Partington Cove Trail is a 1.8 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Length1.8 kmElevation gain106 mRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsBeachRiverViewsWaterfallNo dogs
Description
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Facilities
Getting There

Note: As of October 2020, this park and its trails may be closed due to wildfires. More information here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=578 A hike down a steep road that will take you over a wooden bride and through a tunnel to a view of the protected Partington Cove. The hike back up the hill will be steep, but is short. There is a lovely quick side trip to a river if you take the path left of the wildlife sign before the bridge. Highly recommend--it's peaceful and secluded, and you can take some time to enjoy the shade and the sound of the water.

The Partington Cove Trail starts at a large pullout in a sweeping bend on the inland side of Highway 1. You can park on either side of the highwayon the west side there is the road down to Partington Cove with a gate at top.

The pullout to park is just 2 miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park turnoff, or 54.6 miles north of the Hearst Castle turnoff. Travelling south on Highway 1, the pullout is 9 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Entrance or exactly 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant.

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Reviews (316)
Photos (360)
Recordings (265)
Completed (743)
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Stephanie Gamboa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 28, 2021
Rock climbingGreat!Rocky

Parking is on side of road and limited but we went on a Thursday and no issues. The trail begins with a rocky slope and is a little slippery but has beautiful views of the ocean. Once at bottom there are two paths. Make sure to check out both! Path to right included a stream with small waterfall leading to the ocean. Path to left included wooden bridge and tunnel that lead you to more beautiful ocean views. Adorable bench awaits you at the end to take it all in.

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matt rach
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Christina Albright
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HikingGreat!

Can only access this trailhead from the north due to highway 1 being washed out just south of this location. Steep grade, but short trail down. At the end of the descent, the trail hooks right. On the left side will be a bridge that will lead to the tunnel and cove. Stay right and be treated to a beautiful rocky beach with a small creek waterfall. Definitely do both trails. Went on a Wednesday and there were about 10 other people on the trail. Parking was light. I expect the weekend to be a different story.

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Cat Vázquez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 21, 2021
HikingGreat!Off trailRocky

Gorgeous, short hike. Just very uphill back to the road, but you can handle it! We extended our hike by climbing the rocks a bit on the end of the trail section you get through from the man made tunnel. Its one of only 2 trails that were open in Julia Pfeiffer Burns while we were there, but very glad we did it.

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Jason Leu
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Hiking

Beautiful views at the end of the trail.

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Anand George
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Hiking

A bit crowded on the weekend but gorgeous views!

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Matthew W
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Hiking

The cove is nice. Go near low tide to left side (through the tunnel, out onto the rocks) and you might spot some tidal pools with sea anemones.

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Nahyun Cho
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Hiking

Super cute and super short

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Charlie Cloud
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2021
Hiking

Went last weekend and WoW. Tried to go Friday. Too cold and windy for my liking. Went back Saturday and wow this short hike captures Big Sur and all its beauty. When you come to the fork in the road on this hike. Don’t choose take both and checkout out both lookouts. Lots of rocks. Lots of water. Would imagine it’d be a great spot to shoot some drone footage if I had one that worked.

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Victoria Medina
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Walking

pretty little hike decent hill but short not very busy

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Curt Rodda
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Hiking

Perfect frames view for a sunset!

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Lauren Biglow
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HikingGreat!

Con gran colina, pero que vale la pena. A big hill, but worth it.

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Sophia Duncan
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Hiking

Beautiful views. The cove is peaceful and has two sea caves that shoot out seawater when the waves hit it just right. Easy, short walk. Going back up is a good incline.

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Carlos Cortez
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Nice little hike. Straight and to the point. It's a short trail but a bit steep. You can go across a bridge through the tunnel into the cove area, or you can also take another path. This path leads you straight to the beach (all rocks) where you can find a rock to sit on and enjoy the crashing waves. Definitely worth checking out.

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Allen Chuang
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Jean T
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Hiking

Nice hike, a little hard to find where the trail is because it’s slightly tucked away. Best to come early before large groups of people come because the trail is pretty narrow out to the cove when you’ve reached the trees and have to go through the tunnel and to the rocks.

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Hiking to.health
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Christa Atkins
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HikingGreat!

One of my favorite trails in Big Sur!

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Shelby Wilt
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HikingGreat!

Super fun, quicker hike. When you get to the bottom there are 3 ways you can take, to the creek, through the tunnel and to the cove. I highly recommend doing all 3, they’re each pretty in their own way. Super fun to climb around the rocks but be careful they are slippery. Out

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Amanda Pezzullo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 28, 2020
Hiking

One of the most undervalued hikes in Big Sir. Top 3 favorite so far and well worth the short hike!! Park on the side of the road, steep but short climb down and up, but the cove views are gorgeous!

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John Pezzullo
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Hiking

Fantastic short hike. Burbling Creek, small falls, forest, ocean cove, tunnel and another cove!

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Eddie Vita
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Tara K
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HikingGreat!

The trail just reopened as of 10/25/20! I suggest going sooner than later before everyone realizes that it’s open again. We just went this past weekend on 11/8/20 and it was absolutely gorgeous. A quick and easy hike.

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Bella Minor
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Hiking

Nice short trail. Beautiful!

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Thomas Arcala
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HikingGreat!

State website shows open 10/25/2020

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Jasmine Hernandez
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Hiking

It’s technically closed right now

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