* JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS State Park is open for limited day use. Trails on the west side of Highway 1 are open. This includes the Overlook Trail and Partington Cove Trail. Trails on the east side of Highway 1 are closed. Ewoldsen, Canyon, Tanbark, Waters and the Tinhouse Fire Road Trails are closed. The campground is closed. Highway 1 is only accessible by vehicle from Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. Please use a map to check your route before travelling. Be advised that RVs and trailers are not allowed on Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd and that diesel fuel is not available. 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.

Very short. $10 fee for parking if you park in the state park parking lot. And once you get to the walkway a large portion of it is closed off which was disappointing because it would be a much better view of the falls if we could go further out on the walkway/viewpoint. With that being said the portion of the walkway that was closed off did look very decrepit. But you’d think with the hundreds of dollars they make per day on parking alone that they’d fix the walkway of one of the most famous sights on Hwy 1 but I digress.
My suggestions would be to park along the highway to save the $10 (or pay and hope they fix the walkway at some point). I also think you may be able to see the falls from the Hwy just north of the parking lot. We missed it yesterday but are planning on stopping there today. It’s just a small turn out off the road but there were many people stopped there taking pictures back towards the direction of the falls.

Scenery: 3.5
Views: 4.5
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Wish fixing this trail was a priority. It is really a gem and I want to take my kids back.

Amazing view from the road! Unfortunately you can’t take the path all the way down right now but you can walk down a bit and get a different view! It’s easy to miss off the road but it’s across from be Julia Pfieffer State Park sign!

One of my favorite finds driving down Highway 1- the view is absolutely stunning. Wouldn’t consider this a hike since you can park on the side of the road and find a path off the highway to get a better view. You can still see the tiny waterfall from the side of the road should you not want to enter the park or take the path down from the highway (half of the trail is currently closed).

Honestly one of the best views of the whole coastal drive!!! So so so worth it! I would recommend it to anyone!

One of the most amazing views in my life!

Great view unfortunately only half of the trail is currently open.

great trail

Agree with Chris S. Did this when it was closed today. Had to literally crawl through branches at some points but was doable (I'm 6ft and was wearing a backpack). Very much worth the scratches.

Not really a hike and personally think the view is SLIGHTLY over rated.

The beach is a beautiful crescent, very scenic, and seeing the very small waterfall splashing directly onto the beach is an unusual sight. But on the downside, you can’t actually get down to the beach to see it up close, and it’s incredibly crowded (we went in late July). The view of the beach from the road is actually better than from the trail, because half of the trail was closed off due to instability of cliff face. There is a huge logjam of people at the place where the trail is closed. The walk from trailhead to turnaround is less than 10 min. Don’t even bother with the day use parking, it’s always full. There is ample parking on road, but make sure you don’t cross the white line at side of lane. Two rangers were out giving tickets to any car that was parked over the line. Access the trailhead from the entrance to day use parking. You cross under the road through a short tunnel. Note that there is no cell service in Big Sur so download local maps in advance.

It’s not a hike, more like a walk but my goodness is it beautiful and worth the stop!

Great views of the coast! Super easy walk! Loved it! (Definitely not a hike)

Did this trail several years ago while stationed in the central valley of California. It was a very strenuous hike for us (4 adults and 4 children under the age of 7) Though we all made it out unscathed. It took us much longer than we anticipated. The Tin House itself was overly vandalized with lots of broken glass and grafitti, but cool. BUT the views from up there were AMAZING, definitely worth the steep mostly straight uphill climb to get there. We could see HWY 1 and miles of coastline, even saw some sea critters playing in the water below. The view was so mesmerizing we hung out there much too long, saw the better part of the sunset from in the clouds!!

Because nightfall was fastly approaching we decided to take the logging road back but still found ourselves hiking down part of the mountain in the dark. We emerged on HWY 1 without any signage or sense of direction due to the dark. HWY 1 can be VERY busy, so be careful. We made our way back to our car and eventually back home. It was an amazing experience albeit a rough one!
I see that the trail is currently closed, I am assuming due to trail maintenance, the trail was in rough shape when we trekked it, with rebar stobs, broken steps and places where the trail bed had just fallen away. Should it open back up, I would highly recommend this trail to experienced hikers.

Agree with previous reviewer; this is more a short walk on a dirt road to the falls than a hike. Most of the trail was closed when I went on it. Fine enough if you're passing through but nothing special to make a specific trip out.

This isn't really a hike so much as a quick walk from the car to an overlook point. Still awesome! Amazing view and 100% worth it.

gorgeous views!

You can park on Highway 1. Went on a weekday around 11-12 and had no trouble finding a spot right in front. 200 steps and I was at the overlook spot. Good for kids. No dogs allowed!

hiking
5 months ago

I did this hike while it was closed. When you first get onto the trail, stay close to the river, and don't go up the stairs that are being worked on. Eventually you'll veer to the right side of the river. It's quite a hike up (mile or so) until you reach the loop. Once you reach the loop there are numerous sections where trees are fallen, nothing that you can't get through though. I went clockwise on the loop, not to bad. There was one section that was very bad where I had to climb up the side of the mountain and back down which was VERY steep. I basically slid down. That was the worst part of the hike. The views were outstanding - although when we went it was foggy. Rivers, bridges, redwoods, ocean views, incredible tree views. Overall a great hike. And m GF didn't kill me!

Tried to go yesterday and the trail was closed. You can walk out to a bluff above, still allowing for great photos since it's empty below so I still recommend walking out, but if you're looking to hike down, it is currently closed.

nice trail, first part along Creek is beautiful, then steady incline for a good workout. The trail is quite overgrown in parts, some bigger fallen trees are blocking the trail here and there. Unfortunately the coastal fog blocked the ocean views, that at a clearer days would have been more rewarding.
the tin house is in my opinion not worth seeing. You will have to hike along Hwy1 for a little to get back to the entrance.
By the way. I have never seen that many ticks in my live, as on the last third of the trail. I had to shake them off my pants every few hundred feet.

Super easy and quick trail w amazing views

One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Awesome view of the falls. Easy hike. Was crowded on a Saturday afternoon as one would expect.

Great views here and only a mile or so to get there from trail entrance

Crowded but sublime.

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