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Iconic Bixby Bridge on California's Pacific Coast Highway

Updated: 2 days ago


Bixby Creek Bridge in California - Pacific scenic drive

Bixby Bridge, also known as Bixby Creek Bridge, is a stunning landmark on California's iconic Pacific Coast Highway 1. This picturesque bridge has become a must-see for tourists and locals alike, with its breathtaking views and rich history.


But did you know that Bixby Bridge, PCH Bridge, is also home to a thriving wine industry? In this article, we will explore the history of Bixby Bridge and its connection to the world of wine.



PCH Bridge History and Engineering Marvel


Bixby Bridge was built in 1932 and was considered a marvel of engineering at the time. It spans 714 feet and stands 260 feet above the Bixby Creek. It remains one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.


The bridge was designed by engineer C.H. Purcell and was built by the American Bridge Company. It was named after Charles Henry Bixby, a pioneer in the Big Sur area who owned a ranch near the bridge's location.


Before the bridge opened in 1932, the Big Sur area was cut off from the rest of the country during the winter due to the often-impoverished Old Coast Road, which ran 11 miles inland and took three days to cross.


It was built for $199,886, and was the longest single-span concrete arch bridge the state highway system. Bixby Creek Bridge is the bridge’s full name. It is also sometimes referred to as the Bixby Canyon bridge.


Bixby Bridge Facts:

  • It is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge in Big Sur, California, along State Route 1.

  • The bridge spans 714 feet (218 m) and is 24 feet (7.3 m) wide. It offers a clearance of 260 feet (79 m) below and features a main span of 360 feet (110 m).

  • Construction began on August 24, 1931, and was completed on October 15, 1932, opening to traffic on November 27, 1932.

  • It cost about $200,000 to build, representing over $3 million today.

  • At the time of its construction, it was the longest single-span concrete arch bridge in California and one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.

  • The Big Sur area was cut off from the rest of the country during the winter due to the often-impoverished Old Coast Road, nearly impassable.

  • It is one of the most photographed and famous bridges in California due to its aesthetic design, elegant architecture, and magnificence.

  • Around 4,500 vehicles cross the bridge daily.


Bixby Creek Bridge Wine


Bixby Bridge creek wine: Cabernet Sauvignon

The Bixby Bridge area is known for its ideal climate and soil conditions for growing grapes. A prime location for wineries. The nearby Carmel Valley is home to several award-winning wineries, including Bixby Creek Bridge Winery. 


This family-owned winery produces red wines, including their well-known Bixby Creek Bridge Red Wine. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes. It creates a bold and complex flavor that pairs perfectly with the stunning views of the Bridge.


Wine Tasting at Bixby Bridge


Bixby Creek Bridge Winery offers a unique wine-tasting experience. The tasting room is just a short drive from the bridge itself. Enjoy a flight of their award-winning wines while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. The winery also offers tours of its vineyards and production facilities. 


Taste the Bixby Creek Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon: ripe, rich, and opulent! Or buy a bottle for US34! For wine lovers, drive north to Napa and Sonoma Valley!


PCH Bridge: A Must-See Destination


PCH bridge - pacific coast highway scenic drive

The bridge has become an iconic destination for travelers along the scenic Highway 1, and for good reason.


Its stunning architecture and picturesque location make it a must-see for anyone on a Coast of California road trip!


Some might argue that the views along the 42 bridges on Overseas Highway to Key West in Florida are more spectacular. Let me know which one you choose!


But with the addition of Bixby Bridge Winery, it has become an even more enticing destination for wine lovers. Whether you're a local looking for a weekend getaway or a tourist exploring the California coast, the Bixby Bridge is a must-visit destination.


PCH Scenic Route


No trip along Highway 1 is complete without stopping to admire the breathtaking panorama from Bixby Bridge. The bridge offers unparalleled views of the rugged coastline. The vast expanse of the blue water stretches towards the horizon!


The dramatic cliffs and lush greenery create a truly stunning picture.  Bixby Bridge serves as a spectacular viewpoint, under a bright sun or dramatic interplay of clouds and fog, Bixby Bridge guarantees a scenic vista.


Tips for Driving on the Bridge


Bixby Bridge Location: Monterey to Bixby Bridge
  • Where is the Bixby Creek Located? The bridge is 10 miles north of Big Sur and 30 miles south Monterey

  • Always drive with caution, and don't forget to buckle up! One can never predict the risks that may arise.

  • It is hard, but stay focused on the road! To appreciate the view, use the allocated turn-outs only when space is available. Or, have someone else drive for you!

  • Keep your velocity and adhere to the displayed speed limit of 55 MPH unless indicated otherwise. Vehicles moving at slower speeds should make way.

  • Bixby Bridge Vista point: keep going towards the north side, where there’s a paved spot where you can easily stop and take great pictures.

  • Best time is at sunset, but prepare for heavy traffic and no parking availability.

  • When pulling over refrain from abrupt halts on the gravelly turn-outs and roadsides.

  • Look out for cyclists.


Nearby Gems Along Highway 1:


While Bixby Bridge steals the show, Highway 1 offers a treasure trove of sights to explore. Just south lies Julia Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where McWay Falls tumbles dramatically onto a secluded beach.


Further down the road, Nepenthe beckons with its iconic oceanfront restaurant and panoramic views. For a dose of history, head north to Hearst Castle, a sprawling mansion perched on the cliffs with stunning ocean vistas.


No matter your interests, Highway 1 boasts a wealth of nearby attractions that complement your visit to the magnificent Bixby Bridge.


Conclusion


Pacific Coast Highway Bridge is more than just a bridge! It's a symbol of California's beauty and a testament to human engineering. With the addition of Bixby Bridge Winery, it has become a destination for wine enthusiasts. 


For movie fans, the bridge was on the big screen and recently, in the opening credits of Big Little Lies. 


When planning a scenic drive along Pacific Highway 1, stop at Bixby Bridge. You will experience the best of both worlds – stunning views and delicious wine.


Have you visited this famous bridge on HW1: Bixby Bridge or tried Bixby Bridge wine? Let us know in the comments below.

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