Big Sur California!
Edge of Big Sur

A visit to Big Sur California will create fantastic memories you will never forget. If you have never had the privilege of traveling up hwy 1 to Big Sur you have missed out on an experience of a life time.

My wife and I have been to Big Sur many times and we love the experience and will never tire of making the trip.  The twisting trek up the curved roads, coupled with the marvelous views of the great Pacific Ocean are unbelievable and unforgettable.

If you are going to visit the Central Coast of California you must take one day, if not more, and drive up into Los Padres National Forest and visit the rugged but beautiful area we call Big Sur.

Big Sur is more than a town, it is an experience.  On the way to the actual town you will pass through a number of little areas such as Ragged Point, Lucia,  and Gorda.  Each one of these unique communities provides a jolt and relief from the twisting road.
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According to the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Highway 1 in Big Sur is a designated American National Scenic Byway. All of the roads in the America's Byways program are unique and have something distinct to offer but we feel that our area has a long list of unique features to enhance your visit to Big Sur coast that make Big Sur's designation stand out.

If you want more facts and figures Big Sur California visit the chamber. Chamber of Commerce, 

The other day we went back to Big Sur California and we had the most amazing adventure. Our adventure  included climbing down a mountain in search of the mystical Jade Cove. Wait till you see the picture of my wife climbing up the cliff with a Shih Tzu under one arm.  I thought I would die laughing. Actually, it was kind of scary but we accomplished our mission.

We started our journey from Cambria, California early in the morning and our first stop on the way was to say hello to the incredible Elephant Seals.

Elephant Seals

elephant seal

Watching the Elephant Seals lay around in the sand is a delightful treat.  It seems funny to see these gigantic sea creatures laying on the beach.  But, when you think about Zebra on Hearst ranch it doesn't seem so weird.  We love to stop and observe the seals in their natural setting.

We know most of the Docent's who work on the beach and it is always a pleasure to stop and talk about the seals. elephant seals

 Our journey was in Late September    and The big guys, the males, have not arrived yet.  A few young males were lingering around by not many. 

When the males arrive the fighting is non-stop. 
If you want  a natural thrill stop and see the seals.

For more information on the Elephant Seals Click Here

After the seals we headed on North towards Ragged Point, California.  Have you ever been to Ragged Point?  If not,  let me tell you, it is just the beginning of the outstanding views and we do suggest you stop and at Ragged Point and get refreshed for the journey up the side of the mountain.  I guess it could be down the road if you are coming from the North. 

Our next stop was only a few miles from the seals.  Piedras Blancas Light Station.  The light house will take you back to a time when life on the coast was simple.

If you would like to take a tour of the light house you will have to book in advance.  It was closed so we didn't get very close but we did enjoy thinking about the many boats it led to safe harbor.

Piedras Blancas Light Station
Light House


Gorda, California is about 25 miles from San Simeon and about 65 miles from Carmel and it is worth a stop. Take a look at this link for information about Carmel California.   In fact, I suggest a stop.  We stopped many times on our trip to Big Sur California.

Gorda has a little restaurant, gift shops, a few gas pumps and a general store.  The view is totally awesome.  The day we stopped there was a diving boat out by the rocks.
Boat at Big Sur
This boat was about a half mile or more from shore.  We used a 26 zoom lens to take the picture.  You can't see it too well  but divers were diving around the rocks.  I think they were diving for jade.  I can't say for sure but we do know there is a lot of jade in the area. 

From Gorda to Jade Cove

After getting a coke we headed on towards our destination, the illusive Jade Cove.  Our friends from Cambria had been to the cove and gave us direction but it was still hard to locate.

On the way to the cove, we passed several state parks which were beautiful but we just didn't have time to stop.  We passed Lucia and other interesting sights and finally ended up at Sand Dollar Beach in Los Padres National Forest.
Los Pardras state park, ca

We couldn't find the cove so my wife took off walking and found a path which would take us to Jade Cove. After a long, hard walk along the bluffs we finally found what we believed to be Jade Cove.

It is against the law to take any minerals from the beach including jade but we wanted to see the cove anyway. I had no idea it would be so hard to get to and climbing down a rope was not in my plan.

 If you are thinking about going to the cove the best thing to do is go to the picnic area and ask the attendant how to get to the cove.  Or you can take off walking along the bluffs, like we did,  until you find a path down to the water.  It is rough so be careful.

Jade Hunters
Jade Hunting

This picture was taken from about a half mile away.  By the time we reached the cove the jade hunters were long gone. 

I have to say it was a bit spooky to happen up on people diving for jade, knowing it was against the law.

I was ready to turn back but my wife was a good ways in front of me and she was already heading down hill clinging to a rope.

We are not in our twenties or forties and all I will say is we are getting older.  However, we actually climbed down to the cove on a rope.  I can't believe we actually did it but we did.

After exploring, actually looking to see if we could find any jade, which we didn't.  You have to dive into the water to get to the jade.  But, we did look for jade.

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Understand, we had two Shih Tzus and my wife had on flip flops.  I couldn't believe we were actually doing this. The dogs were about dead from walking and Yuki, the male, wouldn't even go down the hill.  He just stood at the top watching as if to say, "you nit wits, what are you doing?"  The other dog was more daring and followed my wife down the mountain.

After piddling around for a while we had to come back up the big hill.  I have never laughed so hard in all my life.  Mary tucked one dog under her arm, grabbed a rope and started up.  Me and the other dog were watching from above.  I was thinking, oh my God what am I going to do if she falls. 

Mary and the dog

She did make it up with out falling and we headed on to Big Sur California.

Big Sur California

Shade Big Sur

After arriving in Big Sur California we enjoyed an ice cream cone and some shade.  Big Sur, the town is actually just a few motels, restaurants and plenty of places to camp. 

If you would like more information about what to do and where to stay in Big Sur California click here.

This area of Northern California can be dangerous.  Read this article for your own protection.  Big Sur Travel Tips

Big Sur, California Weather

The Castle  hearst castle from the roadRagged Point ragged pointElephant Sealselephant sealLight House light houseGordaGorda, caSand Dollar BeachSand Dollar Beach
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