|Etymology||Spanish: mal (bad) + paso (pass or step)|
|Little Malpaso Beach|
|Length||4.25 mi (6.84 km) |
|Progression||Malpaso Creek → Pacific Ocean|
Malpaso Creek is a small, coastal stream 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Carmel in Monterey County, California, United States. It is generally regarded as the northern border of Big Sur in central coastal California.
The creek and its canyon also defines the northern border of Garrapata State Park. The mouth of the creek is located at Little Malpaso Beach where there is a small white sandy beach, tide pools, and a narrow cave.[dead link] The American film actor, director, and producer Clint Eastwood has spent much of his life in this area and named his film company Malpaso Productions after the creek to the north of his 200-acre property on the former Victorine Ranch.
The creek was named by the United States Coast Survey from the hand-drawn diseño of Rancho San Jose y Sur Chiquito. The translation of the creek's name, "bad step", or "bad crossing", was based on how difficult it was to cross the abrupt canyon before a bridge was built across it in 1935.[dead link]
Fauna and flora
The creek was formerly the southern limit of fast-growing Monterey pine before the species was planted widely. Local distribution of Pelvetiopsis arborescens occurs in the rocks near the creek, as does Rhodophysema elegans var. polystromatica. Callophyllis linearis occurs on rocks north of the creek, Gloiopeltis furcata and Callophyllis crenulata occur near the creek, Dictyota binghamiae occurs at the 1 foot (0.30 m) tide level near the creek, and Fucus distichus subspecies edentatus f. abbreviatus occurs in the creek's exposed areas. Cucumaria curata has been found in tidepools on exposed rock areas near the creek.
Highway 1 bridge
At a cost of $24,000, Malpaso Creek Bridge (No. 44-17) was built in 1935 with an open-spandrel concrete arch design, similar to the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, located 8 miles to the south. It is 210 feet (64 m) long and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide.
The bridge is situated 4.5 miles (7.2 km) south of the Carmel River on California State Route 1. Along with six other Monterey County bridges on Highway 1, Malpaso Creek Bridge has been determined to be National Register of Historical Places eligible. As a group, they are referred to as the Big Sur Arches, and may be the best works example of the California Division of Highways' Bridge Department.
In popular culture
Actor Clint Eastwood bought five parcels totaling 283 acres (115 ha) on the south side of Malpaso Creek during the 1960s. He named his production company The Malpaso Company after the location. The company was established in 1967 by Eastwood's financial adviser Irving Leonard for the film Hang 'Em High, using profits from the Dollars Trilogy. He later bought more land until he owned 650 acres (260 ha). The land stretched from the eastern side of Highway 1 to the coastal ridge. In 1995, Monterey County bought the land from him for $3.08 million, despite the fact that in July 1994 the county assessor showed the land's assessed value as only $308,682. The county put a permanent conservation easement on the Malpaso property.
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