Summary: This trail has been reworked in recent years and is in excellent shape. There is only a slight amount of poison oak off the trail, which is rare for the Big Sur area. Most paths are ubiquitously lined with the stuff making walking in shorts rather precarious. It is a good idea to watch where you are going, because your eyes will definitely be on the scenery.
This is the best viewpoint in all of Big Sur. Cone Peak rises from the ocean at a steeper degree than Mount Whitney rises from the Owens Valley.
You can also spot wildflowers and wildlife, thought the area lies just outside the Ventana Wilderness.
Trailhead: From Limekiln State Park, drive 2 miles south on Highway 1, and turn left onto Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. Follow it into the mountains for nearly 7 miles and turn left onto forest road 20S05. It is signed for Cone Peak. Follow the road for a little more than five miles, past a really rocky and bumpy section that might be a bit difficult for passenger cars.
The rest of the road is in great condition, but one little section is barely passable. Low clearance cars should be very careful, though it is passable. No problem for 4-wheel drive vehicles. (Lat:36.05198 Lon:-121.49665)
Trail Guides for Cone Peak:
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Walking the California Coast
by John McKinney (Harper Collins)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Los Padres National Forest - Sant Lucia Ranger District (805) 925-9538
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Lew on 5/3/2014
The road was open to the trailhead, and it was a nice consistent climb along the ridge with views to the ocean the whole way. The last part gets steep with switchbacks. Just take rest stops and you'll get there. It was kind of hot when not in the breeze, but it was a beautiful day. The view toward the ocean is great and the other side shows plenty of mountains.
Reviewed by Ken on 10/27/2012
The gravel road (Coast Ridge Road aka Cone Peak Road aka Forest Route 22S05) in the northbound direction to the trail head is gated at Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and according to the park ranger not likely to be opened in the future to motorized vehicles. Mountain bikes are a good choice to travel the 5 miles (one way) to the trailhead or else be prepared for the additional distance on your hike to the summit.
Reviewed by Claire on 5/31/2012
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Reviewed by Jim Messick on 10/15/2010
I was the ranger at nacimento summitt in 1970, I serviced the lookout when Phill Kinder was posted there. This is a hike that is well worth the time. An unforgetable expirence..A most beautiful view.
Reviewed by Mike on 6/7/2008
I backpacked in several times years ago to both Vicente and the Cone Peak summit, but until Thursday, June 5, 2008 had not been on the trail in many years. First, take insect repellant-the biting flies were a real nuisance starting about 2.5 miles in from Highway 1. Also, the trail is washed out or overgrown in a number of spots-making it necessary to pay attention but not a big challenge or especially dangerous. The wildflowers were almost everywhere on the trail and spectacular, and the views (the fog was way out to sea) were very rewarding.
Reviewed by Josh on 1/8/2008
I've done this hike several times and I highly reccomend it. The first time I went the road to the trailhead was closed which added about 10-12 miles of road hiking (round-trip). We we tired. From the trail (which is very easy to miss as you are driving along a mountain-view road) it takes me about an hour to get up to the top. Don't give up at those switchbacks, its well worth it. There is never anyone there when I go and you can see forever!
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