Big Sur Campout

  • 12 Apr 2018
  • 15 Apr 2018
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • 13


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

Registration is closed


The Big Sur area along the central California coast is legendary for it’s beauty, its remoteness, its ruggedness, its mystery, and the atmosphere of pervasive spirituality. The jagged coastline of steep cliffs intercut with deep canyons, the wilderness and undeveloped land, the abundance of woodlands and wildlife, the unpredictable weather, and the throngs of visitors, all add to the mood and mystique of this popular destination.

The entire Big Sur Coast, has undergone some damage and change as a result of heavy rains in 2017, but everything is on the road to recovery. The Pfeiffer Creek Bridge that collapsed last year has been replaced, opening up Highway 1 to Gorda Point, as well as giving access to the important and memorable sites of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Limekiln State Park, and the legendary Nepenthe.

More info at:

For this four-day/three-night outing we will be camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  The park is located in near Big Sur Village, not on the coast, and has a nice variety of trails within its boundaries. The trails were closed last year but have been restored and will give us good hiking experiences.


The campout starts Thursday afternoon and there will be a welcome tea. For dinner we’ll probably venture into Big Sur Village or other local restaurants a short drive away.

Friday I’ll lead a hike up the restored Buzzard’s Roost Trail, which has spectacular views of the coast (if it is clear). The Valley View Trail is in the park also and is an easy hike that we could do the same day.  Friday dinner will be on your own.

Saturday there are many choices. There are several other trails in the park to try out. Or Andrew Molera State Park has a loop trail that is quite beautiful but also challenging. Or take a road trip south down the coast, with the destination of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the spectacular and famous McWay Falls. Stops at Coast Gallery and Henry Miller Library and a meal at Nepenthe are almost requirements for a complete Big Sur experience. Or, heading north along Highway 1 there is the Point Sur Lighthouse, Bixby Bridge, and further up the coast about 20 miles, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, considered the “crown jewel” of the state park system, with miles of trails and endless natural beauty. Whatever your daytime activity please return to the campground for the traditional Great Outdoors potluck. Afterwards there will be more fun around the campfire (ghost stories, games, hypnotherapy, Smores?).

Sunday we must strike our tents, clean the campsites, and checkout by 12:00 PM.

Camp site

Our group has four sites reserved, each site is compact. However, each will easily hold three small tents or possibly one large and two small tents.  Pair up if you have a large tent. Each site is allowed a maximum of eight people but we are going to limit it to six people per site (unless you have a group sleeping in your large tent). There is a water spigot at each site plus a fire ring and picnic table. Flush toilets and coin-operated showers are close by to the sites. There is a camp store for forgotten necessities. Please bring a bundle of firewood purchased at the camp (expensive) or nearby. Big Sur Lodge is within the park and one can buy meals and coffee there.


First four vehicles to arrive at camp get free parking.  Additional vehicles are subject to the $10 per night charge, so carpooling is important.  Two cars allowed at each site, but there is an overflow parking lot for the ninth car and later.  

RVs not allowed in this section of the park, sorry.
Only registered campers are allowed in the campground. Due to congestion and traffic constraints, free passes for deliveries or passenger drop off are not permitted.

Campground Notes:

Check in is 2 PM. Check out is 12 PM. Checkout times are strictly enforced.

Dogs must be on a maximum 6 foot leash and attended at all times. Dogs are not allowed on trails or in the Big Sur River Gorge.

There is poison oak throughout the park, including around the campsites.


Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. That is currently the only access route. To get to Hwy 1, take 101 to Salinas, then south on 68, then south on Hwy 1 at Monterey.  The park will be on your left a few miles after you pass through Big Sur Village. If you reach the Big Sur Ranger Station you have gone too far.      


Prepare for anything except snow. There might be rain, might be fog, it might be cool (especially at night) and it might be warm.

Price: $50 for Great Outdoors members, or $75 for non-members. Registration in online only at this site:

Cancellation policy:  full refund (minus a service fee of $5.00) given at least five (5) days prior to departure ; no refunds after that.

For more information, contact:

Thomas Larson         (805) 220-8276

Copyright 2017 Great Outdoors Santa Barbara/Ventura County
"Great Outdoors" is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization. PO Box 21051, Santa Barbara, CA 93121

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