Discover the Best Cycling Routes in Big Sur – Your Guide

Best Cycling Routes in Big Sur
Table of Contents

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable cycling adventure in Big Sur? Whether you’re a leisurely rider or a thrill-seeking mountain biker, this picturesque region in California offers a plethora of options for cyclists of all skill levels. From the breathtaking coastal views along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway to the challenging hills of Carmel Valley Road, you’ll be treated to stunning landscapes and hidden gems at every turn.

Key Takeaways:

  • Big Sur is a cyclist’s paradise, with diverse and scenic routes for all skill levels.
  • Explore the stunning coastal trails and enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Challenge yourself with exhilarating mountain biking routes and breathtaking scenery.
  • Discover the charming coastal towns of Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach on two wheels.
  • Indulge in wine tasting along the picturesque Carmel Valley Road while enjoying the beautiful views.

Big Sur offers a unique perspective on cycling, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, conquer challenging hills, and explore charming towns along the way. So grab your bike, map out your route, and get ready to experience the best cycling routes that Big Sur has to offer. It’s time to hit the road and create lasting memories in this beautiful region.

Cycling along the Pacific Coast Highway

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway on a thrilling bike ride in Big Sur. This iconic route stretches along the rugged coastline, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and sweeping vistas that will leave you breathless. Whether you’re an experienced rider or just starting out, the Pacific Coast Highway has something for everyone.

As you pedal along this scenic road, you’ll have the chance to explore hidden beaches, picturesque coastal towns, and charming lookout points. The trail winds through diverse landscapes, from cliffside paths to winding roads through forests. With each turn, you’ll be treated to new vistas that capture the essence of Big Sur’s natural beauty.

Cycling with Stunning Views

One of the highlights of cycling along the Pacific Coast Highway is the opportunity to soak in the stunning views. The sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean stretch out before you, while the rugged coastline and majestic cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop. It’s a feast for the senses as you feel the cool ocean breeze on your face and take in the panoramic scenery.

Whether you choose to ride for a few miles or go the distance, the Pacific Coast Highway offers an unforgettable cycling experience. So hop on your bike, explore the coast, and let the beauty of Big Sur unfold before you.

Key Highlights Tips for Cyclists
Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean Ride with caution and be aware of traffic
Opportunity to explore hidden beaches and coastal towns Carry plenty of water and snacks for longer rides
Varied landscapes and diverse terrain Wear appropriate safety gear and bright clothing
Options for riders of all skill levels Check weather conditions before setting off

Exploring the Coastal Trails

Lace up your cycling shoes and hit the coastal trails of Big Sur, where adventure awaits at every turn. With miles of picturesque coastline and stunning ocean views, these trails are perfect for riders of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride or a challenging hill climb, Big Sur has something for everyone.

One popular trail is the 17-Mile Drive, which takes you through scenic parks, charming coastal towns, and iconic landmarks like the Bixby Creek Bridge. Along the way, you can enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze and take in the beautiful views of the coast. Another option is the Andrew Molina State Park loop, an 18.5-mile route that offers sweeping landscapes and the opportunity to cross the famous Bixby Bridge.

If you prefer a longer ride, consider exploring the wine country of Paso Robles. The rolling hills and vineyard-dotted landscapes provide a scenic backdrop for your cycling adventure. You can stop at wineries along the way and indulge in wine tasting while taking in the stunning views.

Trail Mileage Difficulty Highlights
17-Mile Drive 17 miles Easy Bixby Creek Bridge, coastal views
Andrew Molina State Park loop 18.5 miles Moderate Bixby Bridge, scenic landscapes
Paso Robles wine country Varies Moderate to challenging Vineyards, wine tasting

Whether you’re exploring the coastal trails or venturing into wine country, Big Sur offers a cycling experience like no other. So grab your bike, plan your route, and get ready to discover the stunning beauty of this coastal paradise.

Conquering the Mountain Biking Routes

Get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping as you conquer the thrilling mountain biking routes of Big Sur. With its challenging hills and scenic trails, this region offers an exhilarating experience for riders of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a novice looking for an adventure, Big Sur has something to offer.

