Nacimiento-Fergusson Road junction with Highway 1 at Kirk Creek Bridge
|Maintained by||Monterey County, California|
|Length||24.5 mi (39.4 km)|
|West end||SR 1 along the Big Sur coast|
|East end||Mission Road in Jolon|
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is the only road across the Santa Lucia Range in the Central Coast of California, connecting California State Route 1 and the Big Sur coast to U.S. Route 101 and the Salinas Valley. The road is well-paved and maintained over its length, but is winding and has precipitous drops. It is widely regarded as one of the best motorcycling roads in central California due to its ocean views and forest setting.
During the late 19th century, settlers on the coast of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains had a difficult time transporting cattle to the Central Valley over poor mountain trails. The only trail across the mountains was the route currently followed by the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. The trail was enlarged into a road beginning in 1931, and completed in 1937. The road was constructed by crews composed of men from the Civilian Conservation Corp, U.S. Forest Service, and state and county relief agencies.:60
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road connects California State Route 1 at the south end of the Kirk Creek Bridge with Jolon 24.5 miles (39.4 km) to the east. It is the only route across the Santa Lucia Mountains between Monterey and Cambria in northern San Luis Obispo County where California State Route 46 connects California State Route 1 to U.S. Route 101 in Paso Robles at the southern end of the Salinas Valley.
The western terminus is located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Lucia and 35 miles (56 km) north of Hearst Castle. Climbing up the steep flanks of the mountains, the western part of the road near the coast has more than 100 turns before it reaches the summit 7 miles (11 km) from the coast at an altitude of 2,780 feet (850 m), where it crosses the unpaved Old Coast Road.
From the summit, the road descends through hillside chaparral and dense oak groves on the eastern side of the ridge, which offer few views, and passes through the U.S. Army's Fort Hunter Liggett. Because the road passes through sections of Fort Hunter Liggett Army Base, you may need to show valid car registration and proof of insurance. The road is steep, winding, sometimes only wide enough for one vehicle, and has precipitous drops at almost every turn unprotected by guard rails.
At the eastern end, drivers can access the road via either from the north on Jolon Road on U.S. Route 101 near King City, or from the south on Jolon Road at U.S. Route 101 near Bradley. The road is closed occasionally during tank, artillery, and other firing exercises on the surrounding Fort Hunter Liggett.
Two campgrounds along the road, Nacimiento Campground and Ponderosa Campground, are situated on the eastern slope of the Santa Lucia range within Los Padres National Forest. The Nacimiento Campground, nestled beneath Douglas fir trees alongside the Nacimiento River, is adjacent to Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and provides less privacy. Ponderosa Campground, known on some maps as "Camp Nacimiento", provides a private setting within a valley off the main road along the Negro Fork of the Nacimiento River.
Due to the history of wildfires in the area, campfires are only permitted in established campgrounds. It is illegal to camp in other locations, such as road side pullouts. Illegal camping or campfires can result in a $5,000 fine.
- Bisbort, Alan; Puterbaugh, Parke (2009), Moon California Beaches: The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay (4th ed.), Avalon Travel, p. 305, ISBN 978-1-56691-614-1; Schulte-Peevers, Andrea (2003), California (3rd ed.), Lonely Planet, p. 665, ISBN 978-1-86450-331-9
- "Nacimiento-Fergusson Road". dangerousroads. Archived from the original on 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- Blakley, E.R. “Jim” and Karen Barnette Historical Overview of the Los Padres National Forest July 1985
- Kirk Creek Bridge is at Post Mile 18.91, i.e., 18.91 road miles north of the Monterey County line.
- "Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and Mission San Antonio de Padua". Archived from the original on 2019-09-27. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
- "Nacimiento-Fergusson Road". Archived from the original on 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
- Up in Smoke The Raging History of Wildfires in Big Sur
- Los Padres Prohibits Camping Along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road