On Sunday morning I did an 8.5 mile loop in Andrew Molera State Park at the north end of the Big Sur Valley. The loop featured views from a long ridge and great running atop a bluff above the pounding surf.
I parked outside the park and ran in along the entrance road. The bridges across the Big Sur River are removed in the winter so I had to walk across icy cold shin deep water. After lacing up on the other side, I ran the River Trail and then Hidden Trail up to the Ridge Trail. There are great views of the Big Sur Valley through this stretch, but beware of poison oak on the Hidden Trail. The Ridge Trail passes through an attractive oak forest near the top and then a small grove of redwoods before reaching the high point of the run at 1,100 feet and junction with the Panorama Trail. The Panorama Trail is aptly named with great views of the ocean and bluffs, but it’s a little overgrown and eroded in spots. At the bottom of the Panorama Trail is a short spur named the Spring Trail to a hidden cove and beach. On this morning, the pounding waves produced an ethereal mist. After checking out the beach, I continued along the bluff trail which is wider, well maintained, and devoid of brush. This a great trail with constant views out to the sea rocks, crashing waves, and the wide blue ocean. Eventually the trail reaches a nice beach at the outlet of the Big Sur River. At this point, I took the Beach Trail back to the parking area, which runs near the Big Sur River in a meadow. I spotted a group of deer enjoying breakfast and then crossed the frigid waters of the Big Sur River and back to the car.