Ventana Campground in Big Sur, located approximately 65 miles north of San Simeon and 30 miles south of Carmel, is an amazing 40 acre redwood canyon. All sites follow the existing contour of the canyon and Post Creek without disturbing its natural beauty. We have three modern bath houses and each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring with water faucets a short walk away. Campers can access scenic and convenient trails to The Restaurant at Ventana and the Ventana Wilderness. We are centrally located near general stores, restaurants, cafes, gift shops, delis, taverns, and the post office in the Big Sur community.
Public Access and Experience Guide
Coastal Destination Map
Three tribes of Native Americans—the Ohlone, Esselen, and Salinan—were the first people to inhabit the area now known as Big Sur. Archaeological evidence shows that they lived in Big Sur for thousands of years, leading a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence.
Among Big Sur’s early pioneers, the most remarkable is William Post. In 1848, 13-year-old boy Bill Post arrived in Monterey. A native of Connecticut, he was the son of a retired sea captain, and was himself in love with the sea. Bill had sailed the Atlantic as a cabin boy on The Brooklyn before he came ashore at Magdalena Bay with a friend. The next morning, the two lads found their vessel gone, so they walked barefoot to La Paz, where they got onto The Mizzen Top, a government ship heading to Yerba Buena (San Francisco). The boys disembarked at Monterey. Penniless, Bill fished in the bay with an old fisherman, trading his fish in town for a dollar. In 1849, the gold rush started and Bill followed everyone to Sacramento. However, when he returned to Monterey, Post was just as poor as he had left.
In 1858, he married Anselmo Onesimo, a Rumsen Indian girl from the Carmel Valley. Together, they found a piece of land at Soberanes Creek and decided to head to Big Sur. On March 1, 1859, Charles Francis Post was born in the cabin his father had just finished building. The Posts then had Joseph W. Post in 1862, and later two daughters, Mary and Ellen. Today, the Post legacy is integral to Big Sur. The Post House, located on the Ventana Inn’s highway turnoff still remains. The Post Ranch Inn, across on Highway One, is built on Post land.
In 1937, Highway One brought the 20th century to Big Sur. Built by convict laborers, the highway paved the way for Big Sur’s modern culture of artists, beats, hippies, tourists and yuppies. Henry Miller moved to Big Sur in 1944, and his 1958 Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch inspired a genera tion of Beat writers to follow in his foot steps. The Hippies followed the Beatniks in the 1960s, thus contributing to Big Sur’s bohemian counterculture. While the 1960s are no longer, the culture of New Age Mysticism and experimental psycho therapy still thrives to make Big Sur an all-American haven of modern eclectic nature attuned spirituality.
(Sequoia sempervirens) It’s an evergreen tree that lives anywhere from 1,200 and 1,800 years or more. This specific Species includes the tallest trees on Earth, Reaching up to 379 feet. The tallest and oldest trees are found in deep valleys and gullies, where year-round streams can flow, and fog drip is regular. Coast redwoods occupy a narrow strip of land approximately 470 miles of the pacific northwest. The most southerly grove is in Monterey County, while the most northerly grove is in the extreme southwestern areas of Oregon. Coast redwood lumber is highly valued for its beauty, light weight, and resistance to decay. Its lack of resin makes it resistant to fire.
(Gymnogyps californianus) The California condor is the largest North American land Bird, weighing from 15 to 31 pounds, they also have the largest wingspans of any North American bird of up to 10 feet. The adult California condor is a uniform black with the exception of large triangular patches or bands of white on the underside of the wings. California condors are often found near cliffs or large trees which are used for nesting sites. One of the two sanctuaries dedicated to this bird is right here in the Los Padres National Forest, Sespe Condor Sanctuary. They live off large mammalian carcasses and can live up to 60 years. As an adaptation for hygiene, the condor’s head and neck have few feathers, which exposes the skin to the sterilizing effects of dehydration and solar ultraviolet light at high altitudes.
Hiking Trails and State Parks
California Campfire Permit required for any fire in the back country and can be obtained at the Big Sur Station or at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/
Wind your way through the lovely box canyon to the campground entrance where you will find the Post Creek Trail head. Meander south along the hillside above scenic highway one, through the Bay laurels to Cadillac Flats trail head parking area. From this convenient location you can access the Coast Ridge Road, the Coast Ridge Trail and The Restaurant at Ventana.
From Cadillac Flats trail head parking area, head southeast onto Coast Ridge Road. Continue uphill to enjoy epic views of Ventana, Post Ranch Inn, Pacific Ocean and on a clear day, experience a view of the Big Sur Lighthouse. This trail eventually becomes Cone Peak Road which takes you above the Ventana Campground into the Ventana Wilderness.
HOURS Lunch: Noon – 3 p.m. Mid-Day: 3 – 5 p.m. Dinner: 6 – 9 p.m. Reservations strongly recommended. INFO 831.667.4242; ventanainn.com/dining
HOURS Bakery: daily from 8 a.m. Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30 p.m. (closed Sunday and Monday). Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. DIRECTIONS From Ventana, drive north on Highway One for 0.3 miles. The entrance is on the west side of the highway. INFO 831.667.0520; bigsurbakery.com
HOURS Open for dinner, 5:30 – 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Call for reservations. DIRECTIONS From Ventana, drive north on Highway One for 3.6 miles. The entrance is on the west side of the highway. INFO 831.667.2264; bigsurroadhouse.com
HOURS Open daily, 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. DIRECTIONS From Ventana, drive south on Highway One for 1 mile. The entrance is on the west side of the highway. INFO 831.667.2345; nepenthebigsur.com
Campground Safety Regulations
• Respect the peacefulness and quiet of the redwoods.
• QUIET HOURS 10 PM – 7 AM .
• No loud noise or loud music at any time.
• NO RV’S, NO HOOK UPS. NO GENERATORS.
• All fires must be in fire rings, under control at all times and extinguished before departure.
• Please do not DEFACE TREES or STUMPS.
• Please purchase your firewood in Big Sur. Collecting ground wood is forbidden.
• No fireworks or firearms permitted on property.
• LEAVE NO TRACE on campsites or facilities.
• Conserve water. Firmly close water taps when not using.
• Dogs must be quiet, on leash at all times and stay in campsites or roads. PLEASE clean up after your dog.
No dogs left unattended.
• Recycle bins are available for plastic bottles, cans and glass. Please recycle.
• Maximum 5 people, 1 vehicle, 2 dogs
It is the responsibility of each camper to understand and comply with the safety regulations. They are strictly enforced to ensure a peaceful, safe experience for each guest. Anyone found in violation of these regulations will be asked to leave.
PREMISES ARE PATROLLED BY SECURITY AT NIGHT.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY PLEASE CONTACT 831-667-2712.
ENJOY THE REDWOODS.