Update July 17, 2018: The portion of Highway 1 that connects Los Angeles to San Francisco is reopening earlier than expected. Caltrans has announced it will ready for travelers on Wednesday, July 18.


The heart of Big Sur has been broken in two since Highway 1 closed last April. The following month on May 20th, 2017, Mud Creek had a major slide that added 5 million cubic yards of even more disaster to the situation. However, Caltrans has recently announced that come September, all roads should be clear for all NorCal to SoCal drives and vice versa.

Although Caltrans is optimistic that the new target date of September will be met, they still anticipate some ongoing roadwork and lane closures. Caltrans is keeping an eye on the progress and plans another update in July. Meanwhile, the Mud Creek area remains an emergency construction zone.

Currently, cars can’t access Highway 1 from Carmel to Cambria, but Big Sur’s local businesses are open on both sides of Mud Creek. And since California’s Highway 1 through Big Sur is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, you might not want to wait until September to explore the area. You can travel from Carmel along Hwy 1, 60 miles south to Gorda Springs Resort, then back north to Carmel. If you are headed to Southern California, there is a detour on Highway 68 near Monterey that leads to Highway 101 South. It adds about 30 minutes to the trip, but the area is still quite scenic.

There are irresistible vistas along the way, so if you plan to take photos, then plan to do so on turnouts only. If you plan an outdoorsy sleepover, then be sure you are in a designated camping area. Your cell phone service might be limited, so don’t depend on your GPS to guide you.

For no-stress, “sit back and enjoy the ride” traveling, take the Monterey Salinas Transit bus (Line 22) that runs daily between Monterey and Big Sur, between Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Additional resources to make the most of your scenic drive:

Highway One Classic road trip
Esalen Institute
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Caltrans Road Information
Big Sur Information