Roads in Big Sur and Other Warnings and Dangers

Warnings and Dangers in Big Sur: Roads

The Big Sur Coast Highway hugs the California coast. It is a 123 mile stretch that offers great scenic views, but there are some precautions that need to be taken when driving in this area.

Highway 1

Highway 1 is a twisty, narrow, 2 lane road that has several areas with huge drop offs. If you have driven on a mountain road and been fearful, this may not be the best route to take. If you are planning to travel from southern California into the Monterey area and are afraid of heights you can take highway 101 instead.

If you decide to take highway 101 you are going to miss seeing the gorgeous coastline, but highway 101 offers some of its own beauty as well.

Weather Precautions

Even in great weather highway 1 is one of the most dangerous highways in the state even if the weather is good. When the weather is bad there are areas of the road that are often closed. If you are planning to travel in the area you should make sure that you call ahead for road hazards, rocks, and closures. The road located south of Nepenthe closes at least once per year.

Tips for Driving on Big Sur Roads

When driving on highway one there are several things that you can do to keep you as well as the other drivers on the road safe. These include:

  • Drive defensively
  • Make sure that you wear your seatbelts at all times, it is the law.
  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times. It can be easy to become distracted by all the beautiful views, but you really need to pay attention to the road while you are driving.
  • Obey the set speed limits, they are there for a reason.
  • Do not pass if the center lines are solid yellow on your side of the road or if the lines are double yellow. You should not pass if the visibility ahead is impaired.
  • If there is not a vehicle in front of you and there are at least five cars behind you, California state law requires you to pull over and let the other cars pass you. When you pull over you will need to avoid making a quick stop on any of the unpaved shoulders.

Driving on Highway one can be a great experience if you follow the above tips.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Big Sur Roads.

By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."

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