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Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail

Big Sur

Big Sur Coastline, California

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Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail

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  • The trailhead is across the road from Kirk Creek Campground.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • The  trail offers fabulous views right from the beginning.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Looking north along the Big Sur coast.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Kirk Creek Trail.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Wildflowers along the Big Sur coastline.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • California poppies.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • This fabulous trail has views that never stop.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Headed back down the trail.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Highway 1 far below.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • A small stand of redwoods struggles in a microclimate.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
  • Kirk Creek Campground from the trail.- Kirk Creek / Vicente Flat Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning views. Convenient to the campground.
Cons: 
Some poison oak. Non-stop climbing.
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Region:
Big Sur Coastline, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
360.00 ft (109.73 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.20 mi (5.15 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
90.00 ft (27.43 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Conveniently located across the highway from the Kirk Creek campground, the Kirk Creek Trail, also known as the Vicente Flat Trail, is a must-do for anyone staying at the campground or even driving through. The trail is a constant climb along the shoulder of the coastal hills that eventually connects with trails from Limekiln State Park and reaches the Vicente Flat Campground high up Hare Canyon at 1,630 feet. This adventure only goes as far as the point where the trail turns inland into Hare Canyon and leaves the coast (and the grand views) behind, but the advanced hiker can climb another 1,100 feet to the top of Cone Peak.

Leaving the well-marked trailhead on Highway 1, the trail is not steep but climbs steadily with a few switchbacks. There are nice views of Kirk Creek Campground below, and the views of the coastline in both directions get increasingly spectacular with each turn of the trail. In spring the wildflowers are abundant with California poppy, ceanothus, morning glory and lupine. There are a few deep creek drainages that have small stands of redwood trees, but this is near the southern limits of their range, so other than in a few deep canyons like Limekiln, the trees look like they are struggling a bit for survival. At just over 1.5 miles the last of the coastal views recede as the trail turns east up Hare Canyon, and this is a logical place to turn around for hikers looking for trip of only a few hours.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

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