California Central Coast EcoGuide
Big Sur Hiking Trails •
Ewoldsen Trail • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
A 4.5 mile steep hike to the top of the Coastal Range.

From it's beginning at the parking area of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the trail ascends along the McWay Creek through a redwood forested canyon.

The Canyon Trail to a lovely waterfall continues beyond the intersection of the Ewoldsen Trail.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
is 36 miles south of Carmel - 10 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

The Ewoldsen Trailhead is up the canyon of McWay Creek. Parking is at Highway One parking lot for JPB state park. $3 per day for parking. Two rustic campsites on West side of the road, above McWay Falls.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Trail Map

A fter a quarter mile along the Canyon Trail, the Ewoldsen branches off and up.

It maintains a steady ascent out of canyon, crosses creeks deep in redwood forests, rises though sunny oak and chaparral scrub. Lots of butterflies and wildflowers.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Trail Map

North view from top of Ewoldsen Trail
(click photo for larger version)

South Big Sur Coast from top of Ewoldsen Trail
(click photo for larger version)
The trail is well marked, is well maintained, and excellent bridges cross the creeks. After a mile up the trail, you encounter a two mile loop. At the top of its ascent, almost halfway around the loop, there is one more huff and puff of a trail, not long, though, that opens out on to marble and granite crested ridge tops with spectacular views of the coast range north and south.

Ewoldsen Trail is a deep, quintessential Big Sur watershed experience. Vivid testimony abounds in the canyon for the enduring resilience of Coastal Redwoods - evidence of the wondrous powers of regeneration are all about the hiker for most of the trail.

A small waterfall along the trail

Island rocks between McWay Falls and
Partington Cove from top of Ewoldsen Trail
(click photo for larger version)

Looking inland at the Coast Range
by Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
(click photo for larger version)

Looking south from top of Ewoldsen Trail
photo by Margie Whitnah

(click the photo for a larger version)

Ventana Wilderness Alliance trail description: Salmon Creek

Other Pelican Big Sur Pages


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People & Places

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The Lodge


Old Coast Road





Partington Cove & Canyon

Molera State Park

Nacimiento Road

Pfeiffer Burns SP

Birding in Big Sur

Song Bird Banding
with Ventana Wilderness Society


For the most reliable updates on trail conditions, check with the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Trails


VWA also conducts an informative discussion forum board about wilderness issues:

For comprehensive hike planning (although it is out of date, and you will need to check the VWA trail conditions), we refer you to Hiking the Big Sur Country by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press):

Books Resource Pelican Network

Interactive Map of Big Sur Region
Interactive Map of Hwy One and Big Sur


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