Salmon Creek Trail
8/6/21 ALERT - Do not drink/filter water from the pond below Salmon Creek Falls. There is a possible algae bloom that can cause contaminated water and is unsafe to drink. Do NOT let dogs drink or swim in the water.
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.|
|Open Season:||open year-round|
|Best Season:||spring, summer|
|Busiest Season:||spring, summer|
|Restrictions:||No campfires. No camp stoves allowed. Elevated fire restrictions went into effect July 15, 2021.|
|Closest Towns:||San Simeon|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
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.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information