I had accidentally stopped by Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and headed up the Big Sur River Gorge last summer when we stopped too early in an attempt to do the Tanbark Trail & Tin House loop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. I mean, the names are confusing. Really.
los padres national forest
Hike: Junipero Serra Peak via Santa Lucia Trail
Where: Ventana Wilderness
Trailhead: Santa Lucia Trail
Duration: 4 hours
Length: 4 miles
Gear: Outdoor Research Ignitor Tee, REI Sahara Convertible Pants, Boreas Topaz 25 Daypack, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free
Drove down this past weekend to Los Padres National Forest with every intention to bag Junipero Serra Peak. (For the record, the drive down at night is gorgeous with millions of stars as far as the eye can see, so that was worth it in itself.) Did I bag it? Not even close. I underestimated the scorching sun, unforgiving heat, lack of shade, and desolate dryness of this side of the Santa Lucia Range.
The Tin House is a hike I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I never manage to make it out to Big Sur though. The one time I did this past summer, I accidentally went to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (I mean, come on, the names are so identical) and ended climbing up the Big Sur River instead. I made it down to the right park this past Christmas, but then drove past the trailhead.
But that’s okay! Because it made the hike to the Tin House even better. I parked at the big turnout down the road from McWay Falls about 500 feet and walked up Highway 1 into park headquarters. For Christmas Day, it was pretty packed full of people already leaving. (It was 10am when I got there.)