Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

California's Big Sur Coast

Golden Eagles are often seen patroling the coastline in Big Sur 


Another perk of living in Central California for as long as I did, was its proximity to such fantastic places as Big Sur, one of the most spectacular stretches of coast anywhere in the world.  During my childhood, my father and stepmother took me and my sisters to the coast regularly for camping and trekking.  We spent countless weekends camping at such places as Montana de Oro State Park and Cambria Pines. (Although both may be technically just outside the Big Sur coastline, they’re close enough to include here.)

But it wasn’t until much later in life that I spent some more serious time traveling to and studying the ecology and natural history of the coastline.  One of the few sparsely populated stretches of the Central Californian coast, Big Sur offers a rare glimpse of what the wild coast once was.  Great redwood forests and chaparral plant communities still cover the mountainous terrain of the region.  One week I spent time developing curriculum for a natural history field course I was going to teach at Sierra College, but never did get a chance to teach it when Lien passed away.


Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!

California Scenes Image Gallery


Take a look at some of the images taken from my many trips to Big Sur.



California Ground Squirrels are common along the California coast all the way to northern Baja.  These critters were photographed near Monterrey, California.  They can be found in and around the coastal rock outcropping in the southern regions.



A curious baby Northern Elephant Seal checking me out.  This image was taken at the San Simeon colony.  I enjoyed watching this colony grow from just a few individuals in the 1960's to several thousand year-round inhabitants, making it now one of the largest colonies on the west coast.




A sleepy Northern Elephant Seal female in San Simeon.




Another amazing Bir Sur sunset!




Ho Hum....yet another Big Sur sunset...




Big Sur's scenic coastline offers some of the most spectacular vistas anywhere on the west coast.




Some years the hillsides of the Bir Sur coast explode in gold with the blooming Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy).




Looking south along the Bir Sur coastline.



Trekking the Bir Sur coast.



Hillsides coated in purple with blooming Ceonothus scrub.



These amazing jellys were seen in the Monterrey Aquarium.  As far as they were concerned they were wild!



Brown Pelicans seen along the coast of Big Sur resting in the evening sun.