★★★

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

The heart of Big Sur


California > Big Sur

The Big Sur Lodge

This exceptionally beautiful park is in the Big Sur Valley along Highway 1. The clear, fast-flowing Big Sur River passes through the center of the park, and steep mountains towering above give the area an alpine feel.

The park is very popular and is heavily developed. It’s one of the few state parks that still has a sit-down restaurant (which serves sandwiches at lunchtime and standard American fare at dinner). The large campground is superb, although quite busy, and is one of the few places where you can actually camp among old-growth redwoods. There are also cottages which, with their neatly manicured lawns and little driveways, have an idyllic 1950s suburban look; they even have a swimming pool. Elsewhere, there’s a softball field and large picnic areas for group events.

Cabins, Pfeiffer Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur has a band of attractive old-growth redwoods that stretches from the park entrance and the lodge, where the biggest trees are found, to Pfeiffer Falls. The redwoods also cover much of the northernmost campground loop. The campground redwoods are largest at the north end; to the south, the redwoods get smaller and there are signs of logging, then the redwoods disappear completely.

From Highway One at the south end of the park, a paved road leads three miles to scenic Pfeiffer Beach, where there’s an interesting wave-washed rock formation. The road is hard to find; if you’re driving south from Big Sur Station on Highway One and you cross a bridge, you’ve just passed it.

Pfeiffer Big Sur has a lot of poison oak — more than any other redwood park. Other than the heavily-traveled trail to Pfeiffer Falls, most trails in the park can become overgrown with poison oak.

 


 

© 2006, 2013 David Baselt