Coyote Flat

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Rating: C

Coyote Flat remains a remote, seldom disturbed oasis of skinny-dippers, even though rangers frown on nude activity in the rest of the state property.In fact, because it's easy to reach by hiking, many locals think of it as one of the best places to cool off on hot summer days."A lot of people go there, and they do sometimes go naked," says a visitor.

Legal status:

Part of Andrew Molera State Beach, where rangers discourage clothing-optional sunbathing. However, nobody in recent memory has been cited here.

How to find it:

From the main state beach parking lot (see above), cross the river to its west side and look for River Trail. Follow River Trail unit it ends at Big Sur River. The hole is at the end of the path. For more information, see Hiking The Big Sur Country: The Ventana Wilderness by Jeffrey Schaffer (Wilderness Press, 1988).

The beach:

Best time to visit this six-foot-deep swimming hole with a little beach on the Big Sur River is midday. In the morning and late afternoon, there's less sun, due to the surrounding foliage.

The crowd:

"Even though it's popular, at any given time you won't see more than a few people there," says a visitor.

Problems:

Threat of law enforcement; too shady and cool for much use in spring or fall; hole visible to occasional (but rare) visits by horseback riders on River Trail.

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