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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.


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Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Brochures and Campground Maps

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.


ABOUT   |    DAY USE    CAMPING   |   TRAILS   |   SPECIAL EVENTS   |   NEARBY PARKS

ALERT! Soberanes Fire Information - Big Sur Area Parks

Updated November 2, 2016

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

  • Open:  Remains open

Garrapata State Park

  • Open:  Park lands west of Highway 1 including Garrapata Beach is open
  • Closed:  All park lands east of Highway 1 closed to public entry.

Point Sur Light Station Historic State Park

Andrew Molera State Park

  • Open:  Day use and all trails west of Hwy 1 are open, including the trail camp. See Camping at Andrew Molera State Park for more information on the campground, including campsites being made available for Hike and Bike.
  • Closed:  All lands east of Hwy 1 closed to public entry.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

  • Open: Big Sur Lodge is open. More information: www.bigsurlodge.com. Buzzards Roost trail is open as it leads hikers west of Highway 1. Access to the Buzzards Roost trail is at a pullout on the west side of Highway 1, just south of where Highway 1 crosses the Big Sur River. This is approximately .25 mile south of the park entrance.
  • Closed:  Park (including the campground) remains closed until further notice other than noted above.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

  • Open:  Remains open

Limekiln State Park

  • Open:  Remains open

 

Camping Fee Alert: Big Sur Sector will be implementing emergency measures to conserve and save water in our parks and campgrounds during our state wide drought. In compliance with the Governor's Executive Order B-29-15, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has begun modifying park operations in order to conserve and save one of California's most valuable resources, our water. Reducing shower times, changing to low flow water faucets, toilets and not watering lawns are some of the emergency measures already in place.
Consistent with Executive Order B-29-15, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will begin collecting an additional $10.00 stand-alone dump fee on August 1, 2015 from all self-contained recreational vehicles and trailers entering the campground for overnight stays. This onetime per stay dump fee will be collected upon entry. The additional $10.00 fee will help offset costs and upgrades to the park's self-contained sewage treatment plant and the park's self-contained water system and storage facilities.

Molera  beach

ABOUT ANDREW MOLERA STATE PARK

TRESPASS ALERT

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.

Weather
 CHECK CURRENT WEATHER
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.

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

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Headlands Trail

DAY USE

PLEASE REMEMBER!

 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.

Fee
$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
State Parks Pass holders must present pass at kiosk upon entry to park.

Hours
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
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.

Picnics
There is a beautiful shaded picnic area in the park near the parking area and river. Charcoal grills are available.

Dogs
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 at Big Sur 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.

Hiking
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
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. All ocean fishing is prohibited. The Point Sur State Marine Reserve extends from Point Sur to Cooper Point. See Department of Fish and Game 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

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campground

CAMPING at Andrew Molera State Park

UPDATE: November 3, 2016

Trail Camp was closed to the public after the park was utilized as a Fire Camp during the Soberanes Wildfire. Rehabilitation efforts were needed before the campground could be opened. We are pleased to once again provide this camping opportunity for the enjoyment of the public.

We are temporarily making 3 of the 24 tent-only campsites available for Hike and Bike camping due to the current closure of Hike and Bike camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The sites will remain available until the facilities at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are opened. The temporary Hike and Bike campsites at Andrew Molera will be communal and allow for a maximum of 4 occupants per campsite, allowing for a total of 12 hikers/bikers per night. They will be available on a first come-first served basis. Hike and Bike campsites are available to those people not utilizing motor vehicles for transportation to the park (parking on the highway and walking in is not permitted). Hike and Bike camping fees are $5/night/person and payment is required upon entry to the park.

Please keep in mind that a large rain event, and the potential for flooding, could cause the campground to be closed with very short notice.

 

Scroll down for complete camping information.

 

 Andrew Molera campground map
 Alternate camping on the coast, Santa Cruz to Big Sur

CAMPING RULES

 No wood collecting
 Do not feed wildlife
 Store food/trash properly
 No nails in trees
 Quiet hours: 10pm to 6 am
 No dogs on trails, beach or in campground
 All vehicles in the parking area must be registered and display a valid parking pass
 Check-out time is 12:00 noon
 All trails and beaches are closed at sunset
 Maximum 4 people per campsite
 This is a marine protected area. No ocean fishing (river fishing only during designated season).

