A Guide to California's Big Sur

Big Sur: Books and Maps

Here are some excellent printed publications that have more extensive information about the Big Sur region than I can provide in this small Web site.

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Hiking & Backpacking Big Sur: A Complete Guide to the Trails of Big Sur, Ventana Wilderness, and Silver Peak Wilderness, by Analise Elliot Heid (Wilderness Press, 2013, ISBN 0899973264)

This book provides detailed information about hiking and backpacking the trails of the Big Sur region and the mountains east of the crest of the Santa Lucia range.

Big Sur and Ventana Wilderness Recreation Map (Wilderness Press, 2005, ISBN 0899973655)

This detailed topographical trail map includes the Big Sur coastline from Garrapata State Park to Ragged Point as well as the national forest interior. It also serves as a good road map for most of California Highway 1 in the Big Sur region.

Day Hikes Around Big Sur: 99 Great Hikes, by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books, 2014, ISBN 1573420689)

This book includes a variety of hikes to accommodate different recreation goals and hiking abilities. The description of each hike includes a map, directions, and a summary.

Explore! Big Sur Country: A Guide to Exploring the Coastline, Byways, Mountains, Trails, and Lore, by Barry Parr (Globe Pequot Press, 2007, ISBN 0762735686)

This book describes the Big Sur region ... the parks, lore, history, and scenic riches ... emphasizing day-hikes both from the coast and interior roads but also including some backpacking routes, mainly in the Ventana Wilderness.

California Coastal Access Guide, by California Coastal Commission (University of California Press, 2014, ISBN 0520278178)

This guide is an essential handbook for both new and seasoned visitors exploring California's majestic 1,100-mile shoreline. With up-to-date maps and information, it is a valuable guide for all beachgoers -- hikers, campers, swimmers, divers, wheelchair users, joggers, and boaters -- detailing where to go, how to get there, and what facilities and environment to expect.

Mountain Biking California's Central Coast Best 100 Trails: Big Sur to Point Mugu, by Delaine Fragnoli (FineEdge.Com LLC, 1999, ISBN 0938665596)

Includes the Big Sur region and as far south as Point Mugu.

Natural History

The Natural History of Big Sur, by Paul Henson, Donald J. Usner, Valerie A. Kells (Illustrator) (University of California Press, 1996, ISBN 0520205103)

This book is a natural history of the Big Sur region but is also a guide to its extensive public lands. Included are an overview of the area's geology, climate, and native plants and animals, and more in-depth descriptions of selected sites, trails, and features.

Human History / Film / Literary

My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur, by Romney Steele (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009, ISBN 0740779141)

Tales of Nepenthe Restaurant and its role in Big Sur. Author Romney Steele is a writer, cook, and food stylist, and the granddaughter of Bill and Lolly Fassett, creators of Nepenthe Restaurant.

The Sandpiper, 1965, DVD, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Eva Marie Saint, and directed by Vincente Minnelli

Filmed in Big Sur, The Sandpiper portrays a boy and his free-spirited, unwed mother (Taylor) living an idyllic lifestyle in Big Sur. An Episcopalian priest (Burton) initially disapproves of the mother, but eventually they have an illicit affair. The film may have had a major role in luring many hippies to the Big Sur region during the mid- to late 1960s.

Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, by Henry Miller (New Directions Publishing, 1957, ISBN 0811201074)

Author Henry Miller arrived in Big Sur in 1944. This is the story of Miller's life in the Big Sur region.

Big Sur, by Jack Kerouac (Penguin Books, 1992, ISBN 0140168125)

This novel, a classic by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac, is set in San Francisco and in Big Sur's fictional "Raton Canyon" (said to be modeled after Bixby Canyon) during the summer of 1960 and describes the author's own mental breakdown.

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January 2016
looking north from Rocky Creek Bridge View from Burns North Vista Point Evening view from Nepenthe Restaurant

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