Big Sur

Big Sur is a coastal strip in the State of California between San Simeon and Carmel in the south to the north. It covers about 100 kilometers of coastline and the towering mountains behind the Santa Lucia Range. Since this is not an official administrative unit, the limits are not used completely uniform.


The name Big Sur is composed of the English word big ( "big" ) and the Spanish word sur ( "South" ), that means " Great South " and comes from the time when the region was still the Spanish colony Alta California. The area south of the former capital of Monterey was called el país grande del sur (the big country of the south), el sur grande shortened. In the Spanish period and even under Mexican administration, the area was virtually untapped, El Camino Real - the Royal Road - ran between Monterey and San Luis Obispo off the coast of the valley of the Salinas River.

The rocky landscape, the high mountains - the Cone Peak is 1571 meters the highest peak in the chain of coastal mountains throughout California - and the low population density give the impression of untouched nature that attracts tourists and many celebrities, especially actors motivated, in settle area. The section of Big Sur is the classical part of the California coast highway No.1 with the Bixby Bridge. The road was built during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal and completed in 1937. They opened up the area for the first time. The County Administration issued already in the 1960s, building regulations, according to which no buildings may be erected, which are visible from the street. Thus the impression of virginity is strengthened.

In addition to the fascinating landscape of Big Sur also offers a varied fauna such as the California sea lions, sea otters or the gray whales that attract tourists from all over the world. The mountains are mostly forested and include Los Padres National Forest, a national forest. In them the Ventana Wilderness, a protected nature reserve is of type a Wilderness Areas, the most severe class of protected areas in the United States. In the National Forest California condors are reintroduced since 1997. The species became extinct in the 1980s in the wild and is the subject of the largest conservation breeding program of the United States. The small population of Big Sur has contact with the animals that are reintroduced at Pinnacles National Park 50 km east since about 2006. In the Ventana Wilderness, it was also the first successful breeding of wild California condors of the program.

The area was frequently used as a filming location for movies and television films. Among the best known include: " homesickness ", the first Lassie movie from 1943, "... the Sandpiper " starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and " Basic Instinct" with Sharon Stone.

At the Big Sur coastline is a chain of California's state parks, mostly in coves with sandy beaches, such as the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. In the north, near the Carmel Point Lobos State Reserve, a rugged stretch of coast that is famous for its sea otter is.

Since the 1960s, the Esalen Institute in Big Sur is located. At the southern end of the Big Sur area at San Simeon is Hearst Castle, the luxurious and eccentric estate of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. After Big Sur area is not an official designation, population data can only be derived from the ZIP Code Tabulation Area. Thus, in 2000, there were only 996 people in the Big Sur area.

In the summer of 2008, in Big Sur a nationwide forest fire of larger sections of forest destroyed. Many residents had to be evacuated from their homes, the burned part.

Well-known local personalities

  • Bill Frisell resided in April and September 2012 at the Glen Deven Ranch, Big Sur and there composed the music of his album of the same name.
  • Peter Ind lived 1963-1965 in Big Sur
  • Alan Jardine of "The Beach Boys" has lived since the 1970s on a farm in Big Sur.
  • Robinson Jeffers wrote many poems about the area.
  • Jack Kerouac spent the summer of 1960 in Big Sur. Then he wrote his novel of the same name.
  • Henry Miller lived from 1944 to 1962 in Big Sur.
  • Michael Murphy, co-founder of settled in Big Sur Esalen Institute
  • Linus Carl Pauling, Chemistry and Nobel Peace Prize winner, lived on his farm and died there at the age of 93 years.

Movie Documentary

  • Big Sur - California's Wild Coast (Original Title: The Living Edens Big Sur - California's Wild Coast. ). Documentation of Bruce Reitherman, USA 2001, 45 minutes.