Route: Big Sur Loop (CA)

Submitted by driggsy on Mon, 01/17/2022 - 01:49pm
California, US
33 mi
Vertical Gain
7,700 ft

The Big Sur Loop involves a lot of epic views and beautiful ecosystems. It starts at the Pine Ridge Trailhead, then in the clockwise direction takes the following order of trails: Pine Ridge, Big Sur, North Coast Ridge (dirt road closed to public vehicles), Terrace Creek, Pine Ridge. You get to cross the Wild and Scenic Big Sur River a few times, run in the Big Sur Canyon, climb Devil's Staircase, weave through redwood groves, roll along the North Coast Ridge where it feels like you could fall directly into the ocean, and see big views of the interior Ventana, including Ventana Double Cone and The Window. All in all, this route has the makings and potential to be a mega classic. Enjoy your time in beautiful and unique places like this!

Side Note: When on the North Coast Ridge, make sure to run up and over Timber Top through Timber Top Camp. This will take you off the road for a quarter to a half of a mile then spit you back onto the road. No need to tag the true summit of Timber Top as there is no actual official trail. In addition, if just exploring this route for fun, Sykes Hot Springs is a quarter to a half of a mile off the loop, and it is downstream from Sykes Camp on the Pine Ridge Trail. Not required for the FKT, but an awesome spot to check out nonetheless!

As always with Big Sur, check trail conditions here ( before you head out for your big mountain adventure. Have fun!

GPS Track


Looks like Alyssa started at the campground not the Pine Ridge FS TH from her gps track, that only cuts off a mile of the fkt route… Is that an acceptable place to start if I go for this fkt? Can I also start at the state park campground like she did? Looks like Drew  and Ashley did a similar thing but Alexander and Alana started at the actual TH. Just don’t know how much people care or if the proper etiquette is to do the route the current holder did to get the fkt or to do the official route. 

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I have the same question as Anna - I would like to make an attempt some time this week, so would be great to get some clarity on the allowable starting point! 

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I just checked in on those Strava GPS tracks, and it seems like it appears that way because of Strava’s “hidden start” feature that Drew and Alyssa must have enabled. On the online Strava links, it shows both runners’ GPS tracks starting 0.1 and 0.4 miles into their activities respectively. So that would mean that the TH is the spot to start for this loop. Enjoy!