Esalen is open. Travel Tips. Hiring

Esalen is open. Here are a few tips for getting here. Or want to stay longer? We're hiring.


Getting Here


As you prepare for your visit to Esalen, some additional planning and preparation will be necessary given current road closures in the Big Sur area. We are located along a scenic and relatively remote stretch of California's central coast, approximately 12 miles south of Big Sur.

Access to Big Sur from Monterey and points north is possible by car beginning approximately 5 pm the evening of Friday, October 13, due to the reopening of the Pfeiffer Canyon bridge. Travel from the south of Esalen is restricted due to the Mud Creek slide. Learn more about an alternate southern route.

Please call our Guest Services Office at 888-837-2536 if you have questions regarding your travel plans.

Shuttle to Esalen

Our closest airports are in Monterey and in the San Francisco Bay area:

  • Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) – 47 miles, approximately 75 minutes
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC) – 120 miles, approximately 2.5 hours
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – 150 miles, approximately 3 hours

We offer shuttle service to Esalen from all three airports on Fridays and Sundays. Learn more.

Driving to Esalen

If you choose to drive to Esalen, please check road conditions prior to departure.

From San Francisco or Points North (beginning the evening of October 13, 2017)

  • Take Route 101 South.
  • At Prunedale, take Route 156 west to the Monterey Peninsula and Highway 1.
  • Take Highway 1 South approximately 45 miles, past Monterey, Carmel, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
  • Nepenthe, a popular restaurant located on the ocean side of Highway 1, is 11 miles north of Esalen.
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is 3 miles north of Esalen.
  • Look for the Esalen Institute sign on the right side of the highway, at mile marker 32.4

Until the evening of October 13th, please click here for driving directions coming from the north using Nacimiento-Fergusson road.

From Los Angeles or Points South

Due to Highway 1’s closure at Mud Creek, the current route to Esalen from the south is Nacimiento-Fergusson road. This rural, mountain road connects Highway 101 to Highway 1 and is an approximate hour-long drive. At some points the roadway narrows to one lane and a half, so please drive with care. Get directions for driving via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.


If you are interested in sharing a ride with someone from your area, we can add you to a ride share list. We will attempt to match you with other people who are scheduled to arrive at Esalen on the same day and from a similar location. To be added to the ride share list or to inquire about possible carpool matches, please contact Guest Services at 888-837-2536 or email

Current Road Conditions

For traffic updates and other Caltrans projects in Monterey County, call (800) 427-ROAD (7623) within California and (916) 445-7623 from outside of California, or visit the Caltrans District 5 website.

Our Location

Esalen Institute is located at:

55000 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA, 93920


Experience twenty-seven acres of Pacific coastline paradise.


Make a difference and leave a legacy by becoming a Friend of Esalen.


A global network of seekers devoted to the belief that we are all capable of the extraordinary.