Explore San Simeon by Hiking through the Heart of It
Hiking in San Simeon offers a vast array of beauty, giving visitors the chance to see sand, sea, rolling hills and rocky cliffs—all in one amazing journey, and in one amazing place.
San Simeon Creek Trail
Running straight through San Simeon State Park and its nearby campgrounds is the San Simeon Creek Trail, a famous 3.3-mile hiking trail featuring a number of route variations that lead to picturesque vistas, rest stop benches and hidden gems.
The trail winds through the diverse California landscape offering up-close views of rich Monterey pines, riparian valleys, scenic bluffs and pastoral grassy areas. In the wintertime you will see gatherings of monarch butterflies that call the park home during the chillier season.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy signposts that feature information about the local habitats and wildlife, get glimpses of Hearst Castle, take in the Santa Lucia Mountains, explore tide pools and more. Burnett Peak, pictured above, is just one of the many beautiful sights among the Santa Lucia Mountains to enjoy.
To reach the San Simeon Creek Trailhead, turn inland from Highway 1 at the access road just south of the San Simeon Creek Campground entrance. Park in the Washburn Primitive Campground day-use area, and walk along the service road until you reach the marked trailhead on your right. If you’re camping, walk along the campground road until you find the trailhead just west of the San Simeon Creek bridge.
Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
A leisurely oceanside trail, the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk is a 2.85-mile round trip excursion bordered by sandy beach, tide pools, ocean wildlife and endless views of the Pacific.
The trail protects the delicate Moonstone Beach bluffs from foot traffic while still allowing visitors to experience San Simeon’s natural beauty and wonders. With this idea in mind, the California Conservation Corps partnered with California State Parks to create the easy, scenic walk which extends down to Santa Rosa Beach.
Take some time to soak up the scenery at one of the viewing platforms, or head down to the beach and sink your toes in the sand. Numerous park benches along the path are ideal for a picnic lunch or simply to sit and revel in the coastal beauty.
This accessible trail begins at Leffingwell Landing Boat Launch, just south of the Moonstone Beach Drive exit off of Highway 1. To get there, turn onto Moonstone Beach Drive from the highway and drive south until you see the landing and trailhead. Numerous parking areas are available nearby.