One popular route is the 18.5-mile loop that starts in Andrew Molina State Park. This trail takes you through stunning landscapes, including lush forests and panoramic ocean views. As you ride, you’ll have the chance to marvel at the iconic Bixby Bridge, a picturesque landmark that adds to the beauty of the journey.

For those seeking an even more daring ride, there are plenty of options. From technical descents to challenging climbs, the mountain biking routes in Big Sur will test your skills and push your limits. Be prepared for rocky terrain, steep slopes, and breathtaking drops as you navigate through this rugged terrain.

Trail Miles Difficulty
Andrew Molina State Park Loop 18.5 Intermediate
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Trail 8 Advanced
Pico Blanco Boy Scout Road 16 Expert

Before embarking on your mountain biking adventure, make sure you are prepared with the right gear and equipment. Wear a helmet, protective clothing, and bring plenty of water and snacks. Check local trail conditions and be aware of any closures or restrictions. Safety should always be a priority when engaging in extreme sports like mountain biking.

Discovering Hidden Gems: Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach

Pedal through the charming streets of Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach, where coastal beauty meets small-town charm. As you explore these idyllic coastal towns on your bike ride, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the coast, beautiful beaches, and rolling hills.

Start your adventure in Carmel by the Sea, known for its picturesque architecture and stunning ocean views. Ride along the scenic coastline, taking in the sights and sounds of this charming town. Visit the famous Carmel Beach, a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike, and feel the refreshing ocean breeze as you cycle along miles of pristine coastline.

Continue your journey to Pebble Beach, home to world-renowned golf courses and breathtaking coastal vistas. Pedal through the scenic 17-Mile Drive, an iconic stretch of road that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and beautiful cypress trees. Don’t forget to make a stop at the iconic Lone Cypress, a symbol of the area’s natural beauty.

Highlights of Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach Bike Ride:
Explore the charming streets of Carmel by the Sea
Enjoy the beautiful ocean views along the coastline
Visit the famous Carmel Beach
Experience the scenic 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach
Admire the iconic Lone Cypress

Where to Stop for Lunch

  • Indulge in a delicious seafood meal at one of the waterfront restaurants in Carmel by the Sea
  • Experience fine dining at one of the renowned restaurants in Pebble Beach
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy it at one of the scenic spots along the coastline

As you pedal through Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach, take your time to soak in the beauty of these hidden gems. Whether you’re admiring the stunning coastal views, exploring the charming streets, or enjoying a delicious lunch, this bike ride will surely be a memorable experience.

Wine Tasting and Scenic Cycling in Carmel Valley Road

Indulge in the pleasure of wine tasting and take in the stunning views of beautiful Big Sur as you cycle along Carmel Valley Road. This picturesque route offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and indulgence, making it a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and cycling enthusiasts alike.

As you pedal through Carmel Valley, you’ll be surrounded by rolling hills, lush vineyards, and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscape. The road winds its way through this idyllic region, providing ample opportunities to stop at charming wineries and sample some of the finest wines the area has to offer.

Make sure to plan your route in advance and include stops at some of the region’s renowned wineries. Carmel Valley is known for its small, boutique wineries that produce exceptional wines. Take your time to savor each tasting, as you immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of the local varietals. Whether you prefer bold reds or crisp whites, you’re sure to find something to delight your palate.

Winery Description Wine Varietals
Vineyard A A family-owned winery with a focus on sustainable farming practices. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
Vineyard B A boutique winery known for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec
Vineyard C A charming winery with a stunning outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah

As you continue your ride, don’t forget to take in the natural beauty that surrounds you. The sweeping views of Big Sur, the picturesque vineyards, and the rolling hills create a breathtaking backdrop for your cycling adventure. With each pedal stroke, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and serenity, as you explore the stunning landscapes of this enchanting region.

Cycling and History: Bixby Bridge and Hearst Castle

Embark on a journey through time as you cycle past the iconic Bixby Bridge and explore the majestic Hearst Castle in Big Sur. These two landmarks not only offer stunning views and scenic beauty but also hold historical significance that will transport you to a different era.

