Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

In the midst of the spectacular Big Sur coast, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers great hiking, river swimming, camping, biking, picnicking and viewing opportunities. Filled with California coastal redwoods and other notable plants and animals, this park includes the crystal clear Big Sur River (excellent swimming), the Santa Lucia Mountains, and beautiful views of the Big Sur Valley and the coastline.

There are lots of hikes, especially Big Sur River Gorge Trail, Buzzards Roost Trail, Big Sur Nature Trail, Valley View Trail and Liewald Flat Trail

The campground is very popular and camping sites are surrounded by redwoods, so make reservations 6 months in advance, if possible.

Although only a little over 1000 acres in size, this is a special park on an extraordinary coastline.



Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd, Big Sur (near mile marker 47.2 on Highway 1)

Managed By

California State Parks

Distance from UCSB

204 mi

How To Get There

Drive, Train/Bus

Things To Do

Biking, Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Picnicking, Relaxing, Swimming (river), Viewing, Walking, Watchable Wildlife

Other Information

Animals in the park include ensatina, wild turkeys, and bobcats. A great checklist is available on iNaturalist.

This destination has accessible features; to review, click here.

Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

While traveling to or from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, it is worth making at least a short visit to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the iconic McWay waterfall from the McWay Falls Overlook Trail. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Limekiln State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are the three most southern parks with California Coastal Redwoods.

Then there is Andrew Molera State Park with some great beachcombing and trails, including the Ridge Trail-Panorama Trail-Bluff Trail Loop.  

Also, there is the wonderful Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest, which offers excellent backpacking, hiking, and camping opportunities. Former students, such as Phoebe Rogers, rank this as one of their very favorite public land destinations (see photo below). And former student Jason Mathias strongly recommends the Pine Ridge Trail and the Vantana Camp Trail.  Within the Monterey District of Los Padres National forest, visitors can explore two Congressionally designated wilderness areas: Ventana and Silver Peak. Watch for California condors and their 9.5 foot wingspan!

Best Time To Visit

Spring, Summer, Fall

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