Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to permission to go to Big Creek Reserve?

A: Yes, Big Creek is a protected, natural reserve. Entry is permitted for research and educational purposes only. Use applications are submitted through the online RAMS reservation system. Applicants should read our mission statement to evaluate if their proposed use of the reserve matches the mission before deciding to apply.


Q: How do I get to Big Creek?

A: The main entrance to the reserve is located at the south end of Big Creek bridge. The address is 58801 Highway 1, Big Sur CA 93920. Google Maps will show the gate but there is no cell reception on this part of the Big Sur coast so the app will not work locally. Best to either drop a pin at the gate or download the map prior to leaving service.


Q: How do I get the gate combination?

A: You must have an approved reservation in addition to signing the user guidelines and returning them to the reserve director. The user guidelines are sent by email when reservations are approved.


Q: Can I visit the reserve just to go hiking or camping? 

A: Use of Big Creek is for research and education purposes. For the general public, we offer docent led tours once a month as well as organized volunteer events where people can use the reserve in trade for helping out.


Q: Will my car be able to drive on the steep dirt roads?

A: We recommend high clearance vehicles for driving our roads beyond the main entrance and for accessing most of the facilities. Some parts of the reserve are only accessible with 4 wheel drive. Please ask reserve staff whether your vehicle can get you where you need to.


Q: Can I drink the water at Big Creek?

A: Water provided from an installed tap or spigot is safe to drink. Water from tributaries and springs throughout the reserve should be consumed at your own risk.


Q: What is the campfire policy?

A: Campfires must be in designated fire pits at the campgrounds. Campfires may be restricted during the fire season, generally June-November. All fires must be put out with water before being left unattended. Firewood is not provided and should be obtained locally.


Q: Is there internet at Big Creek?

A: There is a satellite-provided network that has a monthly cap on data use. Please restrict your use of the internet to work-related purposes as much as possible. Devices are being monitored and those that use a large amount of data will be charged $10/GB to replenish the account.