Have you ever seen wild calla lilies in a valley that leads into a dreamy beach? This is Calla Lily Valley, Big Sur. Well, it’s actually off Pacific Coast Highway (PCH/Highway 1) in Carmel-by-the-Sea by Big Sur. If you’re looking for a California calla lily field this is it! Here’s what you need to know about this fairytale-like place called Calla Lily Valley.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click my link, I make a small percentage (at no extra cost to you). This helps me keep the travel blog running.
Calla Lily Valley Near Big Sur, California
Springtime on the California Coast is absolutely beautiful. If you’re in the area or planning a visit you need to check out Calla Lily Valley.
Where is Calla Lily Valley?
Calla Lily Valley is located along the Garrapata Trail in Garrapata Beach. Garrapata is a State Park located in Carmel-by-the-Sea but it’s about 10 miles from the town. To get to the valley just type in “Calla Lily Valley” into Google Maps. Just make sure you download the map because that area of PCH does not have any cell service.
How to Get to Calla Lily Valley
Google Maps will take you to the exact point but when you’re getting closer be on the lookout for a place to safely park on the side of the road. The entrance is clearly marked at gate 18 (see below) so you can’t miss it.
Walk down to the trail and be careful not to brush up against the greenery, there is poison oak! The trail that leads down to the valley is easy to follow and only about .25 mile one way. Once you’re in the valley where are dirt pathways and it’s IMPORTANT to stay on them. Practice Leave No Trace principles. It was sad to see that there were some patches that appeared to be trampled on. Do your part to help keep this place beautiful for yourself and others to enjoy.
When to Go – Calla Lily Season in California
The calla lilies are seasonal so you’ll have to time your visit just right. Calla Lily Season in California is from mid-January to April however peak season is said to be mid-February to mid-March. I visited in early March and some flowers had already started to wilt. This could be for a variety of reasons but the sweet spot is in between that time. A good tip is to check out recent posts on Instagram with the geotagged location and kindly ask if the photo is recent. This will help you confirm if the flowers are still in bloom.
Sunset is a beautiful time to visit because you’ll see the sunset into the ocean. However, this is a popular time so opting for early morning is ideal to beat the crowds. This will create less stress finding parking and you’ll get to enjoy this magical place to yourself!
Do I Need to Bring Anything?
As mentioned there is poison oak so being some poison oak cream just in case. And wear sunscreen. After the sun rises over the hill you’ll be fully exposed to the sun for the rest of the day. Wear layers as it can be chilly in the morning and just before sunset.
Where to Stay
There are so many great places to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea! And as mentioned above you’ll only be about 10 miles away from Calla Lily Valley. Another option is to stay in Big Sur. It’s just about 15 miles away from the valley. Both Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur are beautiful charming. And if you’re doing a road trip and want to explore both areas you can easily stay in one place then the other for the next day.
Rent a Car
If you’re flying into Northern California and need a rental car check out RentalCars.com for affordable rental cars. Monterey Airport (MRY) is the closest airport but is regional. For the closest international airports check out San Jose (SJC), San Francisco (SFO), or Oakland (OAK).
Distance from airport to valley:
San Jose (SJC) – 1.5-hour drive
San Francisco (SFO) – 2-hour drive
Oakland (OAK) – 2-hour drive
Wondering where else to see wildflowers in California? Check out my post on the best spots for the SuperBloom. Do note that 2021 isn’t the best year for wildflowers as there has not been much rain however many of the SoCal spots still have a beautiful display of wildflowers in the springtime.
Pin for later!