Big Sur is one of California’s most spectacular natural wonders. Driving the winding ocean-side road is iconic for a reason. From stunning bluffs and rolling hills to beautiful beaches, it’s a must-visit if you can get the chance. One of its lesser-known elements is Calla Lily Valley at Garrapata Beach, which becomes overtaken with hundreds of blooming white calla lilies every year. If you can manage to catch them in bloom between January and April, you’re in for a real treat. The small valley is easy to miss, but nestled between bluffs is a valley bursting with beautiful calla lily flowers and the sweeping beach in the background.
Calla Lily Valley is easily accessible via a short trail down to the beach. This hiking loop via AllTrails is a nice route for finding the calla lilies as well as fantastic ocean views. The loop is less than a mile and has very little elevation, perfect for a short walk to stretch your legs.
For 2024, storms have caused damage, and some hikers report that as of January 2024, the staircases to the valley and beach have been washed away along with some of the early blooms. The trail is still open to hikers, and reviews on AllTrails note it’s still doable, just not as accessible as in previous years.
We recommend checking the California State Park website to see recent trail closures or safety advisories, and read recent reviews from other hikers on AllTrails to better understand conditions if you plan on going.
It’s best to visit early on a weekday to avoid crowds; during weekends, it can be very crowded with eager visitors. It’s also best to visit during low tide so you have plenty of beach to explore. Calla lilies come in a variety of gorgeous colors and are native to South Africa. They’re found in many places throughout Northern California, including SF’s own Golden Gate Park.
More things to do in Big Sur
While you’re at it, consider bringing a picnic to enjoy on Garrapata Beach or carry on down the coast to see the Bixby Bridge, which is just 5 minutes south. The famous McWay Falls is 40 minutes further down Highway 1.
By Jamie Ferrell and Dana Flynn