Calla Lily Valley
Along Highway 1, roughly 16 or so miles north of the town of Big Sur, and about 11 miles south of Carmel-By-the-Sea, Highway 1 runs over Doud Creek. To the west of the highway, Doud Creek has carved out a narrow small valley that ends east at the highway, and west at Garrapata Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Down in this valley, barely visible from Highway 1 when driving south, are hordes of giant Calla Lily plants!
From sometime end of January until sometime in April, the entire valley is simply stunning for it's filled with thousands of calla lilies. Doud Creek runs under Highway 1 through a manmade tunnel under the road, and then dumps into this valley on its path to the ocean. All along the creek, giant calla lily plants have sprung up, I'm guessing just all on their own, and completely fill the valley. The further back in the valley you get, the more like Jurassic Park it feels like.
Then, at the right time of the year, all the plants bloom with thousands of giant white flowers. It is one of the most amazing spectacles along Highway 1. As if the breath taking views of the ocean or the amazing towering trees of the redwood forests wasn't enough, the drive along Route 1 from San Luis Obispo to Monterey now, additionally, gives you this amazing valley that will leave you speechless.
You can reach the valley after a short walk from Highway 1. A dirt turnout can be found on the west side of Highway 1 for parking, although, sometimes it does get rather crowded. I'm told this area is at Gate 18 and Gate 19. Either trail, north or south of Doud Creek will get you there, although the north one might be a little shorter. Both trails are, at most a quarter of a mile walk down a dirt trail, heading west from Highway 1 towards the beach. It will meander through some scrub brush where you'll occasionally see some other pretty wild flowers, and then eventually reach the cliff side with stairs heading down into the valley. At the bottom of the stairs, you can follow Doud Creek east towards Garrapata Beach or west into Calla Lily Valley.
Occasionally wooden or stone objects have been turned into bridges across the creek. Despite that, much of the area can still be very muddy. The plants grow rather tall, so tall that you can lose people amongst them sometimes, and during the season, the area could be swarming with other visitors. It will get less crowded the deeper you go into the valley. Also at the back of the valley you can find the manmade tunnel under Highway 1 built for Doud Creek to flow through. After checking out the valley and the amazing flowers, feel free to take a short stroll on the beach.
Garrapata State Park is almost 3,000 acres, but unfortunately due to the Soberanes Fire in 2016, much of the easteern portion of the park is closed. Slowly trails east of Highway 1 are opening bit by bit. Garrapata State Park additionally is very undeveloped with almost no facilities and no staff.
13.52 Miles Away
Pacific Grove, California
13.79 Miles Away
Big Sur, California
Bad Day on the S.S. Normandie
14.64 Miles Away
Pacific Grove, California
First Created: 2022-03-26
Last Edited: 2022-03-26