We are sad about Highway 1, BUT>>>the good news is you can still get here!
Getting to Heart of the Wild is an adventure in and of itself, so be prepared...things will get dusty! Depending on weather conditions a 4wd vehicle is recommended. Please check with us ahead of time if you're unsure.
Still accessible via Route 101! You can get here by taking the road that goes through Fort Hunter Liggett military reservation. Getting to Heart of the Wild is an adventure in and of itself (think long windy, dusty backroads), but it's well worth it! This huge camp area is perfect for large groups (up to 15) and is at the edge of a large meadow ringed about by mountains.
It's ideal for people who want to enjoy nature and quiet time. If you are looking for a party spot to be loud and get crazy, don't come here. I'm a full time resident for over 44 years and have no interest in hosting people who aren't ready to be mellow, quiet, and respectful of the wild and of my neighbors. Quiet time at night.
There is a large fresh water pond for swimming (the only swimmable pond in the Big Sur area), and redwood groves within walking distance on a loop trail on the property. Basic cooking utensils and dishes are available, with picnic tables and prep tables. Bundled firewood is for sale. Bring drinking water. Be aware that you are required to pack your trash out with you, so leave room for that in your planning. Great mixed oak and madrone firewood is $7 a bundle.
Due to safety considerations, the rope swing is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
- Check in: After 2PM
- Check out: Before 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Moderate
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: None
- Accepts bookings: 12 months out
- Response time: Within 6 hours
- Response rate: 100%
The vibe at Heart of the Wild Group Camp
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
The camp is huge and amazing. Betty was very helpful. :)
The kitchen was almost fully stocked with everything we needed.
Be prepared for the 6 miles of dirt road drive (recommend a 4wd or a truck) and the flies. The flies disappear once it gets dark.
Overall it was great, I would come back. The host is really nice and friendly, she gave us peaches and plums from her garden, it seems like a full working farm. It’s clean, with strong amenities - a full blown kitchen and working toilet. The site is in relatively close proximity to the owner’s house.
Heart of the Wild is all about seclusion, privacy, silence, shooting stars, redwoods, sunsets on the ocean, and goats. A music festival that hosted up to 400 people was used to take place there for a few years. And you'll have this large meadow for yourselves, as well as the old stage, which is pretty good to pitch a tent on!
The pond is at 3 minutes walking down the hill. There is also a nice 2-hour hike through the forest that you can do from the property. Thank you, Betty, we had a blast!
We had a really amazing long weekend at Heart of the Wild camp! Betty responded immediately after booking and met us upon arrival to her property to explain a few things. The space itself is perfect for a big group as no one else is around and you have so much room to have fun. The spring fed pond/lake was awesome and we brought plenty of floats to beat the midday heat and is a 2 min walk downhill. Other things we did were play bocce through the goat field, have some epic volleyball matches at the court down the road (bring plenty of beers in the cooler as it's a bit of a walk back to camp), set up badminton, and horseshoes in her pit. The camp kitchen has some cookware and utensils but we brought our own grill to cook breakfast and BBQ'd directly on the large fire pit both nights. Also, there is literally nothing but her house around the area so the stars on a clear night are unbelievable!
Some things to note: coming from HWY 1, the winding paved road takes 30-45mins on its own and then you drive on a rutted, dusty dirt road for another 30 minutes. We had 3 trucks and 3 cars do the trip and it was definitely not the easiest in the cars....like you might-get-stuck-up-there not easy. Additionally, this time of year the bugs were pretty awful. We had one person count 65 bug bites on her body the day after we got back and that was with plenty of bug spray, citronella, and a huge fire! Most of the property gets hit with the rising sun and has no morning shade so you will be up right at the crack of dawn, if not before by the goats that yell early. Another pain point was having to pack our own trash out for $300 per night as a group of 15 creates a lot of bulky recycling/waste.
Other than those quirks, it is an absolutely amazing place with space to breathe and fun to be had. Don't expect to the pace of life to move quickly and do not miss the stunning sunsets from in front of Betty's house! I'd definitely go again but would probably not return without a 4x4 truck or SUV.