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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Esalen Institute is located at:
55000 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA, 93920