Big Sur's Molera State Park


The coast from Carmel south to Big Sur and on to Hearst Castle is magnificent, of course, and important pieces of it are protected and interpreted by scenic and historic state parks and preserves including Point Lobos, Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Hearst Castle itself. Each has its own unique qualities and attributes and I enjoy them all. However, in the early 1970s, I began to develop a special relationship with Andrew Molera State Park and it’s deepened ever since. One of my very best friends was my college’s Dean of Admissions, Bill Wheaton. When Bill retired from Pomona College in southern California in 1969, he and his wife, Betty, settled on the Monterey Peninsula. From that point on, I was a regular visitor and trekked with Bill high and low in the Big Sur region. Along the way, he introduced me to Andrew Molera and we returned together dozens of times. Bill and I often walked for hours without encountering another person. I have many fine memories of my long conversations on foot in Molera with Bill. He was a mentor and a role model and as dear a friend as I could ever hope to find. When he died at the age of 88 in 2001, it was fitting that a throng of people who adored him should take a walk by the Big Sur River and into the hills of Molera. It was a fine day and one that Bill would have appreciated in the company of his big family and many friends. Some of us hiked to a high overlook. We left him with a view he cherished on a coast he loved.

Molera remains as beautiful and inviting as ever, and Ken Lee, hard to believe, retired in July, 2007. Many thanks to Ken for his long and great serice to California State Parks. And while you’re at Molera, be sure to visit the Ventana Wildlife Society. Kelley Sorenson is now the Executive Director and the Society is still deeply involved in the California Condor Restoration Program. We’ll file stories soon about the program here and in Pinnacles National Monument. Condors, once entirely removed from the wild, are making a gradual comeback. Forty-one of the huge birds now soar above Big Sur, Pinnacles and Monterey County. On a trip to Big Sur in the spring of 2007, right next to Highway One about ten miles south of Molera, I saw ten condors resting on the cliffs with grand views of the Pacific hundreds of feet below. Some of the condors flew around a little and a few landed no more than twenty feet from where we were standing. They are huge with the broadest wing span of any bird in North America. It's great to see them where they belong. Keep your eyes peeled, and you may get some great sightings of your own. Be sure and let us know if you do. If you want to spend some time in the Big Sur region, you'll find some excellent campgrounds in the region and motel and lodge accomodations in a variety of price ranges. If you are ever able to really splurge, there is no place more desirable than the Post Ranch Inn, perched on the very edge of the precipitous coast.


See one of many state park gems along the Big Sur coast. For very personal reasons, it’s my favorite.
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Andrew Molera State Park
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Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Big Sur Guide
CA State Parks Foundation
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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Pelican Network
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Point Lobos State Reserve
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