Malpaso Creek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Malpaso Creek
Physical characteristics
River mouth Little Malpaso Beach
36°28′53″N 121°56′17″W / 36.481395°N 121.938060°W / 36.481395; -121.938060Coordinates: 36°28′53″N 121°56′17″W / 36.481395°N 121.938060°W / 36.481395; -121.938060
Length 4.25 mi (6.84 km) [1]
Basin features
Progression Malpaso Creek → Pacific Ocean

Malpaso Creek is a small, coastal stream 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Carmel in Monterey County, California, USA. It is generally regarded as the northern border of Big Sur in central coastal California.[2][3]


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.[4][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.[5][6]


The translation of the creek's name, "bad step",[5] or "bad crossing",[4] was based on how difficult it was to cross the abrupt canyon before a bridge was built across it in 1935.[4][dead link]


Located in the Carmel Highlands,[7] immediately south of Yankee Point, Malpaso Creek forms the natural northern boundary of the Big Sur coast.[8]

Beds of coarse sand and conglomerate containing coal occur in Malpaso Creek.[9] The abandoned Malpaso Coal Mine (or Carmelo Coal Mine) is located on the creek's north bank.[10]

Fauna and flora[edit]

The best known locality for Monterey pine is on the Monterey Peninsula, extending south as far as the creek.[11] Local distribution of Pelvetiopsis arborescens occurs in the rocks near the creek,[12] 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.[13] Cucumaria curata has been found in tidepools on exposed rock areas near the creek.[14]

Along the creek's south shore, anglers fish for surfperch and rockfish.[15]

Malpaso Creek Historic Bridge[edit]

At a cost of $24,000, Malpaso Creek Bridge (No. 44-17)[16] was built in 1935 with an open-spandrel concrete arch design, similar to the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, located 8 miles to the south.[17] It is 210 feet (64 m) long and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide.[18]

The bridge is situated 4.5 miles (7.2 km) south of the Carmel River on California State Route 1.[19] 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.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

Actor Clint Eastwood bought five parcels totalling 283 acres (115 ha) along Malpaso Creek during the 1960s. He named his production company Malpaso Productions 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.[21][22]


  1. ^ Google Earth. Accessed 18 April 2017.
  2. ^ Surfer Magazine (21 February 2006). Surfer Magazine's Guide to Northern and Central California Surf Spots. Chronicle Books. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-0-8118-4998-2. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Chatfield, Michael (May 5, 2014). "Big Sur Magic – Carmel Magazine". Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  4. ^ a b c Parr, Barry (1 July 2007). Explore! Big Sur Country: A Guide to Exploring the Coastline, Byways, Mountains, Trails, and Lore. Globe Pequot. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-0-7627-3568-6. Retrieved 13 January 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Clint Eastwood Biography". Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Eliot, Marc (29 September 2009). American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. Random House, Inc. pp. 89–. ISBN 978-0-307-33688-0. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  7. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (19 August 2002). Clint: the life and legend. Macmillan. pp. 162–. ISBN 978-0-312-29032-0. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Norman, Jeff; Big Sur Historical Society (4 October 2004). Big Sur. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-0-7385-2913-4. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  9. ^ California State Mining Bureau; California. Division of Mines and Geology (1921). Bulletin. pp. 84–. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Unknown title". Robinson Jeffers newsletter. Occidental College, Robinson Jeffers Committee (90–100): 57. 1994. 
  11. ^ McClintock, Elizabeth; Turner, Richard G. (April 2001). The trees of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco. Heyday Books. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-1-890771-28-7. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  12. ^ Smith, Gilbert M. (1993). Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula (Second ed.). Stanford University Press. pp. 643–. ISBN 978-0-8047-2628-3. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Hollenberg. Supplement to Smith's Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula. Stanford University Press. pp. 19, 33, 53, 55. ISBN 978-0-8047-4019-7. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  14. ^ Morris, Robert Hugh; Abbott, Donald Putnam; Haderlie, Eugene Clinton (1980). Intertidal invertebrates of California. Stanford University Press. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-0-8047-1045-9. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Parr, p. 148
  16. ^ "District 5, Post Miles for Location Identification". April 19, 1999. p. 3. Retrieved 13 January 2011. [not in citation given]
  17. ^ Emory, Jerry (6 April 1999). The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide. University of California Press. pp. 266–. ISBN 978-0-520-21712-6. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  18. ^ Hanchey, C. (March 6, 2009). "Malpaso Creek Bridge". Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Parr, p. 33
  20. ^ "Corridor Inventory-Executive Summaries". Caltrans District 5. December 2001. p. 4. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  21. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (1999). Clint: the Life and Legend. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0002555289. 
  22. ^ "Clint Eastwood". The Biography Channel. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2008.