Help me find some awesome hiking in central CA.
March 12, 2008 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Where are some good day-hike areas along the CA central coast?

My girlfriend and I are going to be hiking for a few days in a couple weeks in California. We'll be leaving from Santa Barbara, and originally the plan was to go to Monterey and hike around Big Sur, but doing research I'm wondering whether or not we should consider other areas. We're interested in areas between Santa Barbara (but not actually in Santa Barbara; Morro Bay has come up as a good possibility) and the Big Sur area. Also, we'd like to stay in a hotel/motel -- cheap is fine, but if the only accommodations are camping sites, that's unfortunately out.

So, what are people's favorite day-hike areas? Specific examples would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I like elevation changes.

Bonus: with the UC spring break coming up, will that affect things at all?
posted by kdar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
this has some good hikes on it. growing up, we would climb bishop's peak. the views up there are amazing when you reach the top. adjacent to bishop's is madonna mountain, which isn't nearly as physically strenuous, but beautiful nonetheless.
posted by thesiameseffect at 8:15 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

perhaps hiking around hearst castle?
posted by krautland at 8:48 PM on March 12, 2008

A few miles south of Carmel/Monterey (so maybe 45 minutes north of Big Sur) there is Point Lobos which is really beautiful and the the trails aren't that long. There's a fee for parking but most people park along highway 1 right outside.

Also just south of Big Sur there's Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
posted by shucksitsjeremy at 9:57 PM on March 12, 2008

Seconding Point Lobos. When I visited Monterey, I almost passed up Point Lobos. It's got some really lovely, varied terrain.
posted by kristi at 10:09 PM on March 12, 2008

Andrew Molera, near big sur, is stunning. The main hiking path is a 1.5 mile wilderness hike with trees and wildflowers and butterflies. It leads to a secluded beach that is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There are lots of other paths, and activities there, including camping.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:36 AM on March 13, 2008

Los Padres National Forest has lots and lots of trails. Check out the Ventana Wilderness.
posted by billtron at 5:32 AM on March 13, 2008

Seconding Ventana Wilderness and Julia Pfeiffer Burns. You could really get lost (in a good way) back in Ventana, and it's all mountains and valleys so there's plenty of elevation gain and loss. It's easily accessible from the 1 via Palo Colorado road, which turns off about halfway between Carmel and Big Sur (across the street from Rocky Point Restaurant) and then heads inland for a few miles.
posted by LionIndex at 8:56 AM on March 13, 2008

Thirding LPNF and Ventana...
posted by rlef98 at 11:14 AM on March 13, 2008

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