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Organization Title

Andrew Molera State Park

Contact Information

(831) 667-2315

Park Hours

Open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Driving Directions to Andrew Molera SP

The park is 20 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.


Current Conditions for All Big Sur Area Parks

Updated March 14, 2018

As of October 13, 2017, Highway 1 is open at Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, allowing vehicle access from the north to Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Limekiln State Parks. Highway 1 is closed at Gorda until late summer 2018 due to a massive landslide. From the south, access is closed on Highway 1 at Salmon Creek. Check traffic conditions before driving at the Caltrans website. 

POINT LOBOS State Natural Reserve is open but may close during storms and high surf events. More information: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve or Point Lobos Foundation.

* GARRAPATA State Park is open on the west side of Highway 1. All park lands east of Highway 1 are closed to public entry.

* POINT SUR Light Station is open for guided tours. More info: or (831) 625-4419

* ANDREW MOLERA State Park is open. The seasonal footbridge crossing the Big Sur River has been removed. Hikers must wade across the river to access these open trails: Creamery Meadow Trail, Ridge Trail, Bluffs Trail, Panorama Trail, Spring Trail. Open trails that do not require a river crossing include: East Molera Trail, Bobcat Trail, Coyote Flat and Cooper Loop Trail. The campground is closed until further notice. The River Trail and Twin Cottonwoods Trail are closed.

* PFEIFFER BIG SUR State Park is open. Trails that are open to the public include: Mount Manuel, Buzzard's Roost, Valley View, Liewald Flats, Redwood Deck, Nature Trail, River Path and Warden’s Path.  Trails that are closed due to hazardous conditions include Pfeiffer Falls, Pine Ridge, and the Gorge trail. ** ALERT: Due to the possibility of extreme winter weather, campsites at Pfeiffer Big Sur will be first-come first-serve only from December 1, 2017 until April 1, 2018 as conditions allow. Reservations during this time will not be possible. Group Camp is closed and not available for reservation until further notice. Follow on Facebook for more up-to-date information.  BIG SUR LODGE is open.

* JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS State Park is open for limited day use. Trails on the west side of Highway 1 are open. This includes the Overlook Trail and Partington Cove Trail. Trails on the east side of Highway 1 are closed. Ewoldsen, Canyon, Tanbark, Waters and the Tinhouse Fire Road Trails are closed. The campground is open.

* LIMEKILN State Park is open.

* PFEIFFER BEACH is open. Call the USFS Monterey District office in King City (831) 385-5434 for more information regarding Pfeiffer Beach.

* PINE RIDGE TRAIL and SYKES HOT SPRINGS are closed indefinitely. Call the USFS Monterey District office in King City (831) 385-5434 for more information.

* Check the CalTrans website or call 1-800-427-7623 for up-to-date road conditions on Highway 1.

Molera  beach



During your visit to Andrew Molera State Park, you may encounter fenced and posted boundaries for the El Sur Ranch. We ask your cooperation in refraining from climbing or cutting these fences. The El Sur Ranch is a working cattle grazing operation. These grazing areas are not safe for hiking. These private lands should not be utilized for beach access. Stay on park trails and obey all signs.

California Penal Code Sec. 602,602.8

In the spectacular Big Sur area, this park is still relatively undeveloped and offers visitors great hiking and beachcombing. Miles of trails wind through meadows, bluffs, beaches and hilltops. A primitive, first-come first-serve walk-in trail camp, popular with hikers and bikers, is located approximately one third mile from the parking area.

The weather can be changeable. Layered clothing is advised. In winter, overnight temperatures can range in the 30s-50s (Fahrenheit). Winter daytime temperatures can be low 50s-mid 70s. In summer, overnight temperatures can range in the 50s-70s, with daytime temperatures typically in the 70s-80s.  Summer mornings bring fog, which usually burns off by midday.

Near mile marker 51.2 on Highway 1, the park is located 21 miles south of Carmel.


Headlands Trail



 All park features are protected by law and may not be disturbed.
 Stay on trails to avoid poison oak throughout the park. 
 Do not move rocks, branches, or other material in the Big Sur River. This helps protect the Steelhead habitat.
 Please do not feed wildlife.
 Except for service animals, pets may not use trails. Dogs must be on a six-foot leash at all times.

