Vicente Flat Trail (6/14/16 - 6/15/16)


The trail begins right off of Highway 1, quite a bit south of Julia Pfeiffer State Park and the more popular, crowded areas of Big Sur. Parking is free and all you need is a fire permit if you're using a stove or making a campfire (printable online or available at Big Sur Station).

The trail begins right off of Highway 1, quite a bit south of Julia Pfeiffer State Park and the more popular, crowded areas of Big Sur. Parking is free and all you need is a fire permit if you're using a stove or making a campfire (printable online or available at Big Sur Station).

Right off the bat you're met with about 1-2 miles of uphill switchbacks, definitely the hardest part of the hike. We started at around 2:00pm, so the sun was beating right on us and the heat was a bit of a killer. Luckily you get some nice ocean breezes and an absolutely breathtaking view.

Right off the bat you're met with about 1-2 miles of uphill switchbacks, definitely the hardest part of the hike. We started at around 2:00pm, so the sun was beating right on us and the heat was a bit of a killer. Luckily you get some nice ocean breezes and an absolutely breathtaking view.

Quite a few wildflowers were still in bloom, dotting the trail with very cool yellow, blue, purple, and orange colors (not really pictured well here).

Quite a few wildflowers were still in bloom, dotting the trail with very cool yellow, blue, purple, and orange colors (not really pictured well here).

We took our time during these first two miles (in part due to the heat/switchbacks, but also to enjoy the view). This is a panorama from one of the higher vantage points.

After all the switchbacks on the hillside facing the ocean, you start heading inwards towards Vicente Flat. This part of the hike brings you under wooded shade, with the trail being a bit more overgrown, but still clearly visible. Watch out for the ton of poison oak flanking both sides of the trail (some of which I'm sure got on me).

After all the switchbacks on the hillside facing the ocean, you start heading inwards towards Vicente Flat. This part of the hike brings you under wooded shade, with the trail being a bit more overgrown, but still clearly visible. Watch out for the ton of poison oak flanking both sides of the trail (some of which I'm sure got on me).

The camp was pretty empty, with only seven people there (three campsites taken total, a ton more available). It's so much less crowded than the more popular areas in Big Sur, like Sykes or anything along the Pine Ridge Trail.

The camp was pretty empty, with only seven people there (three campsites taken total, a ton more available). It's so much less crowded than the more popular areas in Big Sur, like Sykes or anything along the Pine Ridge Trail.

Since this trip was a quick overnighter, we opted for no-cook meals, but we still setup a campfire and enjoyed the seclusion.

Since this trip was a quick overnighter, we opted for no-cook meals, but we still setup a campfire and enjoyed the seclusion.

The hike back to the car seemed infinitely easier than the hike in, with less uphill portions and this beautiful view every time you look up.

The hike back to the car seemed infinitely easier than the hike in, with less uphill portions and this beautiful view every time you look up.

Overall, a very enjoyable hike. I would definitely do it if you choose to go backpacking in Big Sur or anywhere along the California central coast - we're definitely going to do it again in the future with more people.