Named for the Silver Peak Wilderness that encompasses much of this stretch of Highway 1, this route truly has it all. From unique beaches and vistas to unconventional food, this route is designed to push you out of your comfort zone, both on and off the bike. The best time of year to take on this route is in spring so that you have the opportunity to see Black Swift Falls at full volume.
Points of Interest
Wild Coast Restaurant
Located at the Treebones Resort, Wild Coast boasts campfire-style, garden-to-table honest food in a casual, relaxed setting with scenic heated outdoor seating and cozy indoor seating. They utilize fresh produce from their on-site organic garden and local farms and offer local wines and regional beer.
Willow Creek Beach
Willow Creek Beach and Picnic Area has a sandy area hidden from view when you first arrive at the beach. Los Padres National Forest provides a parking area right off Highway 1 for those who just want to take in the stunning view, but a narrow road leads down from here to a spot next to the beach. The beach is covered with large boulders, including some jade stones. Willow Creek flows down and pools next to a tall cliff here and a concrete highway bridge towers overhead. The sandy beach is around the corner to the right. Stop and enjoy this remote retreat.
Arroyo Laguna State Beach
Arroyo Laguna Beach is a windsurfing and kiteboarding spot along the northern San Luis Obispo Coast. The beach is at the mouth of Oak Knoll Creek, which is commonly called Arroyo Laguna. This is another one of the many beaches that are part of Hearst San Simeon State Park. There is a parking lot for Arroyo Laguna Beach along Highway 1, about two miles north of the entrance to Hearst Castle. Feel free to enjoy the area at the mouth of the creek or venture across the creek and head south as far as you’d like. Just heed any signs you see at the trailhead as this area is closed to seal viewing from December 15 through April 30. During this time, all water-based activities are still allowed if you can walk across the beach without disturbing the seals.
Elephant Seal Rookery
The Piedras Blancas Rookery is the only elephant seal rookery in the world that is easily accessible, free, and open every day of the year. The rookery is located seven miles north of San Simeon on Highway 1. Northern elephant seals haul out on beaches near San Simeon year-round, as they go through different phases in their life cycle. During peak times in January, April, and October, there can be up to 17,000 animals on the San Simeon shores. Come see these magnificent marine mammals up close on one of the prettiest coastlines in California.
Perched high above the ocean, Ragged Point is located about 15 miles north of San Simeon and is known as the Gateway to Big Sur. This quaint community is nestled between the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and the serene Pacific Ocean, with stunning coastal views around every turn. Rest and relax at Ragged Point Inn and Restaurant, or if you feel more adventurous, hike down a steep cliffside to a black sand beach. Here you will find some of the last amenities before you reach the iconic Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to the north on longer rides.
Black Swift Waterfalls
Also referred to as Ragged Point Falls, Black Swift is an intermittent waterfall on Young Creek that flows beautifully during late winter and spring, sometimes continuing into early summer. The trail leading to this vista is not an easy one, and likely shouldn’t be navigated without hiking boots and pants—but it is short, and very rewarding if you’re a nature lover. It flows onto a beach located just below Ragged Point Inn, and after a heavy rain, it is an especially impressive sight.