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Best Trails in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

135 reviews

#29 of 490 State Parks in California

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers a dramatic meeting of land and sea - attracting visitors, writers, artists and photographers from around the world. The same geologic, climate and marine processes that shape the character of this beautiful park keep it undeveloped, susceptible to natural forces. Wildfires and landslides are common. This state park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. A panoramic view of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline is available from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1. In December and January the bench at the end of Overlook trail is an excellent place to watch for gray whales migrating southward to their breeding and calving grounds off the Baja California coast. Many whales pass close to shore at this point, and occasionally one will come into the mouth of the cove. In March and April, they can be seen returning north to their summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific. Park temperatures range from the mid-80s at higher elevations inland to the mid-40s, with heavy winter rains and frequent coastal fog. Layered clothing is advised. Open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

on Ewoldsen Trail
5 days ago

hiking

Sept 2014 - This is a challenging hike with a spectacular payoff: unrivaled views of the iconic cliffsides. The fauna is fantastic. I only ding it for being a bit monotonous at times; large portions are chalk full of switchbacks that can feel repetitive and get old quickly. Still, the views and the trees make this hike worth the effort. [4/5]

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
12 days ago

Love this easy easy hike with great views. Limited parking and lots of people on the trail.

on Tanbark Trail and Tin Hou...
17 days ago

Strenuous but beautiful views of redwoods and ocean (check weather and make sure it's going to be clear or you won't see anything along the summit ridge )

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
19 days ago

hiking

short hike, but well worth the trip. Beautiful views!

on Ewoldsen Trail
19 days ago

hiking

A challenging hike with amazing pay-off! We went counter-clockwise around the loop and took the spur at the top of the loop. Most hikers skip this spur so you have one of the most amazing vistas all to yourself. Feels like the top of the world - the ocean stretches out below you for days and days. Love love love!

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
1 month ago

walking

Short, but absolutely breath taking!

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
1 month ago

Beautiful!! Very short hike with amazing views and historical history. A must see if you are driving through Big Sur.

on Ewoldsen Trail
1 month ago

hiking

Amazing coastal views!! Challenging hike that is worth the effort.

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
1 month ago

walking

Great for sightseeing

on Overlook Trail to McWay Falls and S...
1 month ago

We just did the short walk from the car to the view of the falls - so not really a hike. I would have liked to explore more of the trails - will do that next time. The view is definitely worth the stop. We just parked on the road.

on Ewoldsen Trail
1 month ago

hiking

on Overlook Trail to McWay F...
1 month ago

Easy, short and family friendly trail with amazing McWay Fall . Good for a family short stop.

on Ewoldsen Trail
1 month ago

on Ewoldsen Trail
1 month ago

hiking

I did it on 7/6/14. Overall it was a nice trail. The total for me was a little over 4miles. From the the parking lot. I don't know where they got 6.1. Maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere. Anyways, it's a good trail. I would hike it again.

on Tanbark Trail and Tin Hou...
1 month ago

Good hike. Steep incline at the beginning but best part is on the decent you see the beautiful coastline. The tin house trail is an off shoot of the main trail. You have to walk about a 1/4 mile back to where you parked when you come to the end of the trail.

on Tanbark Trail and Tin Hou...
1 month ago

hiking

Definitely worth the work!

on Ewoldsen Trail
1 month ago

hiking

Absolutely beautiful. The hardest hike I've been on to date, the rapid altitude change kicked my ass but it was 100% worth it. The mix of views was fantastic, the long stretches of redwoods were complimented by views of the river/creek thing. At times you could look down into the valley at the tops of the trees you had passed just a half a mile back. Once you got to the top and you turned around one of the bends there was a gorgeous view of the ocean and you realized just how far up you were. Very humbling, and some much needed encouragement to keep going. I had to stop and rest quite a bit but the atmosphere made my experience wonderful. I would go back in a heartbeat, if only to regain that feeling of being "lost" in such a beautiful representation of our home in its very nearly pure state.