Heading from Cambria to Gorda and back, this 70-mile round-trip ride includes some of our favorite parks and trailheads along the way. Every single stop has incredible views in store—but some of them necessitate a short hike or a longer trek for the ultimate payout. Pack your hiking boots so you can swap out footwear and go from biking to hiking whenever you come upon a new trail.
Points of Interest
Vista Point: Hearst Castle
Vista Point: Hearst CastleCA-1
San Simeon, CA 93452
Salmon Creek Trail & Falls
From the trailhead on Highway 1, navigate through a couple of grottos to find a spectacular waterfall, where two streams unite and drop 120 feet into the pool below. Continue on the trail for a long hike with even more great views along the way, or head back to Highway 1 and get back to your ride.
Buckeye Trail & Soda Springs Trail
Just around the bend from Salmon Creek Trail, you’ll find the trailhead for Buckeye Trail, which connects with Soda Springs Trail to the north. It continues inland to Buckeye Spring, but for a brief hike with small oak groves and waterfalls, take the Buckeye Trail up to Soda Springs and keep left, returning to Highway 1.
At the north end of Moonstone Beach, you’ll find Leffingwell Landing, a part of Hearst San Simeon State Park. There are public restrooms here, as well as picnic tables and trails that lead to some beautiful ocean overlooks.
Vista Point: Hearst Castle & Piedras Blancas Light Station
On a clear day, you can see the Piedras Blancas Light Station to the north and Hearst Castle to the south.
San Carpoforo Creek Trail
This short trail leads to a wide, sandy beach where San Carpoforo Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. This beach doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so take advantage of the peace and quiet for a leisurely stroll down to the end of the creek or head around the rock at the south end of the beach to find a hidden stretch of sand called Ragged Point Beach.
Restaurant at Ragged Point Inn
The Restaurant at Ragged Point Inn is all about creative California cuisine and incredible views. Enjoy your meal inside of the windowed dining room or on the heated deck, complete with fire pits, a natural koi pond, and lush gardens.
This trail feels like an escape from the world. Just a short hike down the trail, you’ll be insulated by nature and hear no Highway 1 traffic. This area is the Big Sur equivalent to a jungle, with lush greenery and flowing creeks. If you continue all the way down the trail, past the Villa Creek campsite, you’ll reach a tranquil area with small pools and waterfalls. After this point, the trail reconnects with the Buckeye Trail.
Whale Watchers Café
Located at Gorda Springs Resort, this charming café is well-loved by whale watchers and foodies alike. Open seven days a week, stop in to enjoy a wide selection of local wines and beers and a delicious meal on the patio.