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Calla Lily Valley

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

Location : Garrapata State Beach, Big Sur, CA.

Parking : Free (roadside)

Trail type : Out and Back

Trail Length : 1.5 mile

Elevation Gain : 150 ft

Difficulty : Easy

Trails traversed : Garrapata Trail > Garrapata Bluff Trail

Pro Tip : Wear sturdy, waterproof boots. Download map of area before trip, as signal is sketchy.

Post Hike Grub Stop : Allegro Gourmet Pizzeria, Carmel, CA.

Calla Lily Valley is a small valley in Garrapata State Beach in Big Sur, and as the name suggests, is filled with hundreds of beautiful wild calla lilies during the months of February and March each year. It is an extremely popular spot for nature photographers and selfie seekers when the blooms are in their prime. It is also a perfect pit stop if you are traveling on Highway 1 during springtime.

Finding the Garrapata Trailhead maybe a little tricky. Also, cellphone signal can be sketchy or non-existent in this area. So download the map before the start of your trip. Coming from the Bay Area, drive south on Highway 1 towards Big Sur. Pass Garrapata State Beach (NOT Garrapata State Park). Within a mile after you pass Granite Canyon Bridge, across the street from Doud Creek Ranch, you will see a small gate with a number of cars parked near it. A few warning signs and a garbage bin mark the start of Garrapata Trail. A 0.5 mile sandy trail leads to this valley. The trail will take you towards the edge of the bluff and then downhill towards a ravine. You will notice the valley of flowers from the top, even before you make your way downhill.

In this picture, the stairway connecting the bluff to the valley is seen in the distance.

If you are an avid photographer, the best time to visit the valley is during sunrise or sunset. But sunset is also the time when this place is the most crowded.

The lilies grow in and around the Doud Creek, which flows through the valley and into the ocean. The creek water can be hard to spot in the thick overgrowth and the ground is muddy in many places. Waterproof/sturdy hiking boots are recommended for this reason.

The flowers primarily bloom between mid Feb and Mid March. When I went in 2021, they were still blooming in the second week of March but had wilted by March 20th, due to warm temperatures. In 2022, they are already in full bloom in second week of February. The flowers wilt/burn when the temperatures are high. So plan ahead and visit this whimsical wonderland before their short season ends!

PSA : Please, PLEASE be mindful walking around the lilies and in your eagerness to take that perfect Instagram-worthy shot, dont stomp on them or pluck/cut them. Leave them for others to enjoy until their bloom ends.

Once you are done with the Calla Lily Valley, ascend the steps on the opposite side from where you descended into the valley, to get on the Garrapata Bluff Trail for stunning views of the coastline and the colors of the sunset.


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