Sykes Camp Trail - The Hot Springs Hike

#1 of 12 trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

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Sykes Camp Trail - The Hot Springs Hike is a 19.5 mile out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features hot springs and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

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Ryan Navaroli (93)

5 Completed3 Reviews

This is fantastic and I'd love to go back again with some friends. I did this alone during a road trip for my birthday and the hot springs were fantastic. The trail is odd as you seem to constantly be going between two ecological zones (near water in the gullies and sides of the mountains where it was dry). This corresponded to big Coastal Trees near water and dry scrubby stuff when not. The whole camp ground area by the hot springs is beautiful and moist with water so clear. When you get to the last stream you just have to follow it about 2/10 of a mile to the left to find the springs. I saw a lot of snakes which freaked me out because of my phobia and being alone but only one rattler.

Paul Bay (728)

16 Completed6 Reviews

We loved Pfeiffer and this trail starts on the south end of the campground. Great hike with moderately strenuous elevation gains and terrain. Great waterfalls along the way and nice stop at Ventana Creek. Started a little late so we actually didn't make it all the way to Sykes. Nice camp in or day trip while staying at Pfeiffer!

Boom King (1084)

34 Completed37 Reviews

Great central coast hike. It is not isolated, you will see lots if people, and although you are not at altitude there are some good grades that you have to climb as you leave highway 1. A reviewer mentions concrete pools, I don't remember them so they must have been installed after I went there. Seems kind of strange considering the walk in. I do remember getting attacked by bees as I went to the pools (the higher you go the warmer they are). Also, don't park on highway 1 if you value your car.

Peter Fabela (311)

10 Completed10 Reviews

This was an awesome backpacking trip, hiked to the hot springs on day one stayed and relaxed on day two and hiked back on day three is was a good trip. The hike there is a lot harder than the hike back. Plenty of water sources all through out. But bring bug spray cause there were so many flies on the trail. Definitely my favorite hike so far .

Mari Jane (636)

25 Completed14 Reviews

This was the first time that I have ever hiked in and did an overnight backpacking trip, and I must say that it was awesome and this trail was just about perfect for a noob. There is a lot of going up and down the mountain but it is very manageable if you are in decent shape. There were some really nice views and have plenty of places to rest. You can camp at any of the stops along the trail; there are camps at 5 mi, 7mi, 10mi (actual Sykes stop) and 12mi. It also has ample opportunities for water along the way.

Jason Johnson (533)

8 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail. You'll need a water filter or iodine tablets. There are plenty of water sources after you're 5 miles in. The red marker on the AllTrails map is just a mid point along the trail to the springs.

Jen Watson (589)

35 Completed23 Reviews

Great trail. Challenging in the hot summer with a pack, but so rewarding to relax in the springs and set up camp. Not too crowded either!

Kaycee Matulac (58)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Brandon McPherson (168)

9 Completed2 Reviews

Great trail. It is a blast. 1 thing though, anytime you hear to take the water crossing to the hot springs and how easy it is, think twice. Parts of the crossing you have to swim and most of it is over waist deep. Maybe the summer would be a great time to cross, but the water is very cold. Other than that, the trail is great. I camped at mile 7 and it was a lot less crowded than camping at the actual hot springs. Have fun on the trail!!!

Stephen Betzen (191)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Beautiful views all along the way. I went in April 2012 with my wife on our first backpacking trip after a wreck, Lyme disease and 4 years of treatment and physical rehab. IT was certainly a challenging trip for anyone not used to "real mountains". There were a few places where the trail was washed out and it was a little scary getting past those spots. My wife's hiking poles really came in handy. We stayed 2 nights enjoyed the springs and made our way out. We were very glad that we trained on "harder" Trails in Texas for 2 months in preparation for this trip. It was worth all the hard work and we would do it all over again.
It was a deeply personal trip given our journey for the last 4 years, this was a goal my wife worked hard for. She is still disabled and has chronic pain, but this was the beginning of the end of this period in our lives. We chose this trail because we knew the hot springs would come in handy (and they did). One extra thing we wish we brought was binoculars... we left them in the car to save weight.
Despite the few washouts... I am deeply grateful to all of the people that maintain this trail. I can not imagine the work that goes into keeping this together. The hard work of generous people is evident all along the trail... even the washouts has evidence of the beginning of repair and are probably repaired now. I can not express my gratitude enough.... thank you.