Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway runs along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a portion of State Route 1 (SR 1) running along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. It is also part of the larger Pacific Coastal Highway that extends along the Pacific coast of the entire Americas. It’s heralded as one of the most scenic drives in USA.

This asphalted state highway runs along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. It's very intense because there are no guard rails at the edge and there is little room for error if on coming traffic swerves in your direction. Also called Highway 1, it takes about five hours to drive the PCH. The highway sees the most traffic in July and August. Avoid these times if you want to take a leisurely drive. In the winter seasons, drivers must be aware of danger from mudslides as well. Always check local advisories before embarking on your journey. The road often takes hairpin turns with narrow shoulders and steep drop-offs, so you must be alert at all times. Don't forget to pull over in safe places to really enjoy the vista. If you're hurt in an accident the PCH, then make sure you get help from car accident lawyer familiar with California law.

Pacific Coast Highway is a dangerous road?

The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience. It's advised to drive this trip outside the regular holiday season and especially not during weekends to avoid those snails-on-wheels. Because gazing at the views while driving is not a good combination, the highway features many strategically placed vista points allowing motorists to stop and admire the landscape. Traveling above waves crashing into windswept cliffs, over dramatic bridges anchored in rugged outposts, the spectacular drive that hugs the California coast is a journey like no other. It’s kind of dangerous because while the views get better and better, the road takes sharper and sharper turns with it. And travelers who are driving slowly or have stopped entirely, directly on the highway, to admire the view can pose hazards to other drivers. It’s a road to avoid if heights are an issue. The drive is known for its stunning coastal views and steep drop-offs from the California cliffs into the ocean. The winding two-lane highway also traverses numerous bridges, including the Bixby Bridge, which soars 280 feet above the Bixby Creek Gorge in Big Sur.

The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Drive north to south if you're able to choose. That way you're on the coast side of the highway, which means better views, and it's much easier to pull off into the best viewpoints. Allow plenty of time. There are lots of viewpoints, official and unofficial. The Pacific Coast Highway is a state of mind. It’s one of the most beautiful road trip drives in the United States, so do as much of it as you can in the time you've got available. There are some great beaches and seaside towns that require you to get off the highway and explore them. Likewise there are some state parks and gorgeous areas. Don't run out of gas. They tend to get less frequent the further north you go. Even in one of the most famous and most beautiful stretches of the road, Big Sur, gas stations are pretty spread out. Don't take chances. 

Where does the Pacific Coast Highway start and end?

The road encompasses miles of stunning views. The drive is definitely worth it. As you drive along the PCH, make time for stops. You'll pass through Big Sur, with its majestic redwoods. In Monterey Bay, lucky visitors will get a peek at sea otters playing in the water. The PCH also winds through wine country, including Sonoma County. The PCH begins in Southern California at Interstate 5 south of San Juan Capistrano, and it ends at U.S. 101 in Leggett in Mendocino County. Highway 1 construction began in 1919. 

How long does it take to drive the Pacific Coast Highway?

The drive hugs one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. So it can get crowded. Travelers flock from around the globe and the busiest months are July and August. Starting from northern California and stretching all the way down to San Diego the route takes round ten hours to complete at a leisurely pace with no stops. Drive at moderate speed. You’re not on a race.  The drive, especially on sunny days, is a privilege, with wild beauty, small town charm, and big city sights. Along the way you can have a look at some of America's most dramatic coastal vistas.