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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Hike, camp or picnic among the redwood trees, waterfalls and dramatic coastal cliffs that have inspired artists, poets and writers for the past century. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a 1,000-acre (400-hectare) State Park on the California coast. The area takes its name from John Pfeiffer, whose family were European settlers in the 19th century. Perfect for hiking, camping and swimming, this park features stunning views across the Big Sur Valley, the Big Sur River Gorge and the Pacific Ocean. You’ll see a wide variety of large-tree species, including redwoods, oaks, sycamores and maples. Also, keep an eye out for the wildlife, including black-tailed deer, raccoons, skunks and varied birdlife.

The best way to experience the park is on foot so that you don’t miss anything. Explore the three-mile (five-kilometer) Valley View Trail, which takes in Pfeiffer Falls, the park’s 60-foot (18-meter) waterfall. The trail is a bit steep in parts, rising 200 feet (60 meters), offering stunning views over the falls and the park’s many creeks and redwoods. More experienced hikers can try the 4.5-mile (seven-kilometer) Ewoldsen Trail, at the nearby Julie Pfeiffer Burns Park, which is steeper and more strenuous in parts. Don’t miss McWay Falls, which tumble straight from the cliffside onto the beach. The beach itself is off-limits, but for spectacular year-round views, check out the overlook near the parking lot.

In summer, swim in the Big Sur River, which runs through the park and empties into the Pacific Ocean. Pitch your tent on the park’s campsites situated at picturesque spots along the riverbanks. The park offers an information center, kiosk, restrooms, showers and a laundry. The Big Sur Lodge offers motel-style accommodation and a restaurant. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park borders the Ventana Wilderness area, an additional 320 miles (515 kilometers) of hiking trails. The area is just inland from the California coast, 28 miles (42 kilometers) south of Carmel. Driving is the best way to get here, and there are also some coastal bus tours from travel agencies in Monterey. The park opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes after sunset. Bring a picnic or snacks as food options are limited to a café and grocery store at the Big Sur Lodge.


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Lodging Near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

See all 365 Properties near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only $784
Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only

Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only

48123 Highway One, Big Sur
     
    4.6
    of 5, from 238 reviews
    4.5 out of 5.0

    Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort - Adults Only, enjoys a dramatic and romantic Big Sur setting in the hills along State Highway 1, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Guests can hike from the resort along the North Coast Ridge Road, and drive to the white sands of nearby Carmel River State Beach.

    Tuscan-style Retreat, in the Country With 360 Views, Upper Carmel Valley
    Tuscan-style Retreat, in the Country With 360 Views, Upper Carmel Valley

    Tuscan-style Retreat, in the Country With 360 Views, Upper Carmel Valley

    , Carmel Valley
       
      5.0
      of 5, from 21 reviews
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in a rural location, this spa vacation home is 4.4 mi (7.1 km) from Galante Vineyards and within 16 mi (25 km) of Joullian Vineyards and Cowgirl Winery. Carmel Valley Community Park and Garland Ranch Regional Park are also within 20 mi (32 km).

      Charming House in Carmel Valley Wine Country
      Charming House in Carmel Valley Wine Country

      Charming House in Carmel Valley Wine Country

      , Carmel Valley
         
        4.9
        of 5, from 25 reviews
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room, and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Cowgirl Winery are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Blue Sky Lodge $139
        Blue Sky Lodge

        Blue Sky Lodge

        10 Flight Rd, Carmel Valley
           
          3.8
          of 5, from 152 reviews
          2.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Carmel Valley, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room, and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Talbotts Vineyards are also within 10 minutes.

          A Unique Hilltop Retreat With Stunning Views; Minutes From the Village
          A Unique Hilltop Retreat With Stunning Views; Minutes From the Village

          A Unique Hilltop Retreat With Stunning Views; Minutes From the Village

          , Carmel Valley
             
            4.9
            of 5, from 23 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Carmel Valley, this historic vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room, and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Joullian Vineyards and Cowgirl Winery are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Hidden Valley Inn $149
            Hidden Valley Inn

            Hidden Valley Inn

            102 West Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley
               
              4.0
              of 5, from 113 reviews
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Situated in Carmel Valley, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Carmel Valley Community Park and Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. Talbotts Vineyards and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

              Carmel Valley Lodge and Resort $170
              Carmel Valley Lodge and Resort

              Carmel Valley Lodge and Resort

              8 Ford Rd , Carmel Valley
                 
                3.7
                of 5, from 408 reviews
                3.5 out of 5.0

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Carmel Valley Community Park, Heller Estate Organic Vineyards, and Talbotts Vineyards. Cowgirl Winery and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

                Contenta Inn $149
                Contenta Inn

                Contenta Inn

                20 Via Contenta, Carmel Valley
                   
                  3.7
                  of 5, from 81 reviews
                  2.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Carmel Valley, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Bernardus Winery Tasting Room, Boekenoogen Winery Tasting Room, and Chock Rock Vineyard Tasting Room. Cowgirl Winery and Joullian Vineyards are also within 10 minutes.