For those of you planning to take Highway 1 from San Francisco to LA (or visa versa), you probably already know right now is not the best time to do it. Because of the devastating wildfires, the highway is closed to all traffic in some of the most picturesque areas, such as Big Sur.
I just completed the drive and here is what I found.
You can take Highway 1 from San Francisco all the way to Carmel without a problem. In fact, we didn't see or smell any fires in that area. We actually took extra time to drive the 17-mile Pebble Beach loop that, roughly speaking, connects Monterrey and Carmel "the long way". You pay $10 to drive the loop, but since such a big portion of Highway 1 is closed, it is money well spent. It is a beautiful piece of the country.
From Carmel, it gets tricky. We had to cut across to Highway 101 and take it all the way to San Louis Obispo. Soon after SLO, the highway starts hugging the coast again. You can get back on Highway 1. Far south around Santa Barbara, we saw the most dramatic wildfires. It looked like the mountains were spewing smoke (which they were). All the roads, however, remain open in that area.
If you can postpone the road trip, I would definitely postpone in order not to miss Big Sur. If you, however, are ready to go, you can still make the most of it.
(Picture taken on Mulholland Drive, somewhere in the Hollywood Hills, yesterday. Firefighters were busy putting out fires around the greater LA area. The air definitely smells of smoke up there.)