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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Hike, camp or picnic among the redwood trees, waterfalls and dramatic coastal cliffs that have inspired artists, poets and writers for the past century. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a 1,000-acre (400-hectare) State Park on the California coast. The area takes its name from John Pfeiffer, whose family were European settlers in the 19th century. Perfect for hiking, camping and swimming, this park features stunning views across the Big Sur Valley, the Big Sur River Gorge and the Pacific Ocean. You’ll see a wide variety of large-tree species, including redwoods, oaks, sycamores and maples. Also, keep an eye out for the wildlife, including black-tailed deer, raccoons, skunks and varied birdlife.

The best way to experience the park is on foot so that you don’t miss anything. Explore the three-mile (five-kilometer) Valley View Trail, which takes in Pfeiffer Falls, the park’s 60-foot (18-meter) waterfall. The trail is a bit steep in parts, rising 200 feet (60 meters), offering stunning views over the falls and the park’s many creeks and redwoods. More experienced hikers can try the 4.5-mile (seven-kilometer) Ewoldsen Trail, at the nearby Julie Pfeiffer Burns Park, which is steeper and more strenuous in parts. Don’t miss McWay Falls, which tumble straight from the cliffside onto the beach. The beach itself is off-limits, but for spectacular year-round views, check out the overlook near the parking lot.

In summer, swim in the Big Sur River, which runs through the park and empties into the Pacific Ocean. Pitch your tent on the park’s campsites situated at picturesque spots along the riverbanks. The park offers an information center, kiosk, restrooms, showers and a laundry. The Big Sur Lodge offers motel-style accommodation and a restaurant. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park borders the Ventana Wilderness area, an additional 320 miles (515 kilometers) of hiking trails. The area is just inland from the California coast, 28 miles (42 kilometers) south of Carmel. Driving is the best way to get here, and there are also some coastal bus tours from travel agencies in Monterey. The park opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes after sunset. Bring a picnic or snacks as food options are limited to a café and grocery store at the Big Sur Lodge.


Guide to Exploring Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park


Top Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Hotel Deals

See all 1,032 Properties near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Big Sur Lodge RM1,034
Big Sur Lodge

Big Sur Lodge

     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated near the beach, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Big Sur Station and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Big Sur Spirit Garden and Andrew Molera State Park are also within 3 miles (5 km).

    Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only RM5,714
    Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only

    Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only

       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated by the ocean, this luxury resort is within 1 mile (2 km) of Big Sur Spirit Garden and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Big Sur Station is 2 mi (3.2 km) away.

      Blue Sky Lodge RM445
      Blue Sky Lodge

      Blue Sky Lodge

         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in the mountains, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Talbotts Vineyards are also within 10 minutes.

        Contenta Inn RM494
        Contenta Inn

        Contenta Inn

           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in the shopping district, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Talbotts Vineyards are also within 10 minutes.

          LX3 Renaissance Carmel Valley Villa With Pool AND HOT TUB
          LX3 Renaissance Carmel Valley Villa With Pool AND HOT TUB

          LX3 Renaissance Carmel Valley Villa With Pool AND HOT TUB

             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Carmel Valley, this golf villa is within a 5-minute walk of Joullian Vineyards, Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room and Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room. Talbotts Vineyards and Bernardus Winery Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

            "pepper Tree Cottage" Panoramic Views of Carmel Valley, Walking Distance to the Village
            "pepper Tree Cottage" Panoramic Views of Carmel Valley, Walking Distance to the Village

            "pepper Tree Cottage" Panoramic Views of Carmel Valley, Walking Distance to the Village

               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Carmel Valley, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Talbotts Vineyards are also within 1 mile (2 km).