Enjoying the sunset in Big Sur, CA. Photo Credit: OaklandNative (CC)
Last fall’s fires, combined with harsh winter storms, were not kind to the popular state parks along Highway 1 in the Big Sur region. Much of this scenic slice of coastline remains inaccessible due to unstable hillsides and destruction of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge (about half a mile south of Big Sur Station), which has been demolished and is being rebuilt. It won’t reopen until fall at the earliest, meaning camping opportunities this summer are heavily curtailed.
While Highway 1 is open from Carmel to Big Sur Station, weather-related conditions have forced closure at least through June of most state parks and trails along the corridor. Many businesses remain closed as well, but aim to reopen before Memorial Day weekend. South of the destroyed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, northbound Highway 1 access in mid-April was still stalled at Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County due to mudslide removal.
As for parks: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is inaccessible and closed until further notice, as are Andrew Molera State ParkMolera State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (although Big Sur Lodge is open for hungry road warriors).
The good news for persistent DogTrekkers: Camping is available at Limekiln State Park 56 miles south of Carmel—but to get there, you’ll have to first snag a hard-to-come-by reservation and then navigate the back way over rugged terrain from Highway 101 to the coast via Nacimiento Fergusson Road. (The park service urges you to check a traditional map before traveling, as Google Maps and GPS systems are giving unreliable directions.) Dogs at Limekiln are allowed in campsites and on the beach (leashed), but not on trails.
Meanwhile, several private campgrounds in the Big Sur region are hanging out “open” signs. They include Kirk Creek Campground, a bluff-top facility near Limekiln that welcomes leashed pets; and nearby Plaskett Creek Campground, which also is dog-friendly. Like Limekiln, both of these campgrounds must be accessed by the long way around. Another private facility, Big Sur Campground and Cabins, on the Big Sur River 26 miles south of Carmel, is also open, although trails and beach access as of mid-April were closed.
To keep abreast of current conditions in the Big Sur region, check in with the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce blog and the CalTrans road conditions website.
Photo Credit: OaklandNative (CC)