A rugged alternative to Esalen, Sykes Hot Springs is only accessible via a 20 mile (32 km) mountain hike, round-trip, with an elevation gain of 2,100 feet (640 m) in the Ventana Wilderness (via the Pine Ridge Trail).
If you’re up for the challenge, then upon arrival at Sykes Camp, you can reward yourself with a soak in one of the 102° F (38° C) pools situated right on the edge of the Big Sur River.
The trailhead begins behind Big Sur Ranger Station. Visit the Station for trail maps, trail conditions, backpacking tips, camping guidelines and more (open Sun-Thu, 9am-4pm and Fri-Sat, 9am-5pm; (831) 667-2315).
Sykes Trail Brochure
Parking $10 per day