$10 per car, per day. Your entrance fee allows you access to all California state parks until sundown.
Senior Citizen Discount: Age 62 or older, $1.00 off, except busses over 9 passenger capacity.
Disabled Discount Pass Holders: $5
Distinguished Veterans Pass Holders: no charge
Golden Bear Pass Holders: no charge
Limited Use Golden Bear Pass Holders: no charge during off-season (Labor Day through Memorial Day)
State Parks Pass holders must present pass at kiosk upon entry to park.

The park is open to day use visitors a half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset. The entrance kiosk opens at 9:00 am. Kiosk closing times are variable. Visitors are expected to self-register when the kiosk is closed. 

Parking is permitted only in designated lots within the park. RVs and travel trailers are not permitted in these lots. Parking in the pullouts on Highway 1 is allowed.

Dogs are not allowed on any State Park trails or in the Trail Camp, but they are allowed in the parking area and on the paved roads in the park. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Do not leave your dog unattended at any time. See DOGS IN BIG SUR for more information on where to take your dog.

Service Dogs: California State Parks promotes and supports equal access for park visitors of all abilities.  Download the publication Service Animals in State Parks for more information.

Headlands trailSwimming + Surfing
Our park has a beautiful wilderness beach on the Pacific Ocean. There are no lifeguards and conditions can be extremely hazardous, therefore swimming and surfing is not advised.

There are a number of trails in the park. Many allow for horseback riding, bicycling and hiking. Check the park kiosk for trail map and trail designations. See the TRAILS section below for more information.

Horseback Riding
Enjoy a ride along the river, ridge or bluffs.

PERSONAL HORSES: Horse trailers are allowed in the main parking lot at Andrew Molera State Park on a first-come first-served basis, equal to other cars that are parked there. During peak season, the lot fills up quickly, so come early. Space can be tight. Horse trailers should park in the area to the left of the kiosk for optimal maneuverability, and at an angle where they do not take up more parking than necessary. Horse trailers may not park at the horse back riding concession, near the Discovery Center or in other areas of the Andrew Molera State Park.

PUBLIC TOURS: Take a tour with Molera Horseback Tours. Open 7 days a week, no experience necessary. (831) 625-5486

Seasonal Footbridge
One temporary seasonal footbridge is installed near the parking area around June 15 to allow pedestrians to cross the Big Sur River and access the Beach Trail. The bridge is removed around October 31. The exact dates are determined by the Department of Fish and Game each year.

Fishing in the Big Sur area is highly restricted. Catch and release steelhead fishing in the Big Sur River is allowed only under certain conditions in the winter. Call the Department of Fish & Wildlife's Steelhead Fishing Hotline at 831-649-2886 for the current status of fishing in the Big Sur River and other Big Sur coast streams. All ocean fishing is prohibited. The Point Sur State Marine Reserve extends from Point Sur to Cooper Point. See Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishing Regulations for more information.

Molera Ranch House Museum
Find out what it was like to live in Big Sur 100 years ago. Located at Andrew Molera State Park, the Ranch House is open for visitors Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when a volunteer is available.
California Condor Discovery Center
Come learn about the magnificent condors and the reintroduction program run by the Ventana Wildlife Society. The center is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at Andrew Molera State Park. MORE INFO



CAMPING at Andrew Molera State Park

ALERT: January 12, 2017

Trail Camp is closed until further notice due to major damage from winter floods.

 Alternate camping on the coast, Santa Cruz to Big Sur




Trails at Andrew Molera State Park are multi-use and allow for horseback riding, bicycling and hiking. Please extend trail courtesy to all. Hikers and bikers yield to horses. Bikers yield to hikers too. Horses and bicycles are permitted only on authorized trails.

** Please note that the Trail Camp/Headlands Trail has been severely damaged by winter storms and is no longer accessible.

Beach Hiking
2 miles one way
Hike from the mouth of the Big Sur River to Cooper Point. Most of the beach is only accessible during low tide, so use extreme caution and check your tide table to avoid being trapped or carried out to sea. Horses are permitted on the wet sandy part of the beach, below the high tide line.

