Author Topic: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon  (Read 3641 times)

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Offline Blue Continental

Hi all,
I'm planning a week long trip from SF to SLO and have been researching my camping options using the Pacific Coast Section 4 map and Krebs' Monterey map. I've got a fair amount of options, but there seems to be a deficit of options between Pfeiffer Big Sur and San Simeon. The one spot I came up with I found doing a Google Map search, a privately run campground on public lands called Kirk Creek Campground. My question is whether anyone has stayed at this campground (the fact that it doesn't seem to register on any bike touring radar makes me suspect), or knows of any other options midway between Pfeiffer Big Sur and San Simeon.

Thanks!

Offline aggie

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 11:10:27 am »
I found it was pretty easy to go from Big Sur to San Simeon without stopping for the day. 

The ACA map lists two campsites near Lucia: Limekiln Beach State Park and Kirk Creek Campground (USFS).  They also list a campsite near Pacific Valley: Plaskett Creek Campgroung (USFS).  Bicycling the Pacific Coasts lists also lists these campgrounds.  They state that Limekiln has hot showers but the other two do not.

Offline valygrl

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 05:47:09 pm »
Limekiln is the state campground, Kirk Creek is the forest service campground. 

They are less than 2 miles from each other.  I have stayed at Kirk Creek twice, there is a hiker/biker site, the setting is lovely.  It just has cold water bathrooms, no showers or other amenities.  Limekiln is tucked away on the east side of the road in an indentation in the coast, kind of a land-locked cove, and it's not so appealing looking - looks kind of dark.  The Pacific COast guidebook says it has showers & more amenities, but I never went in there to check.

Kirk Creek is on a point that sticks out into the ocean a little, and is very sunny.  It's a spectacular sunset spot.

The h/b sites are away from the car sites, but it's a quick walk to them.  There's a little trail out of the h/b sites that takes you to the cliff edge, and down to the beach if you want.

One of the times I stayed at Kirk Creek there was a sign on the water spigot saying to boil water, so be prepared with a way to treat water or extra gas for boiling, or call the state park service ahead of time for info.  I guess worst case you could ride back up to Limekiln and either stay there or acquire water.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 09:26:46 pm »
I found it was pretty easy to go from Big Sur to San Simeon without stopping for the day. 



That's my experience, too.  I'm not a particularly strong rider, and I had no problem making this ride in a day, with full load.  It was one of my favorite days of the whole Pacific coast ride.  What great ocean views and exhilarating downhills.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Blue Continental

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 12:22:08 am »
Wow, hey thanks to all! I wasn't expecting such a plethora of responses so quick. This info is great.

From the mileage it looks like an easy trip to do in a day, though I want to spread out my riding and make the most of my week off so I was trying to pick out campgrounds as equidistant as possible, even going inland if need be though it seems like there's not much there once you pass Santa Cruz.

@valygrl: thanks for the tip about the water at Kirk Creek. I'll be sure to stock up before I get there.

PS: have any of you ever run into problems with h/b sites being booked to capacity at any of the campgrounds along the coast here?

Offline aggie

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 10:58:17 am »
I was at Pfeiffer Big Sur on Labor day weekend and didn't have any problems.  I doubt you'll have any problems.  The (warm)showers at Big Sur take quarters and it sure feels good after riding.  You should get in fairly early (based on your plan) so take a look at the hiking trails.  A couple of miles south of the park is Deetjen's Big Sur Inn.  I had a great breakfast there. 

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 02:04:47 am »


PS: have any of you ever run into problems with h/b sites being booked to capacity at any of the campgrounds along the coast here?

In 2005 when we rode the coast, sites did not get "booked".  There was just an area where all the h/b folks camped, like in a field or an open patch.  Sometimes it was more crowded than others, but we always had room.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline aggie

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2010, 10:16:55 am »
If you can find a copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Kirkendall & Spring you will find they a have a pretty good description of most of the campgrounds along the route.  I think it is out of print but it is a good reference book. 

Offline Blue Continental

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2010, 12:31:33 am »
@aggie: thanks for the tip about warm showers at Pfeiffer Big Sur. That's one park I'm really looking forward to. I'll try and track down that book at some point also, as I'm sure I'll be doing this route often in the future.

I hit the road tomorrow am! I'll post again if I learn any more current information on these sites that may be useful to riders.

Offline Blue Continental

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 11:02:08 am »
So two big thumbs up for the Kirk Creek h/b campground! Yes, you have to boil the water, and there are no showers, but it was the best campground location I stayed at the whole trip. I actually stopped by Limekiln Creek to see what they had to offer. The ranger there told me it was $35 for the night (no h/b), but that if I found another cyclist he'd let me split it with them. How generous. I thought of cupping my hands and hollering for another cyclist, but decided instead on continuing to Kirk Creek. Five other cyclists eventually showed up to join me at Kirk Creek, but there was plenty of room for more. I was surprised by how few cyclists I saw on my trip. At most of the h/b sites I was the only camper. At Big Basin the rangers working the counter didn't even know what a h/b site was (they had to ask their supervisor) and it looked like I was the only person who'd stayed there in a year. PS: I highly recommend going inland from PCH if you have the time. Much more pleasant riding (ie: less cars, more varied scenery, striking views). I went inland at Pescadero Creek Road and (after camping at Memorial Park) continued to climb up to Skyline Blvd via Alpine Road, which has to be one of the most beautiful stretches of riding I did the whole trip. The road is narrow, but hardly any cars travel it. The entire time I was on it, 5 cars passed me (all coming the other direction).

Offline valygrl

Re: Camping options south of Pfeiffer Big Sur and north of San Simeon
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2010, 03:38:45 pm »
Hey, glad you liked K.C., I'm feeling all nostalgic now for those awesome NorCal roads & scenery.   Alpine Rd. is steepy-steep!!!