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The Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes Hot Springs


  • The natural warm springs at Sykes Camp approximately 12 miles inland from the trailhead attracted visitors in the past who built structures to impound the spring water. These “tubs” are no longer on site and won’t be re-installed as this area lays within both a Congressionally protected Wilderness Area as well as the Big Sur Wild & Scenic River corridor. Structures of any type cause resource damage and are prohibited; violations will be taken seriously.
  • When fire restrictions are in effect, usually between May and November, campfires and smoking are not permitted anywhere along the PRT. During extreme fire conditions even stoves and cooking devices are prohibited. Visitors need to plan ahead and should stop by the Big Sur Station visitors center, or call (831) 385-5434 for current conditions and to obtain a California Campfire Permit. You can download a campfire permit here.

    Whatever is packed in must be packed out. There is no garbage service in the wilderness and visitors are encouraged to leave these areas in better condition than they find them. Where available, hikers must use the wilderness toilets – they are the only appropriate place to defecate. Visitors should bring a large plastic bag to pack out hygiene products, disposable towelettes and toilet paper. Dog owners are responsible for picking up after their pet just as they would anywhere else.

    A new three-panel display has been installed at the trailhead and we are encouraging visitors to use our new voluntary self-registration system and take time to read through the posted information. Data gleaned through self-registration will guide future management decisions and determine whether additional steps are needed to protect natural resources.

    Please review the Sykes specific LEAVE NO TRACE information
    prepared by Ventana Wilderness Alliance. To get the latest trail information,

    Big Sur has two hot springs which are open to the public; Sykes Hot Springs and the hot springs located at the Esalen Institute. A third hot springs is located at the Tassajara Zen Center which is accessible by way of Big Sur and an 18 mile hike over the rugged Ventana Wilderness. You can reach Tassajara by automobile through Carmel Valley during the summer months, May - September.  During the fall and winter months Tassajara is closed to visitors.  Reservations are recommended, please call: 831-659-2229.

    Ventana and Silver Peak wilderness maps can be found at with very useful illustrations of camps, water sources and points of interest.

    Ventana Wilderness Alliance maintains an online trail guide offering current trail conditions to Sykes warm springs as well as many other trails in the Ventana Wilderness, Silver Peak Wilderness, and Los Padres National Forest. It is a very valuable asset in educating yourself about the Big Sur backcountry.

    Before hiking into the Ventana Wilderness area you'll need to pick up a free campfire permit or
    you can get it online, fill it out and keep it with you. Wilderness permits are not needed. Normally you can park your car at the Big Sur Station for $5.00/night, self pay/registration but for now the Pine Ridge Trail is closed for repairs as well as Sykes Hot Springs.

    For general questions about the Los Padres National Forest please visit their website and you can speak with a ranger at their headquarters in King City at this number; 831.385-5434.

    Download our local Big Sur Visitors Guide in Adobe PDF.

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