11 miles, 2600’ elevation change, approximately 6 hours of hiking time, rated Hard
I arrived at Big Sur after leaving Monterey in the evening. If I had it to do over I would have skipped Monterey, because I had been there before and by trying to jam that in as well I feel I missed out on a large part of the Big Sur experience. By the time I hit Big Sur it was dark and one of the most wonderful things in that area is the drive right along the coast and the incredible views. Besides that I had no Ranger to talk to once I arrived in Big Sur to gain expertise from. All I could do is read the boards at the campgrounds, and outside the visitor center.
Once I decided on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on the Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail it was pretty late, so I slept in my little car, never a pleasant experience. But I noticed at the lookout I pulled into I was not the only one with that same idea as there was a truck doing the same thing.
At first light I was up and adam excited to begin my journey, and the coastal views from the lookout were spectacular, along with the taste and smell of the salt air, and the sound of the waves far below.
The trailhead is across the road from the Kirk Creek Campground, which is pretty close to being on the beach. There are a limited amount of head in parking spaces for the hike so that could be pretty tricky. The other reason to get there early is most of the hike is exposed with plenty of sunshine, so it can get hot hauling a big pack up the hill. There are some majestic oaks, and even a stand of red woods for a periodic reprieve from the sun.
The hike has the most excellent coastal views, as you wind your way up the trail. Put on your repellent because it is one of the buggiest place I have been. Thank goodness they don’t bite, but the little black flies are most annoying. I suggest a head net. I certainly put mine to good use. The trail is long, narrow and winding. Careful of your footing as there are big drop offs in places, and keep an eye out for poison oak, I suggest long pants.
I set up camp at the first small camp Espinosa, which is one of two areas designated for backpacking on this trail. I was there midweek, just after Labor Day, so I really didn’t see that many people, which generally isn’t the case. There is a water source on the trail just beyond the camping area. I went on to the end of the hike which was Vicente Flats, the other larger campground. That was a pretty cool place with big trees, but no ocean view for that one, and even more bugs, ugh!
Speaking of bugs a couple college freshman went by my camp during the day and were planning on camping at Vicente Flats, but changed their minds with the bugs. After I was out enjoying the wonderful views of the Pacific I returned to my camp to find the boys starting to set up their tent near mine at Espinosa and complaining that they heard nothing about the bugs in what they had read, so I gave them my website info so they could be better informed in the future. They finally couldn’t deal with the bugs, packed up and zoomed down the trail trying to beat the sun before it set.
The next day I headed back down the hill from my journey. There was marine layer, fog down below which gave an interesting mystic feel to Big Sur. It really is a beautiful place. The bugs were irritating, but with the head net I could manage, and other than that it was a fantastic time.
Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail is a fine place to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with me for other adventure, on this journey to find this inner peace, I refer to here as Balance. Balance between Civilization and Nature, Balance between our very busy existence in a world always in a hurry, and the tranquility of soul. More to come, some epic, some just exercise in nature. Please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. Check the menu above for other locations and I would appreciate it if you would support PBTA by outfitting yourself with top quality adventure, workout, casual ware check it out at SHOP APPAREL.