Andrew Molera State Park
The largest state park on the Big Sur coast, Andrew Molera State Park is a popular Big Sur camping location. Andrew Molera State Park's hiking trails wander through a wide variety of environments, from spectacular coastline to tranquil river banks, from redwood-studded ridges to grassy meadows. Other attractions at this Big Sur state park include fishing, as well as horseback riding and mountain biking trails.
Named after the man who brought the artichoke to California, Andrew Molera State Park also is the home of many historic structures, including the oldest building in Big Sur.
Andrew Molera State Park is an ideal spot for the outdoors enthusiast. Andrew Molera State Park has some of the most popular Big Sur hiking trails, as well as great Big Sur horseback riding and mountain biking trails. It is also the most reliable Big Sur surfing area.
Andrew Molera State Park has 20 miles of Big Sur hiking trails, exploring environments from riverside to coastline and from ridgeline to meadow. The California State Parks website has an online trail map that provides an overview; a more detailed hiking trail map can be obtained at Andrew Molera State Park. Some hiking trails are ideal for the novice hiker, while others present a challenge even for the expert. Most have descriptive names that provide some insight into the trail's main feature.
Andrew Molera State Park's Beach Trail is an easy, almost flat hike to the beach alongside the Big Sur River. This trail meets the Bluff Trail, which provides breathtaking views of the shoreline from the coastal bluffs. The River Trail runs along the Big Sur River; hikers will ford the river three times along the way. The East Molera Trail explores the section of Andrew Molera State Park that is east of Highway 1. It has a significant elevation gain of 1000 feet over one mile, but its high point - a shady redwood glade on the crest of a ridge offering panoramic views of the coast and mountains - makes it worth the effort. The Ridge Trail has a similarly challenging ascent, and also provides breathtaking views.
These are only a few of the many hiking trails Andrew Molera State Park has to offer. Refer to item three in our list of Top Ten Day Hikes in Monterey County for a detailed description of the Beach and Creamery Meadows loop hike and the Bluff, Panorama and Ridge trail hike.
Andrew Molera State Park's Discovery Center is run by the Ventana Wildlife Society. The discovery center focuses on the organization's work with the California condor, but also explores the other wildlife in the area. Visit the songbird banding lab, take a tour, and learn all about Big Sur directly from local biologists and naturalists. Open Friday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm.
The Ranch House Museum
The Andrew Molera Ranch House Museum showcases the rich heritage of the Big Sur coast. Here you can view displays and artifacts from the artists, authors, early pioneers and indigenous peoples who helped shape the Big Sur culture. The Ranch House Museum offers free admission and is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 4pm through Labor Day.
Looking for Big Sur campsites? Strap your tent to your back and hike out to Trail Camp at Andrew Molera State Park. Andrew Molera State Park has 24 hike-in campsites about one-third of a mile from the main parking area. No camping reservations are required at Andrew Molera State Park. All campsites are first-come, first-served, so get there early!
Map and Directions
From Carmel, drive south 20 miles to reach Andrew Molera State Park.
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