I’ve long heard amazing stories of the scenery and breathtaking roads of Big Sur California. My friend Natalie and I were visiting the Bay Area over the weekend and thought it’d make sense to drive down there for a day or so. What we both realized is a day was far too little to spend in a place like Big Sur and we immediately started figuring out ways to come back and stay much longer. I’ve seen some pretty amazing scenery but I’d put Big Sur right up against anything, even Norway and/or New Zealand!
Where is Big Sur California?
Big Sur is just south of the town of Carmel, California, roughly a 2.5 hour drive south of San Francisco Airport. We rented a Silvercar at SFO and ventured south. The drive was pretty in its own right (although a bit rainy), so often I think of California only in terms of its cities and it does the landscape an injustice, it’s truly one of the beautiful places in the world. We decided to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Monterey, north of Carmel by a few miles. The hotel was actually really nice for a Hilton Garden Inn and we got a good night’s rest.
The next morning we packed some water and made our way south into Big Sur! We got an early start to potentially catch a sunrise but the fog was too thick to see anything of note there. Very quickly it was obvious that it was going to be cloudy and rainy the whole day, so I thought “why not make these pictures black and white?” I don’t do much black and white but it’s a great challenge from time to time.
It was hard to stay focused on the road because of the beautiful scenery! Once you get into Big Sur you almost feel like you’re in a completely different area, there’s no cell phone service and little radio reception, just you and the road.
The first stop that really took our breath away was Rocky Creek Bridge, built in 1932, a stark and dramatic look at man’s attempt to overcome boundaries set by nature. Most take pictures of Bixby Creek Bridge but I personally liked Rocky Creek Bridge more.
We kept driving, stopping when we felt like it, no pace or rush. I think that’s what I liked the most about Big Sur, it slows you down.
We didn’t have time to make it all the way south to San Simeon to see Hearst Castle, since we had plans in San Francisco later that afternoon. We turned around in Lucia and started back up Highway 1. We stopped and hiked to an overlook of an amazing beach and waterfall. The waves continually pounded at the rocks and sent water everywhere!
Everywhere we looked there was something else to see.
The smooth streaky clouds in the sky even randomly changed a bit, just to make sure we noticed and got a picture of them as well!
We were almost back to Carmel when I saw an amazing shoreline with all manner of rocks interrupting it. I’m showing you both the color and the black and white version (let me know which one you like best in the comments!)
Our last stop was at the Rocky Creek Bridge for some more shots now that it was a bit brighter outside. I had my friend stand on a nearby outcropping to give some scale to the scene.
I want to go back! Soon! I don’t think a week would be enough time to hike all of the trails and see all of the sights, but I am darn sure that I missed quite a bit.