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“Best Of Big Sur! (Raccoons and all) :)” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kirk Creek Campground

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Kirk Creek Campground
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Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA 93465   |  
Hotel amenities
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Best Of Big Sur! (Raccoons and all) :)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We just returned back to Wisconsin after a 3-day experience in Big Sur, anchored at Kirk Creek. We had a great experience, besides my girlfriend's mysterious contraction of poison oak (more on that later).

Kirk Creek is clearly Big Sur's campground jewel. There are a handful of other places (we saw them all) to pitch a tent along Highway 1, but none of them match the feeling of being somewhere special as much as Kirk Creek does. Sure, the CA park service recently pulled the plug on their (shaky) water supply, but this did not hinder us as we knew of this prior to our visit and brought along 4 gallon jugs of fresh water. This isn't rocket science. Sure, there are no showers as Kirk Creek is a National Forest land...not a CA State Park. This is clearly posted. We just popped 2 minutes up the road and paid the $10 day-use fee to use Limekiln's hot showers as much as we wanted, per day. A bit spendy for long stays, yes...but we were on vacation and had prepared for it. No biggie!

KIrk Creek has recently completed installation of two brand new and CLEAN pit toilet houses. These were a very nice surprise, as we had prepared ourselves for the dilapitated existing "nasty" (as some have said) pits. Not the case!

Firewood is available for $8 in big log form (we had a problem keeping it lit without kindling) and each site has a standing charcoal grill.

We had shoreline site #19 with it's sweeping mountain and ocean views to the north. It was a head-shaking, disbelief view. Falling asleep to the crashing Pacific is something to behold. As many have said, the raccoons were omnipresent after dark. There seems to be at least a trio of them, with a male and a female being the main duo. One hobbles with a limp, almost on three legs only. As soon as the sun set, here they came into our site as we were preparing dinner. They had ZERO fear of humans, and I had to clap and and holler and chase them away time after time. The 'coons soon realized we were no easy target, so they moved on to the site above us, #17. We soon heard a woman's shriek, followed by a screaming "oh my god!!"...then pounding on the outside walls of their Mercedes motorhome. Pretty sure both raccoons had jumped up INSIDE of the motorhome as the people weren't paying attention. We soon heard clapping and yelling across the road from us, then soon heard the trash cans near us being raided (successfully...Kirk Creek needs better trash logistics badly). We were on high alert, with almost a laughable tone...as we knew they wouldn't be hurting anyone. They were just a nuisance. We also saw them engaging in "raccoony-style" intercourse...crossed something off the list there! After a while we went to bed...and both nights had the raccoons pawing at our tent, with muddy paw-print evidence on the rainfly and on our picnic tablecloth in the morning. Just be aware. Obviously too many foolish campers have fed the little cuties (and yes, they are adoreable)...so shame on you! We are experienced "Bear Aware" campers and treat all camping as if we are in grizzly territory. Many of you could learn a lesson here!

Many have mentioned the poison oak on the path down to the shoreline...therefore we avoided the walk, but we did start it and a fellow camper pointed out the plant and what to stay away from. We didn't come close to touching it...yet days later my girlfriend became aware of a growing, burning rash which she's still dealing with today. SO, that said...if you think you're susceptable to airborne poison oak contraction, be very aware that it happens! Apparently I'm immune as I handled and washed her quarantined clothing with no ill-effects.

ALL THAT SAID...this is still the most amazing campsite I've ever had the pleasure to experience, and I've been around....

Room Tip: Sites 15, 17, 19 and 21 are closest to the water and offer the best views...as well as sites 8 and 9...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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27 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Newport Beach
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

Kirk Creek was a top-ten site in the US and our favorite until its recent conversion to a primitive campsite. Neither Recreation.gov nor the Forest Service site will tell you that there is NO WATER on the site. Not just potable water. They have turned off ALL the taps. You have to drive 10 miles round trip to Plaskett Creek to fill your water jug.

