Running from Carmel, 150 miles south of San Francisco, to San Simeon, Big Sur's mass of tight mountains pushes brazenly against the Pacific swell. Kelp forests sway at the feet of rugged sea cliffs. Deep valleys shelter some of the southernmost redwoods. The only way through this fastness is along winding, breathtaking California Route 1.
Other helpful data:
On Foot in Big Sur Country
Big Sur Hiking Trails
Ventana Wilderness - Santa Lucia Mountains
Sierra Club - Santa Lucia Chapter
Ventana Wilderness Alliance
Also worth a stop, despite its touristy qualities, is nearby Point Lobos State Reserve.
Big Sur Without the Crowds