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Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

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Toronto, Ontario
posts: 797
reviews: 12
Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

We are going to travel from Monterey to Hearst Castle this Sunday and wondered if we stop off at all the lookout points etc on the way down to Hearst Castle - how quick is the drive back to Monterey on HIghway 1 without making any stops?

I heard that this is not a good road to drive at night and - and probably driving at sunset - though beautiful might be tiring on the eyes - how early should we leave Hearst Castle? - That way I can calculate how late a tour I can choose.

Any response is appreciated.

San Francisco...
posts: 749
1. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

One more thing to consider is that the tour seems to come with an Imax movie included. So this movie will add another 45min to the time spent there.

I hope someone else confirms this . I am also collecting info for a summer trip to Hearst.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,721
reviews: 8
2. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

It's approx. 2-3 hours back to Monterey from Hearst Castle. I always factor in extra time to account for road work delays (there is currently 1 lane controlled traffic in at least section of Highway 1), slower moving traffic that won't pull over to allow faster traffic to go around, or the possible traffic accident that happens on occasion.

BTW- Keep an eye on our current storm activity. Rock slides are common on Highway 1 and can flatten tires or damage the undercarriage of your vehicle.

I just hope the highway doesn't end up being closed due to storm damage this week.

Check this site for up to date road conditions on Highway 1:

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

Edited: 11:30 pm, January 18, 2010
Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,721
reviews: 8
3. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

BTW- You should factor at least 2 1/2 hours for your Hearst Castle visit. That should also include the IMAX movie.

Also wanted to let you know that I drove Highway 1 northbound last year and entered Big Sur as darkness was setting in. It was beautiful! Loved how Deetjens Big Sur Inn was lit up. It reminded me of something out of Lord of the Rings.

Toronto, Ontario
posts: 797
reviews: 12
4. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

Kibblemom, so you think driving back to Monterey from the castle would be okay later in the day and not necessarily avoided if it's getting dark?

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,721
reviews: 8
5. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

It will be getting dark around 5:30 pm on Sunday, so probably best to head back to Monterey around 4:00 pm.

I find the southern half of the Big Sur drive to be the most tricky. Most of the tight hairpin turns and narrow sections of highway are on that south section. Having driven the highway in this time frame, I really loved rolling through Big Sur just as it was getting dark. The lights on the inns and other businesses just made the experience ethereal for me. Really beautiful, if you will.

I ended up following traffic back into Monterey, which made the drive easier. Plus the road is easier to manage this far north.

But do keep an eye on the weather and road conditions. I read in the Monterey paper a few minutes ago that there was flooding on Highway 1 near Andrew Molera State Park (just to the north of the town of Big Sur). Rock slides are also problematic on Highway 1, so keep a close eye on the road on the drive back. The north bound lane is the most prone to rock encounters, since the hills butt up against that lane.

6. Re: Travelling from Monterey to Hearst Castle via Highway 1

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