Tan Bark Trail and Tin House

If you are wanting to increase you heart rate a bit, then it may be time to take on the Tan Bark Trail and Tin House. This 6.3-mile hike begins in a coastal canyon within Big Sur, California and ascends a hillside for nearly 3 miles, offering beautiful views of the canyon, Big Sur, and the Pacific Ocean. Before beginning the ascent, you will be hiking among giant redwoods, and experiencing the site and sounds of Partington Creek for about a mile. Then you make a hairpin turn where you will see a sign that reads “Donald H. McLaughlin Grove.” From there you will begin your ascent for about 2 miles until you reach the fire road. Take a left to head towards the Tin House.

History of the Tin House

In 1944, the Tin House was built by a Congressman from New York, Lathrop Brown. He built the house from tin sheeting and parts that he retrieved from old gas stations. It is said that once the house was complete, Brown and his family stayed there for a grand total of one night. They realized that the tin structure was too noisy, so they decided that one night was all they can handle and never returned.

After exploring the Tin House, head back up the fire road to the Tan Bark Trail. You have two options: descend the remain fire road or return to the trailhead on the Tan Bark Trail. The rest of the fire road offers additional views that are worth seeing, but it ends on Highway 1, about 1 mile south of where you would park. Making the trek on Highway 1 back to your vehicle is dangerous and is not recommended, so you would have to head back up the fire road to the Tan Bark Trail.

The trail is unmarked, so finding the trailhead and where to park can be tricky. If you are heading south on Highway 1, the trail will be 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant. If you are heading north on Highway 1, the trail will be 2 miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park turnoff.

Time to raise your heart rate a bit and explore Tan Bark Trail and Tin House down by the bay.

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