The Bixby Bridge is an architectural marvel that spans across a picturesque canyon, providing cyclists with a mesmerizing backdrop as they ride along the coast. Take a moment to pause and admire the sweeping views of the rugged coastline and crashing waves below. This iconic landmark is a favorite among cyclists, photographers, and nature enthusiasts alike.

As you continue your cycling adventure, make sure to plan a visit to Hearst Castle. This grand estate, once the residence of media magnate William Randolph Hearst, is a dazzling display of opulence and grandeur. Take a guided tour to explore the architectural wonders, lavish interiors, and stunning gardens. The castle’s rich history and beautiful surroundings make it a truly unforgettable destination.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and take a leisurely stroll through the castle’s scenic grounds, where you can soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature and enjoy a peaceful moment amidst the historic splendor. Whether you choose to hike, walk, or cycle, the Bixby Bridge and Hearst Castle offer an enchanting blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage that will leave you in awe.

Key Highlights Details
Bixby Bridge Iconic landmark with stunning coastal views
Hearst Castle Opulent estate with guided tours and beautiful gardens
Picnic Lunch Enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the castle’s scenic grounds

Exploring Natural Wonders: State Parks and Wilderness Areas

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Big Sur’s state parks and wilderness areas as you cycle through stunning landscapes and encounter nature at its finest. With its diverse ecosystems, vibrant flora and fauna, and breathtaking views, this region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer leisurely rides or challenging hill climbs, there are cycling routes in Big Sur that will take you on unforgettable adventures.

One of the must-visit destinations is the Silver Peak Wilderness. This protected area offers cyclists the opportunity to explore rugged terrain, ancient forests, and pristine rivers. As you pedal through the wilderness, keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, foxes, and even the elusive mountain lion. The Silver Peak Wilderness is a haven for nature lovers and a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Another gem in Big Sur is the Monterey State Beach. This beautiful stretch of coastline is a popular spot for cyclists, thanks to its scenic views and refreshing ocean breezes. As you ride along the beach, you can enjoy the sound of crashing waves and the sight of seabirds soaring above. Take a break and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this coastal paradise.

State Parks and Wilderness Areas in Big Sur:

State Park/Wilderness Area Features Activities
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Waterfalls, redwood forests, coastal cliffs Hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Redwood groves, rivers, scenic trails Camping, hiking, swimming
Andrew Molera State Park Beaches, meadows, coastal bluffs Horseback riding, bird watching, beachcombing
Garrapata State Park Rocky coastline, scenic trails, coastal scrub Hiking, photography, tidepooling

These state parks and wilderness areas are just a glimpse of the natural wonders that await you in Big Sur. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a beginner, there are routes to suit every skill level and interest. So grab your bike, explore the scenic landscapes, and create unforgettable memories in the breathtaking beauty of Big Sur.

Continuing North: Ragged Point to Morro Bay

Extend your cycling journey along the breathtaking coast as you pedal your way from Ragged Point to Morro Bay, taking in the awe-inspiring beauty that lies ahead. This stretch of the journey will immerse you in the stunning landscapes of Monterey County, offering miles of scenic coastal views and charming towns to explore.

As you continue north from Ragged Point, you’ll be treated to picturesque coastal vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. The rugged cliffs, crashing ocean waves, and untouched beaches create a dramatic backdrop for your cycling adventure. Along the way, you’ll pass through quaint coastal towns, where you can pause to soak in the local charm and perhaps grab a bite to eat.

As you turn left and head east towards Morro Bay, the landscape changes, but the beauty remains. The coastal views will give way to rolling hills and expansive vineyards, creating a scenic contrast that is truly breathtaking. Take the opportunity to visit one of the local wineries and indulge in a wine tasting experience that perfectly complements your cycling adventure.

Recommended Stops:

Town Distance from Ragged Point Highlights
San Simeon 10 miles Explore the quaint town and visit the historic Hearst Castle.
Cayucos 28 miles Enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach and grab a delicious seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants.
Morro Bay 40 miles Witness the striking Morro Rock and take a scenic boat tour to view the local wildlife.

As you arrive in Morro Bay, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Morro Rock, a volcanic plug that stands tall against the backdrop of the ocean. Take some time to relax and explore this charming coastal town, known for its beautiful beaches, quaint shops, and delicious seafood. From here, you can choose to continue your cycling adventure or rest and reflect on the incredible journey you’ve just experienced.