Bobcat Trail, Coyote Flat and Cooper Loop Trail **RIVER TRAIL and TWIN COTTONWOODS TRAIL are closed**
5.5 miles roundtrip
This easy network of trails meanders through redwoods and oaks along the Big Sur River. Access trails from the parking lot or any of the gates along Highway One south of the park's main entrance. Hikers and equestrians allowed on all trails. Bikers only on River and Coyote Flat Trails.

Creamery Meadow Trail
2 miles roundtrip
This easy trail is one of two options to get to the ocean beach. To get to the trail, you must cross the Big Sur River from the parking lot. A seasonal footbridge is put in place around June 15 and removed around October 31. Use extreme caution when wading across the river. Hikers, equestrians and bikers allowed.

Ridge Trail
3.2 miles one way
This exposed, strenuous trail rises along the ridge with spectacular views. Hikers, bikers and equestrians allowed.

Bluffs Trail
1.7 miles one way
Hike along the coast on this easy trail along the bluffs, with the sandy beach and tides below. No access to the beach from this trail until 1.7 miles, where the Spring Trail intersects. Hikers only.

Panorama Trail
1.3 miles one way
Steep and strenuous, with gorgeous panorama views, this trail also traverses a pygmy redwood forest. Hikers only.

Spring Trail
.1 mile one way
This short spur from the Bluffs Trail, leads down to Molera Beach. Hikers only.

East Molera Trail
5 miles roundtrip
This strenuous trail climbs through grasslands and coastal scrub to a small redwood and oak grove and ridge top. An underpass located near the large white barn provides safe access to the trail. Hikers and equestrians allowed. Bikers only to beginning of first switchback.




Elopements of ten (10) people or less are permitted at this park with an approved Special Event Permit. All the locations in the park are outdoors and must be hiked into. Events at this park are suitable for those wishing to have a very small, low-key, hike-in elopement in a natural setting.  Receptions, catered events, or an event with more than ten (10) people are not permitted at this park. Amplified sound is not permitted at any location at this park. There are no exclusive access sites at this park. You can apply for a Special Event Permit up to one (1) year in advance. Applications received less than thirty (30) days prior to the event date are subject to additional fees and restrictions. Applications received less than fifteen (15) days in advance of the event may not be considered.  Contact the Special Event Coordinator at 831-667-0507 or for availability and permit & fee information.

For more information, download the information packet:
 Elopement Special Event Information Packet

School Field Trips (K-12)
Day-use fees are waived for all K through 12 day-use fieldtrips at Andrew Molera State Park with an approved School Field Trip Request Form (DPR124). Be sure to indicate the number of vehicles that will be arriving at the park. Buses are not permitted in the parking lot of this park.

The completed DPR124 may be scanned an emailed as a pdf document to and must be received at least fifteen (15) days in advance of the proposed date of your visit. Requests for a ranger or park interpreter led program must be received at least thirty (30) days in advance to allow preparation and scheduling by park personnel (accommodate dependent on staff availability).

Camping is not included under this program. Campsites at this park are first-come-first-serve and are not available for reservation.

Photography Permits
All film shoots (still or motion) at this park and all other California State Parks must have a valid film permit issued by the California Film Commission (CFC). Film shoots on weekends or holidays are not allowed. Film shoots may not interfere with any park programs. The film permit process requires a minimum of two (2) weeks to process from the date that the park receives your pending CFC permit application and a completed Motion Picture Activity Form issued by the park. To check availability, contact the Special Event Coordinator at 831-667-0507 or

To apply for a film permit with the CFC, please visit

For information regarding filming in Monterey County, please visit

 More information: Film Production in California State Parks


Header photographs are courtesy of Sharon Pieniak

Nearby State Parks

Point Sur State Historic Park
3 miles north on Highway 1

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
4 miles south on Highway 1

Garrapata State Park
12 miles north on Highway 1

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
15 miles south on Highway 1

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
19 miles north on Highway 1

Limekiln State Park
30 miles south on Highway 1

  All Monterey District State Parks

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Available Activities and Facilities at Andrew Molera State Park

Environmental Campsites
Family Campsites
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Drinking Water Available