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Now there are many reasons why you might want a secluded beach, and Hiking Diva isn’t here to judge your illegal or illicit activities. After all, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it” is kind of like, “if something happens on a secluded beach and no on is there to see it”. However, there are plenty of reasons why you might want a little privacy in a beautiful surrounding, such as a proposal, and in that case, Andrew Molera State Park delivers.

Located in Big Sur, near Carmel, the area has jaw-dropping, photo opportunities, especially with the fog rolling in. It’s beautiful to look at, but it’s not so fun to hike in, so go in the months of September or October. Avoid the summer as that is high fog season. Hike early and plan other activities away from the coast starting in the late afternoon.

When you arrive at Andrew Molera State Park, you’ll cross the parking lot and start your hike by trekking through a creek. We took off our shoes and walked through the creek in our flip-flops. The chill of the water sure wakes you up. We walked along the Big Sur River and through a meadow before reaching the ocean.

After a quick stop at the beach which will had tons of people (and horses), we took the Bluff Trail to the more secluded beach. Along the way, we enjoyed the views from up high.

In October, when we went, the vegetation was drier. I’m sure the area is equally beautiful, if not more so, in the spring with all the wildflowers.

The “secluded” beach isn’t actually secluded or private. It’s just hard to get there so people who were lazier than us didn’t make the trek. It’s farther away from the parking lot, and then we had to climb over all these fallen trees in order to get there.

We did see one other couple on this beach having a picnic, but that was it. We found a little cave ourselves and set up our fancy picnic. We had brought red wine (I know, I know, you shouldn’t drink on a hike…but it was a special occasion), roast beef and gorgonzola sandwiches, and caprese salad. We even brought a little travel guitar, and after lunch, Closet Granola sang a song he wrote and in his song, he proposed! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you want a little more privacy on a hike.

After many tears, we headed back to celebrate. The moon was already visible in the sky.

Where’s the diva-ish part, you ask? Throw in a night at Ventana Inn (my favorite hotel in the world) and not just any room…get the suite with a private ocean view deck. Don’t forget dinner at the Post Ranch Inn. The next day, grab a late lunch at Nepenthe where the food is decent and the view is spectacular before heading back home.

View from Ventana

View from Ventana

Nepenthe

Nepenthe

Oh, and Closet Granola and Hiking Diva lived happily ever after…

Overall rating: Pumas

Rating system:

  • Heels: So easy you can hike it in heels
  • Flip-flops: Too long or hard to hike in heels, but flat flip-flops would work
  • Pumas: A nice stroll not much harder than walking in the city
  • Trailblazers: If you want to be nice to your feet on this hike, they’ll need some more serious protection and support.
  • Hiking boots: Pull out the ugly shoes and summon your closet granola. This hike is going to kick your ass.

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but easy hikes can be a close second for those of us trying to hike in heels. And Point Lobos is certainly easy, even for beginners. So what’s the catch? Is it ugly and boring and hence easy (slight innuendo here)? Au contraire, the trails are absolutely stunning with ocean views, creepy lichen trails, seals bathing on rocks, and a coastline carpeted in richly-colored vegetation and flowers.

Lace Lichen Trail

Lace Lichen Trail

We started off on the Lace Lichen Trail, where the lichen hanging from the trees was reminiscent of Savannah’s Spanish Moss…pretty in a serene creepy kind of way. A short segment on Pine Trail and then we veered off towards the coast through Piney Woods. Within minutes, we were at the ocean climbing over rocks and peering at the crabs in the tidepools.

Sea Lion Point

Sea Lion Point

Turning right, we followed a path along the coast through beautiful vegetation (with benches if your feet are hurting) that led to Sea Lion Point. Once there, we took out our cameras and started snapping away. We also saw an otter rolling in the water, apparently very amused with itself.

We followed the coastline through South Point, Pinnacle Cove, and Cypress Cove. Here we rounded a corner and came upon a deer eating grass about 10 feet from us. She knew we were there (taking pictures once again) but she didn’t seem bothered by our paparazzi ways. We stayed until she finished her lunch and walked off.

Cypress Grove

Cypress Grove

We then followed the North Shore Trail to Whaler’s Cove and then cut back to the car just a few hours after we had left. Probably the most memorable and picturesque of all the hikes I’ve been on. It was an overcast day, which gives me a perfect reason to come back and hike it again…

Overall rating: You can totally do this in heels…maybe even stilettos. (figuratively…please don’t actually try to hike it in heels)

Rating system:

  • Heels: So easy you can hike it in heels
  • Flip-flops: Too long or hard to hike in heels, but flat flip-flops would work
  • Pumas: A nice stroll not much harder than walking in the city
  • Trailblazers: If you want to be nice to your feet on this hike, they’ll need some more serious protection and support.
  • Hiking boots: Pull out the ugly shoes and summon your closet granola. This hike is going to kick your ass.

Tip: Park outside the state reserve along Highway 1 and you’ll save the park entrance fee. Put it towards your next pair of heels.

Tuckbox Teahouse in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Tuckbox Teahouse in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Check it out: The scones with ollalieberry jam at the Tuckhouse in Carmel-by-the-Sea will put you in a good state of mind for the hike. And the cute cottage the restaurant is housed in looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.

Check it out: Reward yourself for a hike well-done with drinks at Roy’s in Pebble Beach (at the Spanish Bay Inn). Sit outside and watch the sunset while drinking girly cocktails around the firepits.

Backcountry.com Gift Guide