 1, Big Sur Coast Highway is known for it's cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic attractions.
Climate - During spring and fall the sun shines 80 percent of the time. Summer fogs can be thick and cool, while fall brings "Indian summer" and temperatures in the high 80s. Most of the precipitation comes in the winter in the form of rain, turning the golden hillsides green.
The Big Sur Coast Highway is located on California's Central Coast. It leads from Carmel south to the Monterey / San Luis Obispo County line.
To reach the byway from U.S. Highway 101 / Salinas area, head west on State Route 68 into Carmel. Then head south on Route 1.