Big Sur Coast Highway is a stretch of Route 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco where nature remains untouched. Some 200 miles (320 km) north of Los Angeles along Route 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway), the town of San Luis Obispo and the small fishing village of Morro Bay are the two alternative starting points of the Big Sur drive. This 144 miles (230 km) of highway is almost deserted, featuring just a handful of small towns and a couple of hotels, including the Post Ranch Inn, where celebrities like to take time out.
The wildlife protection area has recently seen California condors reintroduced. They swoop high over the precipices while, down below, local residents include sea otters and sea lions with the occasional migrating whale. Deer and foxes are often sighted, and the shy and elusive cougar is also at home here.
The narrow two-lane road snakes its way along the jagged cliff hugging the mountainside. Soak up the scenery as the road weaves along the sheer drops past Point Sur lighthouse before ending at picturesque Carmel, the heart of the West Coast’s idyllic coastal country, best known for its fine beaches and movie-star resident (and onetime mayor) Clint Eastwood.