Fancy a soak in a backcountry hot spring? Check out the Sykes Hot Springs in Big Sur’s Ventana Wilderness – three small pools of 100-degree water perched above the Big Sur River. Reaching these gems requires a hardy ten-mile hike through coastal mountain country (watch the poison oak) along the Pine Ridge Trail. Pitch your tent in Barlow Flat Camp next to the river. The next day, a shorter hike reveals your reward: hot spring heaven. Pack your birthday suit (you know, just in case).
Park at Big Sur Station in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park off Highway 1. Check with the ranger at the info desk about the flow of the Big Sur River. This will determine which route you should use to get to the hot springs. Get detailed directions from the ranger.