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San Francisco, CA: Sykes Hot Springs, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

ca

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 21.6 miles


Simmer sore feet in your private backcountry spa.

Save your feet on this coastal hike to a steaming, natural spa: The 100°F springs are only accessible via an off-trail scramble or a river-walk on jagged granite—so pack secure sandals or other water shoes (see above). From the Pine Ridge trailhead ($5/car), climb 1,300 feet in 2.9 miles through sun-baked chaparral, and then trace a canyon under redwoods to Pacific views beyond the 1,000-foot-tall Santa Lucia Range. Continuing through manzanita, climb switchbacks that alternate with boulder-strewn descents for 7.3 miles. Hike downcanyon at 10.2 miles and make camp in a sheltered grove along the roaring, 15-foot-wide Big Sur River. Swap boots for water shoes and cruise .3 mile downstream to three tub-size, sandbag-lined pools, which terrace the southern slopes (hiker’s left) under pines. Return the way you came.

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