Big Sur Bar Review: Delicious, Fresh, Trail-friendly Energy Bars

Big Sur Bars: big, fresh flavor in a delicious, small package. They’re my by-far favorite energy bar when I’m hiking and backpacking.

My love of Big Sur Bars began on a three-week California hiking and backpacking adventure. Big Sur Bars are available throughout California at outdoor outfitters and markets, including their namesake city, Big Sur.

The Big Sur coastline is one of my favorites in the US. Towering bluffs studded with massive, ancient sequoia trees meet tumbling ocean on Big Sur’s wild, remote, jaw-droppingly beautiful coastline. These trail bars sync well with Big Sur’s naturally beautiful setting: the bars pack big-flavor deliousness into an all-natural, trail-friendly package with no preservatives.

Big Sur Bar Review: my favorite trail energy bars for the hiking and backpacking trail

Big Sur Bars hail from the stunning, rugged Big Sur coastline in California

Big Sur Bars: Big Flavor

Big Sur Bars contain no additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives. I love that an energy bar this tasty is missing a bunch of Twinkie-like preservatives. They also contain no sulfites, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and no GMO ingredients. Sweet.

The flavor? Big, and fresh-baked. And a good balance between chewy and crunchy. The bars taste homemade, like a flavor-packed bar from a high-end bakery. They’re sweet, but not too sweet: they taste like a fresh cookie blended with fresh trail mix with a touch of honey.

The calories? Pretty dense. A single bar contains around 600 calories packed into a 5 ounce bar. They’re perfect for the trail – they’re tasty, small and calorie-dense, making it quite enjoyable to refuel during a long hike.

Hiking gear review: Big Sur Bars

Big Sur Bars: The Breakdown

Big Sur Bars’ three flavors, The Original, The White Zest, and The Blind Date, are all pretty incredibly delicious. My favorite? Blind Date. But I love to pack all three for some variety on the trail.

A word of caution before trying these bars: once you’ve tasted them, be prepared to be really, really disappointed by most other trail bars out there.

Big Sur Bar Review: The Original

The Original

A chewy oatmeal cookie with toppings galore. Chocolate chips mix with pecans, raisins, coconut and almonds to top off the bar. It’s nutty and sweet, but not too sweet.

Big Sur Bar Review: The White Zest

The White Zest

Refreshing. It’s The Original with white chocolate and some orange zest for a citrusy zing. I find The White Zest a little sweeter than the other flavors, so I usually save this one for a post-hike reward. The White Zest is also great for breakfast and pairs perfectly with a cup of hot coffee at a campsite.

Big Sur Bar Review: The Blind Date

The Blind Date

In a single word: yum. It’s an oatmeal cookie topped with dates and a nutty mix of pecans, almonds, coconut and sunflower seeds. Taste-wise, it’s my favorite bar of the three – and without the chocolate, The Blind Date seems to hold up better in my backpack on a sweltering Georgia summer day. It’s a great mid-hike snack, breakfast bar, or post-hike refuel bar. The Blind Date is so delicious, it’s pretty hard to forget they’re in my fridge – but at 600 calories per bar, I try hard to save them for the trail. (It’s really tough. They’re really tempting and really delicious.)

So Where Can I Get Them?


While we were provided with sample Big Sur Bars to test, all opinions above are our own, and based on our own, trail-tested experience.

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Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.