Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - McWay Falls


What? : One of the most beautiful waterfalls I ever saw, a highly recommended stop, if you are in a harry this stop can be very short, just to see the waterfall from the roadside viewpoint.


Where? : Located 41.5 miles south of Monterey on hwy 1. The main park entrance is on the east side of the road (left of you are coming from the north).

Google Map Link


Due note: The best time to visit here and view the waterfall is at the afternoon sunset hours, the sunset at the west color the cliffs with read pastel colors. The problem is that this location is at the middle of the big sure hwy 1 section, so no matter if you are coming from the south or the north probably you still have a lot of driving ahead of you, driving that better not be done at dark, you will miss all the views.


Due note 1: Cliff areas beyond the fenced boundaries, including the beach, saddle rock and the McWay Falls area are completely off limits.


Due note 2: Fee envelopes for self-registration are located at the self-pay station near the restrooms.


My thoughts: McWay Falls area one of the most beautiful waterfall location I ever saw, the large cliffs surrounding the small bay, Saddle Rock formation, the blue ocean water crashing into the bay and the waterfall just complete the view. I came here especially for sunset view and I did not regret the long drive.


The visit:


Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwoods and an amazing picturesque 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean waters below. The park named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well-respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country.


If you are coming from north my recommendation is to is to stop first just before the park entrance on the roadside and see the view from above, you can also stop later in the park itself.


From the main parking lot there is a short flat hiking trail that cross underneath the road through a small tunnel to the viewpoint above the bay, the waterfall is just in front of you on the other side of the bay.


Near the parking lot there is a small picnic area and from there is a trail that will take you into the creek where redwood trees are growing. Additional trail will take you to the top of the mountain ridge high above the ocean below.

I came only to see the waterfall so did not hike in this park.