Coastal access along the Big Sur Coastline is difficult to find due to the steep, jagged cliffs and private land ownership. Two small picnic areas, Mill Creek and Willow Creek, offer coastal access along with small beaches. These areas are much less known and therefore less populated than the major beaches, Pfeiffer and Sand Dollar. At Mill Creek there are free restrooms and two picnic tables with standing grills. Directly from the parking area an expanse of large boulders gives direct access to the ocean, and to the north and south there are small beaches to explore. To the north of the parking area several boats are suspended above a beach on the cliff. Higher tides can isolate this beach and make it dangerous to access. If this is the case, the southern beach is another great option. Simply cross the small Mill Creek and follow the trails around a large rock to the sandy shore.
Millions of years ago the formation of Big Sur's dramatic coast begin in present day Mexico. Sediments were deposited by a river along the West Coast and were later compressed and folded to create the rocks seen today. The tectonic plate in which all these rocks formed then moved northward into present day Big Sur. Here this plate collided with another, leading to the uplifting of materials that created the Santa Lucia Mountains. Since the creation of the Santa Lucia Mountains, millions of years of erosion from the ocean waves and rainfall have left the coast we see today. Current seismic activity continues to move these mountains very slowly.