Get ready to hop on your bike and explore the best of Big Sur’s cycling routes, where scenic beauty and exhilarating adventures await. Whether you prefer leisurely rides along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway or challenging mountain biking trails, Big Sur offers something for every cyclist.

Start your journey with a ride along the Pacific Coast Highway, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the rugged coastline. Take your time to soak in the beauty of this iconic route and make stops at the best viewpoints along the way.

If you’re in the mood for some off-road exploration, conquer the thrilling mountain biking routes in Big Sur. Brace yourself for challenging hills and breathtaking scenic vistas as you navigate through the rugged terrain. These trails offer a unique perspective of the region’s natural beauty.

For a taste of coastal charm, explore the hidden gems of Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach on a leisurely bike ride. Marvel at the beautiful ocean views, charming architecture, and world-renowned golf courses as you pedal through these picturesque towns.

Big Sur is also home to stunning state parks and wilderness areas that offer breathtaking natural wonders. Immerse yourself in the vibrant flora and fauna of the region as you cycle through these parks, and don’t forget to stop for a hike or a walk to truly appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

With its diverse cycling routes and stunning landscapes, Big Sur is a paradise for any cyclist. So grab your bike, map out your route, and embark on an unforgettable cycling adventure through this beautiful region. The breathtaking views and the exhilarating experiences await you!


Q: What are the best cycling routes in Big Sur?

A: Big Sur offers a variety of scenic cycling routes, including the Pacific Coast Highway, coastal trails, mountain biking routes, and more. Each route showcases the stunning beauty of the area and provides a unique cycling experience.

Q: Can I ride my bike along the Pacific Coast Highway?

A: Yes, you can ride your bike along the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur. The highway offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is a popular route for cyclists. However, it’s important to be cautious of traffic and follow all safety guidelines.

Q: Are there any challenging cycling routes in Big Sur?

A: Yes, there are challenging cycling routes in Big Sur, particularly in the mountain biking trails. These routes feature steep hills and offer a thrilling adventure for experienced riders looking for a challenge.

Q: What are some must-see landmarks along the cycling routes in Big Sur?

A: Some must-see landmarks along the cycling routes in Big Sur include the Bixby Creek Bridge and Hearst Castle. These iconic landmarks offer scenic views and a glimpse into the region’s history and architecture.

Q: Are there any bike-friendly towns in Big Sur?

A: Yes, there are bike-friendly towns in Big Sur, such as Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach. These towns have bike paths, beautiful coastal views, and are great places to explore on a bike.

Q: Can I combine wine tasting with cycling in Big Sur?

A: Absolutely! Carmel Valley Road offers a scenic route for both wine tasting and cycling. With its vineyards and stunning views, you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride and visit local wineries along the way.

Q: Are there any state parks or wilderness areas to explore on a bike in Big Sur?

A: Yes, Big Sur is home to several state parks and wilderness areas that are perfect for exploring on a bike. These areas offer beautiful views, hiking trails, and opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.

Q: Can I continue cycling north of Big Sur towards Ragged Point and Morro Bay?

A: Yes, you can continue your cycling adventure north of Big Sur towards Ragged Point and Morro Bay. This route offers stunning coastal views, charming towns, and opportunities to explore picturesque beaches and climb epic hills.

Q: How should I plan my cycling route in Big Sur?

A: To plan your cycling route in Big Sur, consider your skill level, the distance you want to cover, and the specific landmarks or areas you want to visit. It’s also helpful to have a map or GPS to navigate the routes.

Q: Is it safe to cycle in Big Sur?

A: While cycling in Big Sur can be a wonderful experience, it’s important to prioritize safety. Be aware of traffic, obey traffic laws, wear appropriate safety gear, and be cautious of challenging terrain. Always ride defensively and enjoy the stunning views responsibly.

Q: What is the best time of year to go cycling in Big Sur?

A: The best time of year to go cycling in Big Sur is typically during the spring and fall, when the weather is mild and the roads are less crowded. However, with its year-round beauty, Big Sur can be enjoyed on a bike at any time of the year.

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