OverviewTwin Peak is a beautiful mountain on the Big Sur coast of California that is often overlooked for it's lofty and more rugged (and also more accessible and visited) neighbor, Cone Peak. It is less than 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean and affords isolation and dramatic 360 degree views of the Big Sur coastline and the Santa Lucia Mountains. It is surrounded by deep, rugged canyons of Limekiln Creek and is *only* accessible via a scramble across a saddle from Cone Peak or from a fire break from the south.
Getting ThereHighway 1 to the Twitchell Flat Usetrail trailhead or Limekiln State Park.
RouteFrom the East: drop down from the Fire Lookout on the summit of Cone Peak and take the obvious saddle West over to Twin Peak. Directions to Cone Peak here.
Excellent maps of the various trail options can be found here.
Red TapeTwin Peak is located in Los Padres National Forest and is technically outside of Ventana Wilderness.
When to ClimbMost of the year. If approaching via Cone Peak & the Coast Ridge Road, the road will be closed during the rainy season (November to May). Highway 1 is occasionally closed in winter or spring due to landslides, so check conditions before you go.
Santa Lucia Range is very dry and hot in early fall (September - October) and there is significant fire hazard. Spring and early summer are the best times to visit. The peak rises high above the fog layer so the view is majestic even on foggy days.
CampingBack country: Back country camping in Ventana Wilderness does not require a permit. Developed backcountry campsites are recommended because availability of water can be uncertain elsewhere. From Limekiln Creek south for about 15 miles the coastal area along Highway 1 is part of Los Padres National Forest (there are signs on the highway), where you can camp for free on beautiful perches 300 feet over the ocean, or in redwood groves. This area has very steep terrain so there aren't many suitable spots, yet it's warm even in the middle of winter.
Campgrounds: There are fee campgrounds along Highway 1, with Kirk Creek and Limekiln campgrounds are closest to Cone Peak. There are also campgrounds on the Nacimiento Fergusson Road just east of the Coast Ridge Road. They are open in the winter months, do not require reservations, and are both by a running creek.
About 15 miles north in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park there are two environmental campsites (walk-in access ~500 feet; fee) perched on top of spectacular cliffs; these are frequently booked on summer weekends. These are the most beautiful camp sites I have ever seen, a few steps away from the spectacular McWay waterfall which free-falls 60 feet onto the beach in beautiful McWay Cove.
Motel: You can also stay in the resort town of Lucia (just a motel and gas station, perched on spectacular cliffs over the ocean).