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About Swiss Canyon Beach in Big Sur, California

When viewing Google Maps anyone can see this lovely beach. It is the long sandy beach that’s visible when looking north from Andrew Molera State Park. The name comes from Swiss Canyon which ends at the Pacific Ocean on this coastline between the park and Point Sur Lighthouse (see a color topographic map of Swiss Canyon).

When we visited this beach a while back, there was a huge gap in the state park fence and a well-traveled path with a short steep descent that led to the beach (all of this route is on state land). It was clear to us that many adventurous people went to this beach. So we added it to our website and we even added it to our map of the Best Beaches that Tourists Miss in Big Sur.

The owners of the El Sur Ranch (the active cattle ranch behind the beach) have informed us that they intend to prosecute people who trespass on their property so don’t do that! We are unsure if the California State Parks Department has repaired their fence, but there is a sign that reads “AREA CLOSED TO PROTECT NATURAL FEATURES AND INSURE PUBLIC SAFETY – DO NOT ENTER” and it should not be ignored.

The state of California owns all tidelands and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) guarantees the public’s right of access to tidelands. Tidelands consist of the area on a beach or rocky coastline that is between the mean high tide line and the mean low tide line. This CCC guidebook introduction explains these rights and how to be good stewards of tidelands and beaches. So if you were to access this beach legally, or by boat or kayak, you would have to stay below the highest wet point of the beach (like we attempted to do when we visited it).

Since legally visiting this beach is difficult now, we have moved this beach to our map of the Best Beaches You’ll Never See in California. El Sur Ranch now has three of the beaches on this list. Like the others nearby in the Big Sur area, Swiss Canyon Beach is absolutely beautiful. Today you can only take pictures of it from the Headlands Trail on Molera Point in Andrew Molera State Park and wonder what it would be like to walk down there on the sand.

For your information, here is a webpage about prescriptive rights according to the Coastal Commission. We are not sure if this beach falls under these rights, but please let us or the CCC know if you have visited this beach using the route from the park.

Cabrillo Hwy and Andrew Molera Rd
Big Sur, CA 93920
Other Names
El Sur Ranch Beach, False Sur Beach
Pet Details
No dogs allowed on the trail or the beach
Fee for parking at state park, free spaces at highway
Beach Exploration, Walking, Hiking, Photography
Trails, No Facilities
Map of Swiss Canyon Beach
Carmel Valley Village, US
8:47 am, May 30, 2024
temperature icon 55°F
L: 55° H: 64°
Feels like 53.51 °F clear sky
Wind gusts: 6 m/s
UV Index: 2.48
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 5:52 am
Sunset: 8:18 pm
Humidity 65 %
Pressure1016 mb
Wind 6 m/s

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