Los Padres National Forest

Forest in Big Sur

The tortuously winding 40-mile stretch of Hwy 1 south of Lucia to Hearst Castle is sparsely populated, rugged and remote, mostly running through national forest lands. Around 5 miles south of Kirk Creek Campground and Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd, almost opposite Plaskett Creek Campground, is Sand Dollar Beach. From the picnic area, it’s a five-minute walk to southern Big Sur’s longest sandy beach, a crescent-shaped strip of sand protected from winds by high bluffs. Nearby is Jade Cove and it's a short drive south to Salmon Creek Falls.

Heading south before leaving Lucia, make sure you’ve got at least enough fuel in the tank to reach the expensive gas stations at Gorda, about 11 miles south of Limekiln State Park, or Ragged Point, another 12 miles further south.