Oh Bixby!

Let’s talk bridges (not a sentence I’ve ever used before but one that I may use again because more and more, I’m really learning to appreciate the beauty of a good bridge).

Now I don’t mean those bridges where you forgive people and then all is well and I’m not thinking the card game bridge, mainly because our Yiayia thought I was too chatty and my concentration too lacking to deal me into any card game.

I’m talking actual physical bridges. I’m talking Bixby.  The Bixby Creek Bridge to be precise, which I’ve always mistakenly thought of as the Bixby Canyon Bridge, I think because of the Death Cab song.

When embarking on a Highway 1 road trip, there are so many beautiful and unexpected surprises, but Bixby is something you’re waiting for, a sight you’re anticipating and even in a way, something you expect will feel a little familiar, because you’ve seen it so many times in photos.

That said, seeing Bixby in real life is an altogether incredible experience. Because this isn’t just any bridge, nor is it just a lovely coastal bridge with water views.   This is a Highway 1 bridge, this is a Big Sur views-everywhere-you-look-bridge.  I think this might just be the prettiest spot for a bridge on earth.

And what a bridge it is.  As one of the tallest single span concrete arch bridges in the world, Bixby sits over 260 feet high, towering above a deep ‘v’ shaped canyon, with crashing waves below.

Now can we just talk for a moment about the use of concrete in architecture, because I am a fan.

When well executed, whether it be brutalist architecture in general or just concrete itself as a material, the results can be powerful, raw, unpretentious and inspiring, all at the same time.  I think it works especially well in naturally beautiful settings and Bixby is the truly the perfect example.

Here’s another incredible Big Sur concrete bridge to keep your eye out for, the Big Creek Bridge. Featuring two arches, this bridge is also on Highway 1, closer to the ‘Lucia’ area.


How’s that for a dramatic setting

These bridges are about more than just function. They are graceful and commanding. Their design as spectacular as their setting.

On your Highway 1 road trip, pull over and take a moment to soak in all the beauty.

Trip Notes:

  • You’ll find the Bixby Creek Bridge at the northern end of Big Sur. If you’re driving up from LA, this is just as you’re leaving the Big Sur coast for Monterey County.


  • At Bixby, whatever you do, DO NOT DECEND THE DUSTY GRAVEL RIDGE.  You will likely fall and possibly die and that’s not ideal at all – San Francisco is only a few hours away and the food in the Mission District, I tell you  – you don’t want to miss it.


  • Visit California has some great tips for the best places to stop and take photos of the Bridge.

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