Sykes Hot Springs in Big Sur is my favorite backpacking destination! This almost 22 mile round trip hike isn’t as grueling as it sounds. With a perfect halfway lunch break spot at a river, it’s really quite pleasant and very beautiful. It definitely helps to have the right shoes and backpack though.
The ups and downs of the hike are probably a little worse on the way there than on the way back. The last half mile is always tough, besides being the last out of 11 miles, it’s also sunny and steep. All of that hard work makes it so much more rewarding when you make it back to the campsites, the river, and the hot springs!