Andrew Molera State Park, one of Big Sur's most accessible hiking areas. The gentle, flat camp trail of only a couple of miles follows the Big Sur River and leads past campsites to a long, curved beach and a secluded cove nestled against high bluffs. Also along the camp trail is the Cooper Cabin, built in the 1860s and the oldest structure in Big Sur. Early settler Molera ran his dairy farm here, producing some prized Monterey Jack cheese.
(Check the park's website for latest on trail conditions because there's some work being done on the trails this winter and a seasonal footbridge over the river was not up when I visited in late November).
The park is a 4,800-acre swath of wilderness with meadows, oak and redwood groves, wildlife and beautiful three-mile-stretch of Pacific coastline where you may spot sea lions, sea otters and migrating whales.
Ventana Wildlife Society's Discovery Center, which opened in the last couple of years in a restored old barn near the farmhouse and park entrance.
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