Hot Springs nestled in the heart of Big Sur
Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail
This out and back trail is a great 2 day 1 night backpacking trek, although it can be extended or converted to a point to point hike. Unfortunately, due to the fires and the trail being overrun, there was a long term closure in effect until it reopened in mid April 2021. At the time of this writing (May 2021), there are no campsite permits required.
The trek starts at Big Sur Ranger Station (approximately 0.5 miles past the entrance to Big Sur Lodge/Pfeiffer state park). Remember to bring cash for the parking fee ($10/calendar day=$20 for a one night trek). The hike begins with a descent to the main car camp site, and subsequently ascends via a narrow path to the right. The hike is relatively narrow throughout its entirety, with vast valley views and occasional steep dropoffs to the side of the trail, but it never feels dangerous. There are several river/creek crossings throughout the hike, with multiple campsites along the way. There are lots of ups and downs which kept it interesting (and challenging!). After the last river crossing, the campsite is located to the right, and the hot springs to the left. I recommend dropping everything off and choosing a campsite first, as it tends to get crowded in the evenings and some people had difficulty finding a good spot.
Note that the alltrails map leads directly to the hotsprings. In order to get to the hot springs from the campsite, several river crossings are necessary and it is about a half mile downstream. While there used to be big pools with hot springs, after all the mudslides and damage from the fires, there are now only 2 small pools (fits 2-3 people max), but they are still incredible!
Note that the alltrails stats were slightly different than my apple watch data: To campsite: 9.9miles, 2800ft gain, 3h 45min of hike time Back to car: 9.9miles, 2000ft gain, 3h 30min of hike time This is an incredible hike! Check regarding permits because as it gets crowded again they likely will reinstate permits. Recommend starting early so the parking lot doesn't fill up and campsite is easy to find.