After about 30 miles, the golden rolling hills morphed into dense wooded cliffs.
‘Civilization’ was left behind. Road sign featuring the ‘s’ symbols started to appear more often. It was a clear announcement of the sharp curves we were going to encounter for the next 100 miles.
As we gained elevation, sea stacks, down at the crescent shaped coves, started to look like minuscule points pounded by the wild Pacific Ocean. Patches of fog gave a hazy dream feeling to the entire scenery.
Then, we saw structures and cars and people. Also, I was able to catch a glimpse of a sign I have wanted to encounter for a long time, to be exact 12 years. After more than a decade long wait, I felt a rush when I saw the “Welcome to Big Sur” sign.
It looks like Ragged Point is the first official stop in Big Sur for those navigating the coast from the south. This particular trip to this famous part of Sunshine State was put together at the last moment. A beaten map I got years ago at the Morro Bay Visitor’s Center served as my trustworthy guide. The Ragged Point Inn appeared in the map next to a caricaturized gas sign (there are only three gas stations in the area).
The Inn is located directly above the Pacific and affords glorious views of the ocean. As a matter of fact, this view of barren, steep cliffs rushing into the sea is called the “Million Dollar View.”
Fog was still covering part of the view when I visited a Saturday morning.
As we walked the grounds of the Inn, the fog dissipated and we were able to admire the view in its entire splendor.
After a few minutes, I realized something. The road we were about to continue driving somehow ran thru the rim of those cliffs. I got an uneasy sensation in my stomach. It seems like engineers didn’t take into consideration people with fear of heights when they designed this road (CA-1).
Well, after all, I said to myself, there was a small price to pay in order to continue being blown away by a spectacle that only nature can deliver. Can you spot the road in the next picture?
There is a redwood pagoda (used in weddings and events) from where you can take a good look at the black sands and emerald water located at the feet of the cliffs.
As you can imagine, the view has inspired more than one artist. In the property, there is a sculpture reminiscent of a rounded ship cabin window. The amazing thing is that the sculpture perfectly frames the view.
There is also a trail to the beach at the base of the cliffs. I didn’t have the time to hike but I have read the view from the bottom can be more impressive than the view from the top.
The Inn itself is beautiful. Time should be taken to walk the grounds with a slow pace.
There are trees shaped by the wind, multicolored flowers and red paths connecting the different areas. The site not only offers lodging but there are other services like food, gas and supplies are offered too.
If you visit, take also a look at the views to the south (the cliffs are to the north). They are great as well!
What can I say? First stop in Big Sur conquered. Now, remember that scary looking road? Ahh, I took a deep breath while getting into the car to continue the journey. After witnessing the “Million Dollar View” I was determine to take it easy and enjoy every mile of the breathtaking road between Ragged Point and Carmel.
Have you been to Ragged Point?