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Explore Big Sur
at Flickr.com

Explore Big Sur


Big Sur is a thinly-settled region of the central California coast where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. This geology produces stunning views and has become a magnet for global tourism. Although Big Sur has no specific boundaries, most definitions of the area include the 90 miles (145km) of coastline between Carmel and San Simeon, and extend about 20 miles (32km) inland to the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucias. Cone Peak, the second-highest mountain in the Santa Lucias, features the steepest coastal elevation increase in the lower 48 states, ascending nearly a mile (5,155 feet/1.6km) above sea level, only 3 miles (4.8 km) from the ocean. The mountains trap most of the moisture out of the clouds, often in the form of morning fogs, creating a favorable environment for forests, including the southernmost habitat of the coast redwood. Farther inland, in the rain shadow, the conifer forests disappear and the vegetation becomes open oak woodland, then transitions into the more familiar fire-tolerant California chaparral scrub.





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