Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
26 miles south of Rio Road 
$8 Park entrance fee per car
Plenty of picnic sites along the Big Sur River
Free to Guests of Big Sur Lodge 
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was established in 1933, and is the most popular park on the Big Sur Coast. There are more than 200 drive-in tent camp sites with tables, fire pits and cooking grills in the redwoods and along the Big Sur River, and an exciting complex of trails, and an interpretive nature center. The campground has hot showers and restrooms, large group campgrounds, campfire center, store, laundromat, and Park Rangers conduct daily nature programs during the summer. Make reservations through 1-800-444-7275. There are 62 modern, but rustic and woodsy, cottage units in the redwoods at the Big Sur Lodge in the park. Call 831 667 2025 - or visit: Big Sur Lodge

Nature Trail
This self-guiding trail can be toured in about 30 minutes and is a .7 -mile round trip from the Lodge. The trail offers a fine opportunity to see many of the plants that are native to Big Sur. Printed nature guides are available at the western end of the trail, between the Lodge and the Ranger Station. Suitable for wheelchairs.

Pfeiffer Redwood Creek Trail to the falls is through a lively, dense old redwood grove. It is an instructive trail. You can see how a redwood forest makes its own soil and understory. The creek cuts through alluvial deposits, and you can see how the valley built up over the eons.

Pfeiffer Falls Trail
This 40 to 60 minute stroll along Pfeiffer Redwood Creek features some of the finest redwood groves in the Big Sur region.

Expect steps in the steeper sections and a number of scenic bridges across Pfeiffer Redwood Creek. The 60 foot high waterfall at the end of the trail is a scenic highlight. A wooden platform at the base of the falls is a fine place to rest, meditate or have a picnic lunch - 0.7 mile one-way from the Lodge.

Valley View
From either the beginning of the Pfeiffer Falls trail, or from the base of the falls themselves, you can climb through the oak woodland to Valley View Overlook. The view from this vantage point includes much of the Big Sur Valley, Point Sur and Andrew Molera State Park. The outlook is a mile one-way from the Lodge and 0.5 mile from Pfeiffer Falls.

Oak Grove
The great beauty of Big Sur is due in part to the variety of its natural ecosystems. The Oak Grove trail exemplifies this as it travels through a number of plant communities.

From deep redwood groves to open, oak woodland, and to hot, dry chaparral, this 60 to 80 minute hike makes it possible to enjoy the many different faces of Big Sur. It is approximately 3 miles round trip from the Lodge.

Big Sur River Gorge Trail
The wild and scenic,
completely untamed, Big Sur River begins high in the Santa Lucias by the Ventana Cones. It drains more than sixty square miles of raw coastal mountain watershed and plunges down a narrow granite gorge into the park and lazes toward the ocean.

Huge boulders brought by the river are flung around the canyon in great artistic array. Pebbles brought down the undammed river provide spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead, a seagoing trout. Sands brought by the river spread out along the banks by the redwoods making a unique and pleasing scene.

 

Manuel Peak
At the top, you will get one of the lovliest, sweeping views of the Ventanas. Getting there will test you conditioning, though. This steep, one way trail, is more than 5 miles, averaging nearly 12% gradient, rising more than 3,000 feet. Plenty of ticks and poison oak.

Buzzard's Roost
A moderate two-hour hike along the Park's western edge will take you along the river, through shady redwoods, then through a series of switchbacks among bay trees and tan oaks to the chaparral-covered top of Pfeiffer Ridge.

Up there is a magnificent panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Interestingly, on the ridge redwoods grow alongside chaparral plants. The unusual soils made of sandstone and shale, and the rare microclimate formed by the cool ocean breeze mixing with the warm valley air, create a fascinating array of plants - dwarf redwoods with chamise, wheat leaf, ceanothus, yerba santa and manzanitas side by side.

The entire Buzzard's Roost loop is a 5-mile round trip from the Lodge

Oak Grove
The great beauty of Big Sur is due in part to the variety of its natural ecosystems. The Oak Grove trail exemplifies this as it travels through a number of plant communities.

From deep redwood groves to open, oak woodland, and to hot, dry chaparral, this 60 to 80 minute hike makes it possible to enjoy the many different faces of Big Sur. It is approximately 3 miles round trip from the Lodge.

The wild and scenic, completely untamed, Big Sur River begins high in the Santa Lucias by the Ventana Cones. It drains more than sixty square miles of raw coastal mountain watershed and plunges down a narrow granite gorge into the park and lazes toward the ocean.

Huge boulders brought by the river are flung around the canyon in great artistic array. Pebbles brought down the undammed river provide spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead, a seagoing trout. Sands brought by the river spread out along the banks by the redwoods making a unique and pleasing scene. 


Photo by Jack Ellwanger
Pfeiffer Falls trailhead