- Karla Gadea
Big sur is stretched between California’s central coast and located on the 2-lane State Route 1. National Geographic Traveler listed Big Sur as one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime/The World’s Greatest Destinations.” Consistently a ‘top pick’ for weekend getaways and fantasy vacations.” Big Sur offers beautiful mountains alongside breathtaking beaches.
The Julia Pfeiffer State Park, located in Big Sur, offers a look at an 80-foot waterfall, that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean, a redwood grove & coastal views! You will fall in love with it’s teal waters and beautiful jaw dropping panoramic views. During spring visitors can witness the abundant colorful wildflowers. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. Perfectly encaptures beautiful sunsets! Park opens 1/2 hour before sunrise and closes 1/2 hour after sunset. Visitors must pay a fee to enter the park.
Season: During spring Big Sur rivers, gorges, waterfalls, and wildflowers are at their peak! Temperature is just right with clear warm days (60’s and 70F) and cool starry nights (30 to 40F). Summer daytime temperatures are in the 80’s-90’s inland, 60’s-70’s on the coast. Nighttime temperatures range from high 40’s-60’s. Rarely rains in summer. Coastal fog is likely. Fall daytime temperatures are 60-70, nights 30-40. Clear, with mild weather until Thanksgiving, when rainy season begins. During the Winter daytime temperatures range from 40-50, nights are in the 20’s and 30’s. Storms are consistent, often with only a day or two between rains. But these days can be brilliant and clear.
River Gorge (Beginner)(Spring): This is a half a mile hike where visitors can explore a swimming hole in the wilds of Big Sur. Best time to go to the gorge is during spring when lakes and waterfalls are at their peak. Persistent adventurers can continue above the swimming hole to more cascades, boulders, and pools in the Big Sur River Gorge. To get to the trailheads, pass the first two day use areas and come to an intersection in the road. Continue straight to reach Day Use Lot 3 and the start of Gorge Trail. Hike past the old bridge abutments and continue along the left side of the river to reach the gorge, follow the trail.
McWay Falls Trail (Beginner): This trail very short hike (.6 miles roundtrip) for a spectacular view. The trail passes under the highway then heads north around McWay Cove, overlooking the waterfall and beach that was created from a landslide. It ends at an observations deck with amazing panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, where one could sight migrating whales and California Condors!
Ewoldsen Trail (Intermediate): Ewoldsen trail offers lush redwood groves, crystal-clear streams, a challenging climb up a picturesque and forbiddingly steep canyon, and spectacular ocean, redwoods, and mountain views. Length of this hike is about 5 miles. The Ewoldsen Trail is located just a few steps away from the trailhead to McWay Falls and is arguably the best day hike in all of Big Sur.
Salmon Creek Trail (Intermediate): Salmon Creek Trail is a 6 mile round trip hike. This trail offers one of the most expansive views westward toward the coast. Visitors can see a beautiful 120-foot waterfall (peaks during spring). This hike brings you up close and in person with a powerful cascade pouring down the Santa Lucia Mountains. The pullout is 45 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Entrance or 7.9 miles south of Gorda. The parking area is not paved, but fairly obvious, located right along the highway at the apex of the biggest hairpin turn in the area.
Sykes Hot Springs(Intermediate): This hike is usually 20 miles round trip (from Ventana Wilderness), but if you desire a shorter hike you can start from Barlow Flat (which is 3 miles from the hot springs and the largest campground on the trail and 45 minutes north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park). Sykes Hot Springs has a stone lined natural tub that sometimes gets washed out in winter storms. It’s about 8 feet across and knee deep. It averages about 102 degrees Fahrenheit and can hold about four adults.
Hiking, Swimming, Hot Springs
Spring, Summer, Fall