There is a new island off the Central Coast of California—but it won’t be around forever. A series of landslides have left a breathtaking stretch of the state’s iconic Pacific Coast Highway almost completely cut off from mainland California, forming what locals are calling “Big Sur Island.” Not one to be deterred by natural disasters, local outfitter Big Sur Adventures is making the best of the unfortunate situation with a new experience that gives travelers the rare opportunity to explore the temporary archipelago via e-bike.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience leads guests along Big Sur’s famous—and, for now, deserted—stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Riders begin at Big Sur Adventures’ headquarters in Loma Vista and ride roughly 10 miles south along the typically traffic-laden highway, taking in the striking seaside cliffs without a single car present. Once they reach the stunning 80-foot-tall waterfalls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns, guests will turn around and ride back up the empty coast. The journey is ideal for all riding levels, and the e-bikes conveniently aid with the route’s few uphill stretches.
After an adventurous day on two wheels, travelers can opt for a stay at the 110-year-old La Playa Carmel. The 75-room hotel was originally a private estate for a member of the Ghirardelli family, and fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk are still served nightly—the perfect post-ride treat. Travelers can also stay at the boutique Hotel Carmel, which completed extensive renovations to its 27 rustic-chic rooms last summer.