Lucia, Big Sur

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Lucia, Big Sur

by | Dec 17, 2020

Lucia is a small community in Monterey County located 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Lopez Point, and 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Rockland Landing at an elevation of 354 feet (108 m), about 43 miles (69 km) south-southeast of Monterey, California. Lucia is one of three small roadside settlements with restaurants and motels. The other two are Gorda and Plaskett, and all are located along State Route 1 at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Big Sur coast.

The Santa Lucia Mountains or Santa Lucia Range is a rugged mountain range in coastal central California, extending southeast from Carmel for 140 miles (230 km) to the Cuyama River in San Luis Obispo County. The range is never more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast and forms the steepest coastal slope in the contiguous United States. Cone Peak at 5,158 feet (1,572 m) tall and three miles (5 km) from the coast, is the highest peak in proximity to the ocean in the lower 48 United States. The range was a barrier to exploring the coast of central California for early Spanish explorers. 

The first European to document the Santa Lucias was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 while sailing northward along the coast on a Spanish naval expedition. Cabrillo originally named the southern portion of the range the Sierras de San Martín, as he was passing the area on 11 November, the feast day for Saint Martin. He named the northern part Sierras Nevadas because there was snow on it. The present name for the range was documented in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno, who had been tasked by the Spanish to complete a detailed chart of the coast. Passing by the range on 14 December, he named the range Sierra de Santa Lucia in honor of Saint Lucy of Syracuse. Read more here and here. Explore more of Lucia here:

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