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Old Coast Road

Basics
Location:
Big Sur, Carmel
Length:
21 miles
Aerobic Difficulty:
Moderate to Advanced
Time To Allow:
3 - 4 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
3700 feet
Elevation Range:
3700 feet to 5550 feet
Elevation Change:
1850 feet
Season:
Year Round

Description

The Old Coast Road, located between Carmel and Big Sur off the Pacific Coast Highway, is one of the premier mountain biking trails along the California Coast. The Old Coast Road is aptly named; it was once the main connecting road between Carmel and Big Sur prior to the highway’s construction.

The Old Coast Road is most commonly approached from south to north and back again, beginning and ending at Andrew Molera State Park with the turn around point at Bixby Bridge. Riders looking for a shorter adventure can opt to car shuttle back to Andrew Molera from Bixby Bridge. Riders may also choose to loop the ride by returning from Bixby Bridge to Andrew Molera via the highway to reduce climbing on the way back.

The Old Coast Road features long climbs that can at times become strenuous. The Old Coast Road crosses the Santa Lucia Mountains, gaining a powerful 3700 vertical feet when ridden out and back. The Old Coast Road is graded several times per year, though in-between maintenance it can become rutted and sprinkled with washboards.

The Old Coast Road cuts through sections of Coastal Redwood forest and open meadow with excellent views of the surrounding mountains, the California coast and Pacific Ocean. In springtime, wildflowers abound on the Old Coast Road, making it an especially beautiful time to ride here.

Details

Location:
Big Sur, Carmel
Length:
21 miles
Can be shuttled as one way, which cuts length in half. Also can be looped by riding on the highway back to the start
Difficulty:
Steep uphill sections.
Aerobic Difficulty:
Moderate to Advanced
Time To Allow:
3 - 4 hours
Shorter if shuttled
Trailhead Elevation:
3700
Elevation Range:
3700 feet to 5550
Elevation Change:
1850
Season:
Year Round
Additional Details:

The Old Coast Road is multi-use and riders should understand and practice proper right of way protocol. Riders should be prepared when mountain biking with a first aid kit, bike repair kit and extra water and food. In addition, a map of the area, though not always necessary, may come in handy.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

From Carmel take Highway 1-Pacific Coast Highway south 22 miles to Andrew Molera State Park. Park here. From Big Sur State Park head northward on Highway 1 (PCH) 10 miles to Andrew Molera State Park. Park here. The start to the Old Coast Road is located across the street from Andrew Molera State Park.


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