There are only two more posts until we arrive to our first big city San Francisco, and the first one of them is our excursion through Big Sur. It's a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California. The name "Big Sur" is derived from the original Spanish-language "el sur grande", meaning "the big south", or from "el país grande del sur", "the big country of the south". We visited a couple of places here that I want to show you.
Along the Coastline of Big SurBesides sightseeing from the highway, like we did in the first images here, Big Sur offers hiking, mountain climbing, and other outdoor activities. There are a few small, scenic beaches that are popular for walking, but usually unsuitable for swimming because of unpredictable currents and frigid temperatures. Big Sur's nine state parks have many points of interest, including one of the few waterfalls on the Pacific Coast that plunges directly into the ocean, located at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which you will see later in this post.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State ParkThe park is located on land that was originally called the Saddle Rock Ranch, because of a rock formation in McWay Cove that resembles a saddle. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has two environmental hike-in camping areas, named by Sunset magazine as one of the "four best places to pitch a tent on the Pacific Coast". Visitors are not allowed on the beach itself to preserve the natural habitat. The waterfall is really gorgeous and the water so blue. I had a hard time coping with the fact that we couldn't go down to the shore.
Bixby Creek BridgeThe bridge is one of the most photographed features on the West Coast due to its pleasing aesthetic design and because of its location along the scenic Central Coast of California. When we got there fog started rolling in from the ocean. I suggest you park behind the bridge since you will get a better view of it.
Natural Bridges State BeachThis is not Big Sur terrirory, but I added it just because it was the next stop after we had lunch in the Crossroads Shopping Mall in Carmel by the Sea. We had some amazing burgers there at R.G. Burgers, but ate them so fast that I didn't even take a picture. We then moved on to this state park. The park features a natural bridge across a section of the beach. It is also well known as a hotspot to see monarch butterfly migrations. We arrived there just as the sun started to set. Natural Bridges State Beach is named for the naturally occurring mudstone bridges that were carved by the Pacific Ocean into cliffs that jutted out into the sea.
And so we only had one more stop left before San Francisco, and that was the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, my personal favorite from our road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. But more on that in the next post.
End of Part Four
To be continued...