To all our Big Sur visitors, particularly bicyclists …

I have been getting a lot of requests lately from bicyclists and others about the use of the trail that is being constructed partially by locals for locals through a closed area, and I would offer this observation: the community does not think this (the use of the trail by bicyclists or others) is a good idea. It is narrow and steep, and full of steps. We are trying to heal. The path is an emergency measure for those who live here who are trying to survive – separation from loves ones; separation from work and home; and separation from children and their schools. It is our way of surviving, not a way to welcome guests. We would ask the bicycling community and others to honor and respect the healing we are trying to obtain in a difficult situation and time. I know you would love to experience the coast without all the cars, so would we. However, it is not just the bridge, it is the other two problems – Paul’s Slide and Mud Creek, one of which will be closed to visitors all of April and probably May as well. So the trail will not get you down the coast. There are other closures preventing a through passageway.

We want visitors, our community makes most of our living off of visitors, but we want them when it is safe for all. Please, we will welcome you when the road is open, but not when it is not open or safe. If you love Big Sur, honor her. She is saying she has had enough for now. Let her rest and recover. Let us rest and recover, we spent all summer fighting fire; we have been burned out of our homes; and winter has brought us floods that have ruined our roads. We are fragile, as a people and as a land. When the road is open, completely, or only just from the south or just from the north, we will welcome you. Right now, it is only open on the north from Carmel to the MAF – Big Sur Ranger Station, and not at all on the south. Bring your tourist dollars to the area and businesses that are open, but … Please. Honor Big Sur and the people who live here and the land and the people’s need to heal. If you love Big Sur, you will listen to what she is saying … give her and us time. Please.

29 thoughts on “To all our Big Sur visitors, particularly bicyclists …

  1. thank you Kate. Much Gratitude for your words which resonate deeply. We all (Big Sur) need time to heal. You are amazing and so Appreciated.

  2. Caltrans is not so good at telling people when a bicycle/walkable path is open. Their priority is always cars over all else. So of course we depend upon locals to prod out if there’s ways to walk through.

    I really wish we could change their priorities – it would make our roads alot safer if there were always a way to walk/bike from A to B. Especially if it were using a different path, different qualifications.

    My favorite road up here in Santa Cruz is still closed until May, too. Luckily the old alternates are still there, if badly beat up.

  3. Thank you Kate! Well said and well balanced. I would add that emergency medical response is extremely difficult within the closure. We have had three emergencies on the South Coast that required helicopter life flights as the only option to get people out. The residents of Big Sur will always step up to help in any emergency, but we don’t need to strain our limit resources and put people at risk.

  4. Beautiful Kate. This post is so perfect and gives me a new sense of our community and where we are at this time. I love that we are healing and Big Sur is resting. Big Hugs to you for who you are for all of us.

  5. Also, should they attempt to ride their bikes down the slope and on the “level” portions, they may well destroy the trail. Now I’m sure there are those that would carry, or roll their bikes the entire time, but there will be those who ride. The same ones that ride four abreast and block the road.

  6. I am a cyclist. I live here, on Big Sur Island, and I am not going to ride my bike on the trail. Please, just don’t ride your bike on the trail.

  7. Please keep us posted on what businesses are accessible and struggling. Some cyclists, and others, will go out of their way to visit and support them, when the time is right.

  8. Thank you Kate. It’s great you write this. People need to understand the situation and the reason for the trail.

  9. I’m trying to understand how locals’ healing is promoted by my not going through this slide by carrying my bike up and down stairs. I get that the slides to the south are still closing HIghway 1, but soon they will be open, and bike tourists will want to get through.

  10. The trail isn’t even open yet, the road to the south isn’t open yet, and the latter won’t be for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks, minimum, not “soon,” and you don’t understand why the LAND and its people need to heal?? It is the LAND more than the people. The LAND has been overused. Locals have spent and are spending long, hard hours building this trail for the children to be able to get to school and you, and others, are anxious to use it? Are you going to take off your bicycle cleated shoes when you walk that trail to protect it from damage and erosion? You love Big Sur?? Then how can you be insensitive to her needs for a time of healing? If you don’t understand why she needs healing or how that would be accomplished by you staying out of a closed area, then you do not love her. The hope is that the trail will open to all WHEN the road is open to all, but that will probably be guided by the behavior of all.

  11. Thank you Kate. I take care of Veterans campground in Monterey and have been wondering about this. I will be watching for any future bike updates, and will gladly respect the wishes of the community.

  12. ‘A biker’ and ‘A hiker’,

    What are you going to do if you get past the trail? There is construction south of the bridge that has Hwy 1 closed through April and maybe May. Locked gates have been placed along Hwy 1 south of Big Sur.
    Why not be a good ambassador for the rest of the people biking or hiking?
    Is your goal to turn the Big Sur Community against people biking or hiking?

    Don’t be selfish,

  13. kate! thank you for this thoughtfull reply! This road is no joke…I had a major blowout this morning just trying to get up to my house in the small opening at 6:30 AM from Mud Creek…..! This area is scary, narrow, and still sliding!……

  14. Yes, Mud Creek is dangerous and a nightmare. Rocks falling all the time. I will be surprised if it isn’t completely closed by Sunday. We had over 5″ in places down here. Paul’s Slide I haven’t even tried, so can’t speak to that.


  15. while our community awaits a presidential disaster declaration it is Shocking reading the comments of ‘biker’ and ‘hiker’. There are a plethora of trails/roads in this fine USA for them to explore as we await repair.

  16. Another aspect that these selfish bicyclists don’t think about. If you crash your bike on HWY 1, which has cracks, potholes, rocks, etc. along the entire 60 mile stretch south of bridge, you may lie there and bleed to death as any emergency response is of course going to be extended. Then if you are lucky enough you will need a $40,000. helicopter ride to get out.

  17. FWIW, I have been told that the upper portion of the trail passes through property that is privately owned.

  18. Kate,

    Plus, these cyclists better be aware to stay away & not to try any crazy stunts when the Big Sur Marathon sweeps into town..

  19. I deleted his comments, as he was using a “fake” or non-existant email account, which I do not allow. I don’t care if people use a screen name, an alias, whatever, but I don’t allow people to hide behind a fake email. I try to write to each new commentor, and if the email doesn’t go through and is answered, then if I have already approved their comment, I take it down.

  20. Kate, It would be very interesting if you did a blog post on what businesses were cut-off, particularly the ones that rely on tourists. I’m a hiker, cyclist, tourist, and Silicon Valley resident that really feels for small businesses that will be struggling without the bridge. I’d like to visit, and support them, at some point.

  21. Thank you, Kate. As founder of Bicycling Monterey (an information hub for biking Monterey County), I urge all people who bike—whether touring cyclists, mountain bikers, or others— to show their love for Big Sur by respecting your requests here.

  22. I just saw this blog. Thank you. I just wanted to say, you CAN lobby Caltrans to move toward better pedestrian and bike facilities, in general. They only hear from car interests usually. They move slow, its a big organization but they do try to respond to needs. Even if it doesn’t seem like it. Write letters!

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