Overlook Trail to McWay Falls

EASY 207 reviews

Overlook Trail to McWay Falls is a 0.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from September until December.

DISTANCE
0.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
19 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

views

waterfall

wildlife

no dogs

This short hike will give you some of the most stunning views in all of Big Sur for the least amount of effort. The 1-mile out-and-back hike leads you to a trail on the cliffs along the coast. At the viewpoint you can see McWay Falls pouring down on the sandy beach below in McWay cove. * Note that the McWay Falls Overlook Trail is only partially open due to trail erosion that has caused dangerous conditions. McWay Falls can still be seen from the section of the trail that is open. This wheelchair accessible trail can be accessed from the south parking lot or the stairs near the entrance kiosk. The trail passes under the highway and then heads north around McWay Cove, overlooking the waterfall and beach that was created from a 1983 land slide. It ends at an observation deck with a magnificent panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean - a good location to see migrating whales. California Condors are often seen in the Eucalyptus trees here. NOTE: There is no beach access here. Any attempt to get down to the beach is a citable and arrestable offense. This area is extremely hazardous. Please stay on the trail.

19 days ago

Probably one of the most phenomenal views in the entire US.

hiking
2 months ago

Breathtaking view especially at sunset. Of course a must on every drive down Hwy 1!

hiking
3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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!

walking
3 months ago

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).

3 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

One of the most amazing views in my life!

hiking
4 months ago

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

5 months ago

very short.

hiking
5 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

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

6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

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.

7 months ago

Unreal views

hiking
8 months ago

gorgeous views!

scenic driving
8 months ago

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!

walking
9 months ago

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.

9 months ago

10 months ago

Super easy and quick trail w amazing views

nature trips
10 months ago

One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

hiking
10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

hiking
11 months ago

Crowded but sublime.

hiking
11 months ago

Crowded... but a very nice, iconic view, definitly worth the stop...very friendly to non athletic types...sidenote: you can just park on the hwy instead of going into the parking lot...fyi

walking
11 months ago

Unfortunately it was very foggy today and thus we could not see the ocean or the waterfall. The walk was a leisurely and lovely ( not sure I would call it a hike). Looking forward to trying it again when the day is more clear!

hiking
Friday, January 05, 2018

hiking
Thursday, January 04, 2018

Very easy hike to see a beautiful view. Cool for stopping by.

walking
Monday, December 25, 2017

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