The endangered condor can be spotted in the wilds of Big Sur. (Courtesy of @ventanawildlifesociety)

Wild Road Trip: Where to Spot the Coolest Creatures Along Highway 1


One of the world's most famous drives is back now that Highway 1 has at last reopened around Big Sur after closure due to the 2017 mudslides that transformed the coast.

If you're in a hurry to get somewhere, you'll want to drive the 101, but for those wishing to stop and smell the roses—or rather, to see the wildlife—there's nothing that compares to this coastal sojourn. Here's where to pull over and sight some of Northern California's most awesome creatures.

Monarch Butterflies in Pacific Grove

Monarch butterflies make their way to the Central Coast in the fall and winter to cluster in the cypress, eucalyptus, and pine trees, and thousands of them come together at the Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. They hang together in the trees for warmth, but if the temperature gets above the mid-'60s, the clusters will break apart and the butterflies will search for food. (There's also another spot in Santa Cruz at Natural Bridges State Park that the butterflies like.)

While you're there, Lover's Point Park is a great place for scuba diving, picnicking, and getting a full view of Monterey Bay. Wondering where to stay and eat? Check out our guide to the Monterey Peninsula.


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