Salmon Creek: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Salmon Creek Falls

A massive surge in the number of visitors to Monterey County in general and Big Sur in particular has led to a large increase in the number of people camping along, and near, Highway One and other roads. While many of these people are, no doubt, careful to leave no trace of their visit, others light illegal campfires and leave their garbage strewn across the landscape.

One place feeling the impact is Salmon Creek, near the Monterey/San Luis Obispo County Line. Here’s how things were going there yesterday…

The Good








The Bad


Illegal campfires in a dry forest ready to burn






The Ugly


Toilet paper









The trifecta: Campfire, graffiti, and a bottle tossed in the creek.

17 Responses to Salmon Creek: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. Paul says:

    If you can see this horrible lack of respect for nature and other humans, and not want to kill the perps. Then you are definately better people than I. Ihave no patience for anybody that trashes public places or plays music that i dont want to hear among other things. I was in Phieffer Big Sur 3 months ago and some low lifes tagged several giant trees. I visualized myself clubbing these pigs with a bat until they were unrecognizable. I will donate to all of you good people that work so hard to protect our environment. But as I said, I am not so gracious to criminals. I catch em and
    I’ll deal with em my way.

  2. Gary Felsman says:

    Yes, unfortunately this will continue to happen even though it is a small percentage of the people visiting Salmon Creek. But once fire rings are established, or people see other people doing similar things. They get the sense that it is OK to do the same. The only real solution is more funding for patrols, removing fire rings and keeping the place clean. I have found if people find a trash pile it is ok to just add to it.

  3. Kyle K says:

    I might be in for a Salmon Creek clean up day. Maybe get a few folks to go in, break up the fire rings, clean out the trash, etc. Maybe, if we keep doing that some folks will get the message.

  4. bigsurkate says:

    Bless you, Kyle and VWA. I’m not sure all will get the message, but it will certainly slow down the destruction. XT, thanks for this post. Nice to have others join in with their observations. It is just too much to deal with, sometimes.

  5. John Dalessio says:

    Thanks, Keith. A never ending problem, that I think is receding as more people get the message. Will it ever go away? I doubt it, but will we keep fighting it??? No.

  6. Chris L says:

    Our contribution—as “locals”—is to do our best to educate, inspire, and practice best principles ourselves. (Though certain episodic demonstrations of homegrown vigilantism might not be remiss either:) We live in a cultural and biotic refugia that requires both education and defense.

  7. coastroad says:

    No apostrophe!

  8. Amy Hall says:

    Is there a dislike button? I’m always dazed and confused at people’s disrespect for nature. If you’re going to get out and enjoy it, respect it!!!!!!!!!!

  9. dave hilbert says:

    I will share this with our local TU chapter. This is what we do. So sad to see that. Great memories up Salmon Creek. How far up from the highway was the painting on the rocks?

    Steinbeck Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited


  10. Kathryn says:

    I live in Pismo, but we would like to be notified about trail clean up days. We would try to come up for trail cleaning, we normally pick up what we can carry, but did leave those pants in early July(vermin concerns, should be safe now).

  11. Kyle K says:

    I would be interested too. I’m in Monterey area. I think we’ll have to wait for a while, given the fire.

  12. xasauan says:

    There is graffiti in more than one place. “Davids Cave” (No apostrophe!) is on one of the various trails to the falls.

  13. R Clayton says:

    lets approach these issues with education; this is best.

  14. Well now. A fire has broken out from an illegal morning campfire at Soberanes where someone went off the trail to hike and sleep in moonlight, perhaps. Now the overrun Big Sur is quiet with tourists. Is this how it ends? All is lost along the Hway and fire heading south. But visitors will return… It is big trouble when US campgrounds are full and people are turned away.
    I never see a Smokey Bear sign along the highway or a No smoking caution sign, extreme fire danger or campfires prohibited sign at Otter cove beginning of Garrapata Park where people start to stop and stare looking south. That’s the place to post it! (I am sickened by charcoal Graffiti tagged in rock at Garrapata beach, with that stupid stainless steel staircase and no fine warning).

  15. Heather Trimble says:

    It’s ludicrous that we don’t have posted No fires signs along our coast. I think a $1000 fine for illegal fires might deter the dumb asses. I also think there should be porta- potties or restrooms available at Salmon Creek and other areas. I know it’s a Scenic highway, but the they would be preferable to trash, crap and dirty diapers. My husband Chris & I hike Salmon often and always clean up after the ignorant. The last time we were there, I cried at the overwhelmingly disgusting condition of our beautiful creek. It’s a magical place for us. I see plenty of Rangers and Fish&Game all along the coast. We’ve got plenty of cops. During heavy use time, they should get out of their vehicles and hike back in and give out some nice pricey tickets!

  16. Heather is right on the money, thanks for that. Give fines out and a Ranger should have been at Soberanes during heavy weekends for info or instruction on first aid. That would have curtailed the culprit to comeback and start a fire that Friday morning perhaps.
    – Too many people – no supervision.

  17. Little Philly says:

    Signs are a must so people know re: fire danger and if there’s a bathroom nearby, where or how far. What do we expect when we funnel millions of people down/up Hwy 1 who have no clue where anything is? More bathrooms are needed, Salmon Creek has that unused Ranger house that could have a BR placed there. The revamped Vista View south of Partington with the great etchings of Condors, Whales & History of area should have had a bathroom installed on the south end. It can still be done.Then more patrols need to happen to advise and substantially ticket the blatant ones with no regard for Mother Earth. Millions of $ a day is being spent on the Sobranes Fire, certainly more money can be spent year round for the items mentioned above. It’s all about prioritizing.

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