There are 24 identified walk-in sites located approximately 1/3 mile towards the ocean on the Trail Camp Beach Trail. Camping is allowed only at these sites with a maximum of four people per site. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites are extremely popular. As first-come, first-serve, there is no way of knowing ahead of time if you will get a site. INFORMATION ABOUT SITE AVAILABILITY CANNOT BE OBTAINED BY CALLING. Off-season weekends fill up early Friday morning. During peak summer season, it is full every day. If you would like a site for the weekend, it is best to arrive on Wednesday for the best chance at securing a spot. Weekends almost always fill up on Thursday.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions About First Come First Served Camping for more information on how to obtain a campsite.

** Camping in the Trail Camp is the only camping permitted in the park. Camping or sleeping inside a vehicle in the parking lot or on the highway is not allowed.

Dogs are not allowed in Trail Camp, on any trails, or at the beach. 

CAMPING FEES
$25/night
Camping fee includes parking for one vehicle in the parking area. Additional vehicles are $10/night per car. Maximum number of people per site is four. There is a maximum stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Once the stay limit has been reached, the persons, equipment, and/or vehicles must vacate the campground for at least 48 hours before returning for another stay. Maximum length of stay per calendar years is 30 days.

Each campsite includes a fire pit with half-grill and picnic table. Fresh water and toilets are a short walk.

HOW TO SECURE A SITE: If there is no sign up that says the campground is full, hike to the campground with some camping gear. Sites are clearly marked and numbered. If there is a vacant site, set up your camping gear to identify that site as occupied. Make a note of the site number. Immediately return back to the kiosk to register that site.

All incoming campers must check in at the entrance kiosk. If the kiosk is closed, campers are expected to self register at the iron ranger. Camper vehicles must display vehicle tag (proof of payment) in the windshield. Vehicle tags are also valid for day use entrance into other area state parks.

Check-in is 2:00 pm. Check-out is 12:00 noon.

campsiteFires are allowed only in the provided metal fire rings. Wood must be small enough to fit inside the ring and be completely contained. Do not gather firewood in the park. You may purchase firewood at the entrance kiosk. FIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE BEACH. All fireworks are prohibited.

Firearms, weapons or hunting is not allowed. Possession of loaded firearms and air rifles is prohibited. This includes anything that shoots a projectile, including, but not limited to, arrows, pellets, BBs and paint balls.

Park plants, artifacts and animals are protected and should not be touched or harassed. It is important that you use the provided metal storage bins for all food and scented items to avoid accidentally feeding or having any negative interactions with native park wildlife.

 See the Camping Reservation Guide for complete information on camping in all California State Parks.

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Trails

TRAILS

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.

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.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

River Trail, Bobcat Trail, Twin Cottonwoods Trail, Coyote Flat and Cooper Loop Trail
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.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Beach Trail
2 miles roundtrip
This easy trail is the most popular route to the 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 and bikers only.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Trail Camp Beach Trail
2 miles roundtrip
This easy trail passes through the Trail Camp (first come-first serve), past the historic Cooper Cabin, to the mouth of the Big Sur River, where there is a small sandy area. The larger beach on the other side of the river is only accessible by wading across the river here, which can be deep and swift. Use extreme caution. Avoid wading across the River by taking the Beach Trail. Hikers and bikers only.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Headlands Trail
.5 mile roundtrip
A spur off the Trail Camp Beach Trail, this loop trail leads to Molera Point and beautiful headlands with panoramic views. Hikers only.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

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

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.
 GOOGLE STREET VIEW

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

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

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.

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monarch

SPECIAL EVENTS

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 BigSurEvents@parks.ca.gov for availability and permit & fee information.

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


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 BigSurEvents@parks.ca.gov.

To apply for a film permit with the CFC, please visit www.film.ca.gov
For information regarding filming in Monterey County, please visit http://www.filmmonterey.org.

 More information: Film Production in California State Parks


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 bigsurevents@parks.ca.gov 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.

 
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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

BOATING
Boating
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Environmental Campsites
Family Campsites
TRAIL USE
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Swimming
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Windsurfing/Surfing
Museums
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available