Pine Ridge Trailhead from Big Sur
Pine Ridge Trail connects the Big Sur Station with Tassajara Road at China Camp travelling through the chaparral and a cover of redwoods, pine and oak. This trail is the gateway to the Big Sur River corridor, with its many beautiful campsites in the Ventana Wilderness including, Terrace Creek, Barlow Flat, Redwood and Sykes.
Completely traversing the Ventana Wilderness from 5,000-foot-high Chews Ridge to Big Sur Station, the Pine Ridge is the most popular trail in the Ventana Region. Built in 1916 by the Post family of Big Sur, the Pine Ridge Trail offers hikers and equestrians a complete array of backcountry camps to enjoy.
The western half has streamside and redwood-shaded Terrace Creek, Barlow, Sykes and Redwood Camps, while the eastern portion of the trail offers montane conifer and mixed hardwood forested ridges and meadows at Pine Ridge, Divide and Pine Valley camps.
With the dedicated and secure parking area at Big Sur Station Visitor Center, the western Pine Ridge trailhead there is the wilderness entry point of choice for many backcountry travelers. While many use it for access to the beautiful riverside camps along the wild and scenic Big Sur River, it also makes possible a number of outstanding loop trips in the Ventana Wilderness.
The hike up the Pine Ridge Trail into the Ventana Wilderness is strenuous and challenging even for experienced hikers. Elevation gains and losses are considerable, and trees often fall across the trail making passage difficult in some areas. Be prepared to make several river crossings to reach the backcountry campsites. The Pine Ridge Trail also makes for invigorating out-and-back day hikes for visitors not wanting to camp overnight.
There are five camps located along the Pine Ridge Trail in the 12 miles of trail between the Big Sur Station and Redwood Camp. Barlow Flat Camp has the most room and Sykes Camp is most heavily used. Campsite occupancy numbers are posted and cannot be exceeded for health and safety reasons. It is expected that visitors will respect these occupancy limits and continue along the trail until an available campsite is located. Hikers should consider the lesser-used Barlow Flat and Redwood Camps. There is currently no reservation system for campsites so the earlier you arrive and begin your hike, the better your chances for securing a spot.
Dogs are allowed on the Pine Ridge Trail. They need to be on a leash and within your voice control at all times.
At a Glance
|Operational Hours:||Open year-round|
|Reservations:||A backcountry/wilderness permit is not required. No reservations for trail camps are required. Trail use and camps are first-come, first-serve. Pine Ridge Trailhead is a first-come, first-serve parking lot only. No reservations.|
|Area Amenities:||Toilets,Drinking water,Parking|
|Fees:||Parking fee is $10.00 per calendar day Pine Ridge Trailhead parking lot.|
|Permit Info:||A California Campfire Permit is required to operate a small gas stove or to have a campfire. Permits are available online at: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/permits/campfire-permit/|
|Best Season:||Spring and Summer|
|Busiest Season:||Summer Weekends|
|Closest Towns:||The Pine Ridge Trailhead is located about 23 miles south of Monterey|
|Water:||Water is available at the Big Sur Station Visitor Center|
|Restroom:||There is a restroom at the Big Sur Station Visitor Center|
|Operated By:||Forest Service and California State Parks|
|Information Center:||Maps and information are available at the Big Sur Station Visitor Center located at 47555 Highway 1, just south of the Big Sur State Park. The center is open daily from 9:00am-4:00pm (831) 667-2315 or call the Monterey Ranger District Office at (831) 385-5434 ext. 0, Monday-Friday 8-4:30pm.|
From Monterey drive south on Highway 1 approximately 23 miles. At the Big Sur Station Visitor Center, turn left and follow the signs to the parking area.
Parking fees, $10.00 per calendar day, may be paid at the self-registration station or at the Big Sur Station which is open 9:00am – 4:00pm daily.
Contact the Big Sur Station Multi-agency Vsitor Center for more information: (831) 667-2315.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Big Sur River to China Camp - Due to winter storm activity you may encounter downed trees along the trail.
Please check Monterey County Roads Department website for information about Tassajara Road conditions. Pine Ridge Trailhead from China Camp on Tassajara Rd.
|Toilets:||Restrooms are at the Big Sur Visitor Center|
|Parking:||$10 per vehicle per day. There are 55 parking spaces|
|Drinking water:||Water is available at the Big Sur Visitor Center|