Categories: CampingDestinations

Creating Camping at Big Sur’s Heart of the Wild

This past weekend, a group of Hipcampers made the epic trek (seriously, look up Nacimiento-Fergusson Road) to Big Sur for a weekend of stewardship to prep one of Hipcamp’s first land sharing properties, Heart of the Wild for camping. It’s hard to believe, but true: you have the only swimmable pond in all of Big Sur to yourself, a concert-sized stage for an intimate musical gathering, and a wide-open field to spread out and count the stars of the Milky Way on a clear night. Did we mention the stacked communal kitchen, outhouse with flushing toilet, outdoor shower, and ginormous campfire ring?

Stewardship is just one way in which we’re helping land hosts prep their properties for listing on Hipcamp. So what is stewardship, exactly? We recently interviewed Aaron Mair, 57th president of the Sierra Club who eloquently defined the term better than any definition you’ll find online: “A steward takes from the environment what they need but also holistically works with the environment to replenish it, so it’s left for the next seven generations, and can be shared with the community. Living within and giving back to a place creates this symbiotic relationship.

Hipcamp staff and friends volunteered their time this past weekend—and going forward—this is something that we’re opening up to our community as a perk of being part of the tribe. Free camping with friends at an exclusive property in exchange for getting you hands dirty? Say it with us… AWESOME.

There was organization, cleaning, trail maintenance, creating and much, much s’more. Literally, there was a s’more assembly line Saturday night. We can hardly take credit for all that you’ll discover at Heart of the Wild; it’s Betty’s 42 years of living on the land, and thousands prior to her time that makes this such a special place to visit.

Continue on for the full profile on Betty and her property below, in addition a recap of our rad stewardship weekend.

Meet Betty

Born in New Jersey, then migrating west, Betty has lived at this location since 1973. The mother of three sons, she has had a true pioneer experience in Big Sur, raising food, creating businesses, including a local food distribution service, and doing community work. Betty’s fashion items are well known for their quality and originality.

She works to create wilderness awareness, hosting conscious thought leaders at events on the property. Betty is a speaker, and is the author of a new book, to be released in August, “Prevail”. Betty is a member of the Executive Committee for planning the California Coastal Trail, Big Sur Section. She is a member of the Professional Women’s Network of Monterey. She is the founder of the Monterey and Big Sur Visionary Life network.

About the Heart of the Wild

This land has been a meeting and ceremonial ground for Native American peoples for thousands of years. The food resources are abundant, including acorns, large numbers of deer and other game, and fresh water, so the people who came here to camp lived very well.
The land was homesteaded in the mid-1800s, and became the site of orchard and herd activities. During the 1920s barley was grown and a large sawmill in the bottom of Mill Creek processed redwoods, making it possible for larger numbers to live here. During World War II the people on the coast were ordered to leave, due to fears of a Japanese invasion. Most of them never returned, except to hunt and camp. During the 1960s, people began to return to the land, living in very primitive conditions. In 1975, the property changed hands to its current owners.
During 1970s, a serious homesteading effort began here, with various types of development attempted, including livestock, gardening, and salvage redwood operations using resources left from earlier times, or those which became available due to forest management concerns. Now, there are many fruit-bearing trees, along with a small goat operation.
The land has great potential to create awareness of nature and to bring people to a higher level of consciousness. That is its calling today. The resources that are present can be repurposed for use by conscious people.


Caravanning to Heart of the Wild, making a pit stop at Big Sur Bakery

DETOUR: If you’re coming from the north, stop at Big Sur Bakery to fill up on delicious baked goods, a strong cup of coffee, and a last interaction with civilization before you dip out for the weekend.

Tip: Stopping in Carmel (before Big Sur Bakery) to fill up on gas is a good idea!

To Nacimiento-Fergusson Road we go… 4WD is recommended, but 2WD with good clearance works as well.

Make sure to stop and take in the views.


Main parking area (before)

Main parking area (after)

Communal kitchen (before)

Communal kitchen (after)

The main stage




To each their own tent. Or lack thereof…

Betty & the stewardship crew

Find out more about our land sharing program, and how you can list your land on Hipcamp here. Book a night (or a few!) at Heart of the Wild here.

∆ Hipcamp ∆

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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