I am currently in the middle of a career change and had some extra free time, so I decided to go camping! I always wanted to go to Big Sur and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in my Jeep Wrangler, but it was over 7 hours away from were I live in Southern California and I just never had the time.
Now with a few free extra free days, I decided to drive up toward Big Sur and check out Prewitt Ridge for some ocean views and free dispersed camping. I chose Prewitt Ridge because I wanted a free dispersed camp ground I could easily get to in my Wrangler. I also wanted beautiful ocean views from my campsite. I found a great article on The Outbound which I used to start my research.
Camping on Prewitt Ridge takes you on an easy to moderate dirt road off Nacimiento-Furgusson Road in the Los Padres National Forest. The Pacific Coast Highway had a road closure south of Nacimiento-Furgusson Road when I went so I did not get to drive North up the Pacific Coast Highway to get there. Instead I drove east of Los Padres National Forest and then drove west up Nacimiento-Furgusson Road through Fort Hunter Ligget a US Army base. There is a public road through the base so you do not have to worry if you are not active duty military.
Once you drive up Nacimiento-Furgusson Road you will either make a left or right onto the Coast Ridge Trail depending on if you were driving east or west on Nacimiento Road:
If you have the What3word app on your phone you can type ///clip.lingo.reacting to easily navigate to this location in your favorite navigation app.
You will follow the Coast Ridge Road South just about 4.3 miles and you will hit an intersection which is clearly labeled. Turn right toward Prewitt Ridge here, and continue down a dirt road until you find a suitable camp site.
Coast Ridge Road is not super technical but I would avoid at all cost after a good rain storm if you do not have four wheel drive. If it has been relatively dry, than you should be fine, I saw a handful of low clearance vehicles up there but drive it at your own risk.
The drive along Coast Ridge Road is absolutely beautiful and has many stunning views overlooking Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean.
When I got to the main campsites there were already a few vehicles there, and this was on a Monday afternoon in April. With that being said this places is not necessarily a secret and I would try and get there early for a good spot. Its first come first serve.
The main campsites overlooking the ocean start around right here:
This location can also be found on What3words app by typing in ///wiping.blogged.tickle
I continued down the road until I found a suitable campsite, with amazing views of the ocean. I parked my car stretched out my legs and set up my bivy in one of the most beautiful camp sites I have ever driven up to.
Before settling into this spot, I did drive down as far as I could down the road, to see what else was ahead. If you go to far you will eventually run into private property and you can not go camping or exploring down there.
If you are camping out on Prewitt Ridge, make sure you get out there early. I mentioned there were already others there on a Monday afternoon, but more importantly you want to get out there early to enjoy the beautiful sunsets from this location. I am forever grateful to not have missed the sunset this particular night:
My specific campsite turn off this night can be found on What3words app by typing ///coppers.napkins.teamed and I took the above picture at ///groves.redheads.showering
In the morning I woke up pretty early and drove back along Coast Ridge Road and took Nacimiento-Furgusson Road west toward the ocean to experience the Pacific Coast Highway before driving home. Having never experienced the Pacific Coast Highway, I was not let down, it was stunning!