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Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area

Big Sur Coastline, California

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Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area

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  • Looking south toward San Martin Rock at Willow Creek Beach.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • A cairn sits along the rocky coastline at Willow Creek Beach.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • Willow Creek (right) and the beach (left).- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • Seagulls take flight from Willow Creek Beach.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • The open expanse of beach is completely uninhabited.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • Looking south along Willow Creek Beach.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • Waves crash with San Martin Rock in the background.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • Kelp seen through a crashing wave.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • A seagull stands smugly on a rock.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • The picnic area from the road leading down to it.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
  • The picnic area from the viewpoint above.- Willow Creek Beach + Picnic Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Long hidden beach.
Cons: 
Access to the beach may be tide dependent. No picnic tables.
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Region:
Big Sur Coastline, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Rocky shore
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

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 Willow Creek there are free restrooms and old road ledges to dangle your legs from as you enjoy a meal. An expanse of large boulders gives direct access to the ocean directly from the parking area, and to the north there lies a long beach. The viewpoint above Willow Creek Picnic area is often very crowded, but somehow this beach remains empty much of the time.

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.

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(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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(14 within a 30 mile radius)

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