Northern California Science Writers Association

Big Sur Campout

  • Friday, October 04, 2019
  • 10:00 AM
  • Sunday, October 06, 2019
  • 4:00 PM
  • Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve


Registration is closed

Come tent camping with NCSWA at Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur over a long October weekend. One of 41 sites in the UC Natural Reserve System, the Big Creek extends from a private beach up to the ridgeline of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Its lands include the southernmost population of coast redwoods, two adjacent state marine reserves, nesting California condors, and spawning steelhead. Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve isn’t typically open to the public. This is your chance to wander miles of scenic, well-maintained trails in scenic Big Sur without having to contend with tourists. The early October weather should be ideal, with no fog and comfortable daytime temperatures.

We’re booked to stay at rustic Highlands Camp, a hillside site with running water, a pit toilet, and a storage shed for food. This is car camping at its best, with no noisy neighbors and only dark night skies for miles around. Pack your tent, your cushiest sleeping mattress, and layers to stay warm at night. To store and prepare food, bring a cooler and a Coleman or other camp stove. (Sorry, no campfires allowed at this time of year.) A high-clearance vehicle isn’t necessary, but will be easier to drive along the unpaved roads.

Activities: hiking, beachcombing, birding, swimming (for the brave and neoprene-insulated). Hang out, walk, cook, and play board games in this relaxing environment while getting to know your fellow NCSWAns better. 

Consider bringing a hat, sunscreen, and water sandals to wade in the creek or frolic in the waves along the beach. The water's cold, so a wetsuit is recommended for would-be swimmers. Reserve staff do an excellent job clearing poison oak from the trails, but stay away from vines/bushes with lobed, often reddish leaves in clusters of three (remember: “Leaves of three, let them be!”). Organizer will bring Tecnu, which offers some protection against the skin-irritating oil that makes the leaves shiny.

Directions to the reserve, maps, and a description of Highlands Camp can be found here:

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