If you have ever tried to plan a camping trip in Big Sur, you may have noticed that it can be pretty difficult to find available spots in any of the many campgrounds present along the fabulous Coast. Expensive or not, they all seem to fill up months and months in advance. But there is one solution that doesn’t need a reservation, not to mention it’s totally free! The place I’m talking about is The Nacimiento Road / Prewitt Ridge in the Los Padres National Forest.
Once you turn onto the road, you have officially entered the Los Padres National Forest, which means that any pullout along the road is free range for camping. The higher up you go up, more incredible the view becomes. While it is way easier to find camping here, it still gets busy during a summer weekend, especially at the bottom, so its usually smart to keep going.
Naciminento Road is a great spot to camp, but if if you keep going, you will eventually reach the Prewitt Ridge camp spot, which is hands down THE best spot. To get there, you have to continue along Naciemento road until you hit an unpaved road on your right (the coastal Ridge Trail)t. This is the path that will lead you to Prewiit Ridge. At this point, a 4x4 or a AWD car with clearance will be better. This Road is long before reaching the Ridge, at least 30mn, but keep going, you’ll know once you’ve reached the spot. ` *Google Maps also knows the spot, so you can use this to feel more secure but be careful be sure to load your map before you start the drive because there is no service in Big Sur.
There are many trails around Nacimiento Road, especially on the left side of the road. If car Camping isn’t really you thing, you can still explore one of the many trails and find campsite more isolated from the crowd or the road.