That makes it easily accessible only to the rich, self-contained RV owners. How is a bicyclist supposed to haul enough water to drink, cook and clean up? Do they expect campers to waste precious water putting out a campfire? What will it take before they put in the filtering system that Monterey county asked them to do? A major fire? We are deeply upset by the changes to what was our favorite site in California.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire Dales National Park, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

If youre in a mobile home, and want a natural place to camp, but you have all your amenities with you, this place is great.

We had a fantastic spot at the edge of the cliff (but safe) we pre booked through the National Park website, and the kids loved it. We had racoons and chipmunks running about, which the kids thought were great.

If you have a large mobile home, ask for a flat spot, initially we had a sloped position which was a little scary for our first ever overnight in a massive camper van in the US, especially as we turned up very late at night (try to get to the site before dark) otherwise its hard to navigate, and the chipmunks and racoons are scary (if you haven't seen them before, and its pitch dark !!).

Dont leave your food out unattended as the little critters will eat it all, and they can open tupperware !! Take a torch, there is no light/lamps at night Highway 1 is quiet in the evening, don't be put off by the close proximity to the highway, you cant here it or really see it from the site, and it isn't an unpleasant highway. The ocean is much louder, but soothing.

There are no hook ups here, there are toilets (we didn't use them as we had our own) the campsite manager, is knowledgeable and helpful and you can buy logs for the outdoor pit from him too, but nothing else, it is a back to nature natural spot, perfect for a few days on a longer journey. You cannot dump here either.

Take a camera, the views are magnificent.

We travelled June 2012, with 3 kids in a hired roadbearrv/ motorhome, what a fab time !

Room Tip: Check the plan out on the National Parks website, before you book, and if you have a motorhome/RV, t...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

This is a fine campground. The views of the Pacific and Big Sur can't be beat. November is a great time to visit because of the weather and the lack of campers during the week. Nigh times are very peaceful on Highway 1 because no one is driving that road a night. Keep you stuff away from the raccoon.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

What can you say? The best views money can buy and not much money at that. $18 for a night is probably the best thing i've ever bought. Sat on a small outcrop above the ocean with amazing views both ways along the Pacific Coast, you can walk down to the sea but there is no real beach and the sea is rough. Basic toilet facilities which can be a bit scary at night as there is no lights and what appeared to be a new shower block just been built but not yet open.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

A campsite with a great view, purched on the side of the ocean, easy to find, just keep on heading south from San Fran on Highway 1 until you see the signs.

The facilities on the campsite were a bit limited and not as adverised on the NPS website


So unless you want to pay $$$ for food & drink, stock up before you hit Highway 1

You cannot drink the water on site so again unless you want to pay $$$$$ for bottled water, stock up beforehand

Having said the above, it is still a great campsite to base yourself half way between SF & LA

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntingdon. UK
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2012

We had driven for hours (via Nacimiento Road) to reach this camp ground and were lucky to get in a day before our due date. It was mid-week. It was our first 'camping' experience on Big Sur, and it set the benchmark for what was to follow. Rick - the manager - was really brilliant to talk to and so very helpful. (There is another guy you may meet by the name of JW - who looks similar - who is not!)

The layout is good, and you have plenty of space. There was one 'pitch' that was bare of any grass that I am glad we didn't get. When booking, have a think about where your vehicle will be parked and if it will block your view. Those on the inside of the inner 'circle' that face the sea may suffer from this.

There is no beach access, and too much Poison Oak to be comfortable.

There is water (that Rick says you must boil before drinking), and little road noise at night. None of the photos on the Camp One site do this place justice.

As for people's comments on the price of wood - get a life! At $22 a night this place would be $100 a night if commercially offered. You have a bargain!

Room Tip: Check on the map if your site will have your vehicle parked and obscuring your sea view.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kirk Creek Campground

Address: Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA 93465
Location: United States > California > Big Sur
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Big Sur
Number of rooms: 34

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