"Undeveloped and usually overlooked, Garrapata State Park offers a lot of
Big Sur in a compact area. The park features two miles (probably closer
to four miles counting the twists and turns) of spectacular coastline
and a steep sampling of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Rocky Ridge Trail quickly leaves Highway 1 behind and offers far-reaching views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the sea. A grand loop of the state park can be made by returning to the trailhead via redwood-lined Soberanes Canyon.
The name Soberanes is linked with the early Spanish exploration of California. Soldier José María Soberanes marched up the coast to Monterey with the Gaspar de Portolá expedition of 1769. Seven years later, Soberanes served as a guide for Juan Bautista De Anza, whose party pushed north to San Francisco Bay. Grandson José Antonio Ezequiel Soberanes acquired the coastal bluff and magniﬁcent backcountry that became known as the Soberanes Ranch.
Rocky Ridge Trail will be more enjoyable for the gung-ho hiker than the novice. The trail ascends very steeply as it climbs Rocky Ridge. Then, after gaining the ridge, hikers must descend an extremely steep mile (we’re talking about a 20 to 30 percent grade here) to connect to Soberanes Canyon Trail.
The leg-weary, or those simply looking for an easier walk, will simply stroll through the redwoods of Soberanes Canyon and not attempt Rocky Ridge Trail.
Personal Experience: Soberanes Creek Watershed is the western part of the Garrapatos State Park. Head toward the ocean if you want to see the spots I have photographed. The place was also completely isolated giving us our own private beach. The day we went was hot and this was the 3rd hike we had taken that day so I think our adventure bug was dying down. I work best in overcast weather. I mention this because I think I could have explored a lot more if I wasn't getting so drained. So keep in mind that there is *a lot* more to explore. We didn't even head east into the mountains!
Salt forms in the tide pools here. Coooool!
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