Trip Report- Sykes Hot Springs, Big Sur, CA

The Quick and Dirty:

Location:  Backpacking Sykes Hot Springs in Big Sur, CA.  The Pine Ridge trail head starts from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Beach and overnight parking is free at the lot.
Distance and Duration: 10 miles one way on the Pine Ridge trail to Sykes camp,  we finished the hike in about 4 hours one way.
Permit: No advanced permit reservation is required however a back country fire permit is needed if you want to cook with a stove or start a camp fire. At the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Beach ranger station, you can obtain the back country fire permit and for a $1 donation, the rangers will provide you with a nice trail map of the Pine Ridge trail.
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the national forest and to the hot springs
Trail conditions: This is a very popular trail, therefore the it is well maintained and clearly marked.
Good to know: Beware of the abundant amount of poisonous oak on the trail. When arrived at Sykes camp, you will be required to cross the stream several times to get to the campsite and the hot springs. Be extra careful crossing the streams in the spring time when water flow is fast. It’s always a good idea to walk up and down the stream and pick a spot where the flow is the slowest before you cross. Having water shoes to cross the stream is a good idea or we just took off our hiking shoes and went bare foot across the stream.


Louis getting ready to start hiking at the Pine Ridge trail head

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Road Trip Up the Coast of California

We truly believe we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether it’s going east towards the majestic mountains of the Sierra Nevada or driving up and down the California coast, the scenery always takes my breath away. For our week long vacation, we decided to take a road rip up the coast of California from Orange County all the way up to Redwood National and State Park.P1080885

Over the next couple of weeks I will update the blog with detailed trip reports of each of the places we visited. See links below to jump to any one of the places that interests you:

Saturday (Day 1)- Car Camping at San Simeon State Park
Sunday (Day 2)- Morning guided tour of the Hearst Castle and back packing into Sykes hot springs in Big Sur, California
Monday (Day 3)- Hike out from Sykes hot springs and drive to Medocino, California Tuesday (Day 4)- Drive to Redwood State and National Park
Wednesday (Day 5)- Day hikes around Redwood State Park and car camping at Elk Prairie campground
Thursday (Day 6)- Depart from Redwood State and National Park and drive south to Sonoma, California
Friday (Day 7)- Day in Sonoma, drive to San Francisco to visit friends
Saturday (Day 8)- Drive home to Orange County

The Google Map shown below outlines our travel itinerary along with the links of the detailed blog post on each place.

Salmon Creek, Big Sur, California

We spent the last weekend of August driving up to the southern tip Big Sur and backpacking Salmon Creek Trail. Louis, Chis and I took off Friday morning from Mission Viejo. Salmon Creek Trail is a part of the Los Padres National Forest, no permit is required for overnight camping, however, a fire permit is required if we wanted to use a stove or start a camp fire. We realized 10 minute into our trip that neither of us had a fire permit and decided to make a little detour to Angeles National Forest ranger station to pick up a fire permit and have lunch.
The drive took about five hours from San Gabriel valley. As always, Highway 1 is scenic and beautiful. The Salmon Creek Trail head is approximately 20 miles north of the Hearst Castle turn off or 3 miles north of the Ragged Inn. The parking lot for the trail is easy to spot it is after a big bend on Hwy 1 shortly after passing the Inn.
Hairpin right before Salmon Creek trail parking lot.

Our goal was to hike to Estrella camp the first night and do a day hike to Coast Ridge Road on  Saturday.

 Dakota and Estrella Camp

It was a crowded weekend, we managed to find one last campsite near the creek in Estrella, and the creek was running! I was a little worried about the availability of water at the creek since it’s been such a dry year.

Overlooking the Pacific ocean, it was an overcast day.

Poison oak was everywhere on the trail. It completely covered the trail at parts between Estrella and Coast Ridge highway.

 Dakota helping Louis filter water from the creek.
My friends from Norcal met up with us on Saturday morning. Dakota and Bubo became immediate friends.
Louis was attacked by a nest of yellow jackets on our way into Estrella. This is how we prepared for them on our way out.