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Hiking

Land to the west of Highway One is mostly privately owned, with few opportunities for hiking or backpacking other than beachaccess trails or short day hikes. To the inland side of the highway, the Ventana Wilderness offers 237 miles of trails and fifty-five trail camps in the rugged Santa Lucia mountains. The Big Sur Station is located at the trailhead to the Pine Ridge Trail, a much-used portal into the Ventana Wilderness--also a good place for maps and advice about the backcountry. Pick up a current guide to the trails of the region and lace up your boots at any one of the many trailheads in Big Sur.

As with any wilderness experience, knowledge of conditions is vital to minimizing risks. This isn't a nature theme park--the dangers are very real. From poison oak to ticks to rattlesnakes and mountain lions, remember that man is a tiny component to this ecosystem. Don't rely on the legendary Big Sur guardian spirits to protect you--be smart and be prepared.

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