With a name derived from "el sur grande" - meaning "the big
south" - the sublime Big Sur coastline runs for 90 untamed miles
from just south of Monterey down into San Luis Obispo
County. The landscape in this famous region is notoriously wild;
the beaches rise dramatically into the San Lucia Mountains, which
are some of the tallest coastal mountains in all of North America.
As a result, for many years, even in the first few decades of the
20th century, the Big Sur region was as undeveloped and
inaccessible as any remote part of the United States. Most of the
area's relatively sparse population lived without electricity until
connections to the main Californian grid were established.
In a bid to improve accessibility a Highway along the Big Sur
was proposed. After many years of work the road was opened in June
1937. Using 33 bridges to overcome the coastline's natural
obstacles, the road was deemed a huge success. Owing to the
beautiful Santa Lucia Mountain range, Big Sur is still lightly
populated. Even though tourism to the area has increased, the
region has changed very little for centuries. As such, many rare
and endangered plants, including varieties of wild orchids, still
survive here - which is another reason why the Big Sur is
celebrated by so many.