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California's Highway One to Fully Reopen Today

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 7/18/2018 Erin Florio
a bridge over water with a mountain in the background © Getty

Summer road trippers, rejoice.

Repairs on California's State Highway One—closed for months due to winter storms and mudslides in the Big Sur region—are finished two months ahead of schedule. Though the official ribbon won't be cut until Friday, the final stretch at Mud Creek will reopen today at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

That means road trippers and residents alike will be able to drive direct along the 100-mile stretch between Cambria and Carmel for the first time in 18 months. Travelers had already regained access to the northern stretch of the iconic coastal highway, where you can stop for that Instagram pic of Bixby Bridge and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but much of the epic Pacific scenery around Cambria was still off limits. Before today's opening, drivers had to detour up to three hours inland to reach some of the coast's more popular destinations. Hearst Castle visitor numbers were said to have dropped by 15 percent due to the closures; the castle has already announced additional tours and guides in anticipation of the highway coming back online.

Local hotels, including the Condé Nast Traveler Readers 'Choice Award favorite Post Ranch Inn, had begun helicoptering guests in to minimize the impact the closure had on business.

Opening ahead of schedule during the peak summer season is sure to inject a ton of travel dollars into the area, and Cambria Chamber President Mel McColloch reportedly urged the region to “be prepared for an influx of tourists in the coming weeks.” The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which invested $54 million in repairs to the highway, credits mild winter weather in pulling the opening date forward. Thanks for co-operating, winter.

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