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CalConi's Big Sur Hiking Journals


A morning hike to Partington Cove

The trailhead from Highway One to Partington Cove was an easy decent. We were the only ones on the trail this cool June morning. The trail leads to a canyon floor in which Partington Creek flows. A small bridge crosses the creek and leads you to an old tunnel.

The tunnel, bored through a mountain, withstands the test of time.

The interior of the tunnel is supported with wood bracing. You can visualize mules hauling Tanbark through this breezy corridor. The trail ends at Partington Cove. That morning the cove was serene and quiet. It is a very private cove untouchable by Highway One high above it.

A hoist stanchion stands tall and strong around jagged rocks. It was used to load Tanbark into waiting ships in the cove. To your right, the ocean shows its power. Giant waves consume the rocks with tremendous force. There are tide pools in the rocks. They are home to creatures like the Sea Cucumbers, Sea Anomie's, Mollusks, and Starfish. The rusty eyelets once used for tying up ships are also in these rocks. Your journey back is uphill but definitely worth it.

Partington Cove
Photo by CalConi

Partington Point. Photo by CalConi

Hiking Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers a few scenic trails for the hiking enthusiast. The trial to the left of the main parking area leads you to McWay Falls. While hiking on the McWay falls trail, you will see a small trail to the left of you, which leads you closer to McWay Creek and a cement building.

Inside the building, the Felton Wheel exhibit explains to the hiker early hydroelectric power on the creek.

Back on the McWay trail, you will walk under Highway One though a man-made tunnel. At the end of this tunnel, a trail to your left takes you to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park's only two campsites. These are definitely "pack it in-pack it out" campsites. A young couple had a perfect camp set up there.

Continuing straight on the trail after the man-made tunnel, it is only a short distance to see McWay Falls. McWay falls pours down in a long stream from mountain rock onto a white sand beach below. The beach itself looks like a picture on a postcard. It looks so inviting and tempting but hikers beware.

The park forewarns risk-takers this area is a high rescue area. Signs are posted to stay on trails and victims who venture and get hurt will be financially responsible for rescue efforts. Regardless, we still saw their "love letters" made in the white sand below. The trail ends at the foliaged covered stone remains of the old Brown residence. The stone terrace is all that remains of the house. The Brown's left this land to the State Park system.

There are two more trails form the main parking area. These trails are to your right. They lead you to the interior of this coastal land. Canyon Trail leads you through recently burned Redwood trees. Their trunks may be burnt but the trees are resilient and majestic as is the fern and forest foliage.

There is a waterfall at the end of the trail.

The waterfall in June is not a downpour but giant fallen logs in the area show a former force of water having moved through there. Ewoldsen trail branches from Canyon trail on a steep incline. We have been told of its spectacular views and plan to explore this trail on our next visit.


California Connie resides in the California Central Valley, and makes camping trips to Big Sur every year with her family. Read her high school age son's comments: JT's Journal

Big Sur Hiking

Partington Cove and Canyon

McWay Falls and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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