Salmon Creek Trail

Area Status: Open
Salmon Creek Trail

The Salmon Creek Trail is a scenic 5.00 mile trail in the Silver Peak Wilderness in Monterey County. The trail connects Highway 1 and the South Coast Ridge Road (20S05.6).

The Silver Peak Wilderness covers 31,555 acres of the Santa Lucia Range along the central coast of California between Monterey and Cambria. Hikers can explore the heart of the wilderness area by combining the Buckeye, Cruikshank, and Salmon Creek Trails for a 15-mile circuit that covers diverse terrain—from chaparral scrub to pockets of dense redwood forest—with seaside vistas and flowing streams. A worthwhile spur leads to Upper Salmon Creek Falls, a rarely-visited waterfall that drops into an attractive pool in winter and spring. The loop, which covers more than 3,000 feet in elevation gain, can be completed as a long and arduous day hike. But most will prefer to do the trip as an overnight backpack or even a 3-day trek. Signage along the route is excellent, and there are several established campsites (complete with picnic tables and fire pits): Buckeye, Silver, Lion Den, Estrella, and Spruce Creek. 

At a Glance

Reservations: None. Trail use and trail camps are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fees: No fees.
Open Season: open year-round
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: spring, summer
Busiest Season: spring, summer
Closest Towns: San Simeon
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


The hike begins and ends at Salmon Creek, an inlet along the coast roughly 27 miles northwest of Cambria. This a popular area, especially on weekends, with the majority of visitors headed for Lower Salmon Creek Falls, a 120-foot double waterfall that is one of the tallest in the area. There is parking along the shoulder and in a small lot at the site of the old (long closed) Salmon Creek Ranger Station. Park anywhere, but begin the hike at the Ranger Station parking lot, a short walk down Highway 1 from the trail to Salmon Creek Falls.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.1 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude :