Share:

Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop

Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur Coastline, California

Start Exploring
Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop

Share:

Advertisement
  • Large coast live oaks hang over the Headlands Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • The Big Sur River.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) of Cooper's Grove. - Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) roosting along the Headland Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • The Headlands Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • The Big Sur River estuary comes into view as you approach Molera Point.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Molera Point.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Looking south at the Big Sur River Estuary and Andrew Molera State Beach. To access the Bluff Trail, follow the beach south.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • The Bluff Trail junction.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • The Bluff Trail follows the bluff tops above Andrew Molera State Beach.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Creamery Meadow Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • A curious bobcat (Lynx rufus) inspects his tracks along the Creamery Meadow Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Massive coast live oak along the Creamery Meadow Trail.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
  • Yet another chance to get the feet wet in the Big Sur River.- Headlands to Creamery Meadow Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Good park orientation loop. Diversity of landscapes.
Cons: 
None.
Advertisement
Region:
Big Sur Coastline, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
60.00 ft (18.29 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.20 mi (5.15 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
10.00 ft (3.05 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

A great loop hike for getting the lay of the land within Andrew Molera State Park, the Headlands to Creamery Meadows Loop will help you get your bearings without feeling like an overly committed or full day endeavor. Showcasing Andrew Molera’s diversity of landscapes, this 3-mile loop explores the Big Sur River, Andrew Molera State Beach, the coastal bluff tops, and Creamery Meadow, which makes up the ecologically rich core of the park.

Heading in a counter-clockwise direction, begin at the north end of the main parking area on the Headlands/Trail Camp Trail following the Big Sur River west. Pass Trail Camp, the park’s walk-in environmental campground, and continue toward the tall grove of blue gum eucalyptus trees known as Cooper’s Grove. From October through January, Cooper’s Grove is home to a population of monarch butterflies that migrate from the Rocky Mountains to warmer climates for their winter roost. Nearby is Cooper’s Cabin, named after Juan Batista Rogers Cooper, who once owned the land that now comprises the park. Built in 1861, the cabin is the oldest surviving structure in Big Sur.

Continue following the trail west parallel to the river until you see a sign that marks the Headlands Trail Junction. Here, the Headlands Trail splits right and climbs slightly to Molera Point, a beautiful overlook ideal for marine mammal sightings. At low tide you can climb down to the beach from Molera Point via a bench platform located on the lower rocks next to the river's mouth. At high tide this approach is not recommended; rather, retrace your steps back to the junction and head right along the Big Sur River Estuary. To gain the beach, wade across the shallowest section of water you can find or throw in a couple of easy climbing moves along the rock wall for an ever shallower crossing. Fording the river may difficult during winter months following rains.

Explore the river's mouth, estuary and Andrew Molera State Beach as you head south toward the Bluff Trail. Make a left off the beach a few hundred yards south of the river's mouth, followed by an immediate, signed right, and climb to the bluff tops as you enjoy the scenic views up and down the coast. After a quarter mile, take a left to join the Creamery Meadows Trail. This trail and park service road will loop back to the parking area via a mile-long path through Creamery Meadows, an area rich with wildlife including deer, coyote, bobcat, rabbits, lizards and birds.

Keep an eye out for poison oak on and near the trail, as it is pervasive throughout the park.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(44 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
22 Members
Who's Done It
6 Members
Submission by
Team
319 Adventures Explored
311 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info