Bixby Bridge

Big Sur

Less than 15 miles south of Carmel, this landmark spanning Rainbow Canyon is one of the world’s highest single-span bridges. Completed in 1932, it was built by prisoners eager to lop time off their sentences. There’s a perfect photo-op pull-off on the bridge’s north side. Before Bixby Bridge was constructed, travelers had to trek inland on what’s now called the Old Coast Rd, a rough dirt route that reconnects after 11 miles with Hwy 1 near Andrew Molera State Park.

When the weather is dry enough, the old road is usually navigable by 4WD or a mountain bike.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions