Big Sur is set in the midst of one of the world's most spectacular coastlines that stretches 90 miles between Carmel and San Simeon.
Big Sur is located along Scenic Highway One approximately 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Historically, the name Big Sur was derived from that unexplored and unmapped wilderness area which lies along the coast south of Monterey. It was simply called elpaís grande del sur, the Big South Country.
Today, Big Sur refers to the 90 mile stretch of rugged and beautiful coastline between Carmel to the north and San Simeon to the south. Highway One winds along its length and is flanked on one side by the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and on the other by the rocky Pacific Coast.
There is no downtown - only miles of staggeringly beautiful coastline, ocean cliffs, steep ridges, jagged peaks, deep gorges, flowing rivers and a population of approximately 1,000 residents.
13th October 2017 - After winter storms affecting the California Coast in February, the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has now reopened, allowing 35 miles of clear travelling south of Carmel on Highway 1. To drive "through" Big Sur travellers will have to take Nacimiento-Fergusson Road detour around Mud Creek slide, which is scheduled to reopen sometime next summer.
State Route 1 remains closed from north of Salmon Creek, just south of the Ranger Station to just south of Gorda due to the Mud Creek slide. State Route 1 south of Salmon Creek is accessible via State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo County near Ragged Point.