Discover Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California

Located along California’s iconic Big Sur coastline, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park stands as a breathtaking testament to the region’s natural beauty. Named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well-respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur area, this park spans over 3,000 acres of rugged coastline, towering redwoods, and cascading waterfalls.

It’s renowned for McWay Falls, a stunning 80-foot waterfall that plunges directly onto a pristine sandy beach, creating a scene straight out of a postcard. Beyond its famed waterfall, the park offers a network of trails that wind through diverse ecosystems, providing opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and panoramic coastal vistas that will leave you awe-inspired.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photographer chasing the perfect shot, or simply seeking a serene escape amidst California’s natural wonders, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park promises an unforgettable experience at every turn.

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Top 3 Facts about Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

01

McWay Falls

One of the park’s most iconic features, McWay Falls, drops 80 feet from granite cliffs directly into the Pacific Ocean, creating a rare “tidefall” that is both stunning and unique in California.

02

Redwoods and Wildlife

Despite its coastal location, the park is home to a grove of redwood trees, providing a rare opportunity to see these majestic giants in a seaside setting. The park also supports diverse wildlife, including deer, bobcats, and various bird species.

03

Julia Pfeiffer Burns

The park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a pioneering woman who settled in Big Sur in the late 19th century. Her legacy and contributions to the region are honored through the park’s name and preservation efforts.

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
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JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$198.00 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Getting to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is straightforward despite its remote location along the rugged Big Sur coastline. Here’s how you can reach the park:

  1. By Car: The most common way to reach Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is by car. The park is located along California’s Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), approximately 37 miles south of Carmel and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. If you’re coming from the north, enjoy the scenic drive along the winding coastal highway with breathtaking ocean views.
  2. Public Transportation: Due to its remote location, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has limited public transportation options. Most visitors opt to drive or join organized tours, which include transportation to and from the park.

Places to Stay Near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

  1. Big Sur Resorts and Lodges: Big Sur is known for its upscale resorts and lodges, offering stunning coastline views and easy access to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
  2. Campgrounds: For those seeking a more rustic experience, several campgrounds near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, including the popular Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground and Andrew Molera State Park Campground. These offer tent and RV camping options amidst the redwoods and along the Big Sur River.
  3. Vacation Rentals: Many vacation rental options are available in the Big Sur area, providing more privacy and flexibility. Look for rentals on platforms like Lake that offer homes and cottages nestled in the forested hills or overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
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Best Time to Go to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Summer

Summer

Get ready for warm summers at the park! With temperatures around 60-80°F (15-27°C), feel the sun on your skin while venturing through the scenic paths. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the days here are quite toasty, and shade can be a rare luxury on some trails.

  • Weather Conditions: Warm to hot, dry.
  • Activities: Coastal hikes, picnicking, exploring the beach areas.
Winter

Winter

Do you enjoy the crisp, cool air of winter? While the temperatures dip to 40-60°F (4-15°C), it’s a serene time for those preferring a quiet park atmosphere. Some trails may be less accessible due to weather conditions, but the dramatic coastal scenery is all yours to enjoy, minus the big crowds.

  • Weather Conditions: Cool to cold, higher chance of rain.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, coastal walks, photography.
Spring

Spring

In spring, the park is a fresh wonderland with mild weather and an average temperature of 50-70°F (10-21°C). You can shake off the winter blues with hikes to see the McWay Falls or explore the lush trails as the park is waking up from its winter slumber. The longer days provide ample time for wildlife spotting and photography.

  • Weather Conditions: Mild with a chance of rain.
  • Recommended Activities: Hiking, wildlife watching, photography.
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Fall

Fall could be your favorite season if you love vibrant fall colors and cooler temperatures, averaging 50-70°F (10-21°C). It’s a photographer’s dream season, plus there are fewer visitors, so you have the trails mostly to yourself. Immerse yourself in tranquil walks while taking in the mesmerizing change of seasons.

  • Weather Conditions: Cooler, potential for early rain.
  • Activities: Hiking, enjoying fall colors, fewer crowds.

Must-See Attractions

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McWay Falls

This iconic waterfall is the highlight of the park. McWay Falls drops 80 feet from a granite cliff onto a pristine beach, creating a mesmerizing scene. The viewpoint from the overlook on Highway 1 provides a breathtaking view of the waterfall and its surroundings.

Ewoldsen Trail

This popular hiking trail offers a moderate trek through redwood and oak forests, offering scenic views of the coastline and Big Sur River Gorge. It’s a great way to experience the diverse ecosystems within the park.

Partington Cove

Located nearby, Partington Cove features a short trail leading to a secluded cove with a rocky beach and historic tunnel. It’s a lesser-known gem that offers a quieter retreat from the main attractions.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Plan Ahead

Arrive Early

Parking is limited and can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons and weekends. Arriving early in the day ensures you can find parking and enjoy the park with fewer crowds.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes. Some trails may be steep or uneven, so proper footwear is essential for comfort and safety.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is home to diverse wildlife and sensitive ecosystems. To help preserve the park’s natural beauty, stay on designated trails, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and pack out all trash.

Stay Informed

Check for Road Closures

Highway 1, which runs through Big Sur and past the park, can occasionally have closures due to rockslides or construction. Check for road closures or delays before your trip to plan accordingly.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is located along the Big Sur coast of California, approximately 37 miles south of Carmel and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

The park is generally open from sunrise to sunset, but exact hours can vary seasonally. For current hours, check the California State Parks website or local park information.

Yes, there is a $10 day-use fee for vehicles to enter Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

No, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park does not have camping facilities. Nearby Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Andrew Molera State Park offer camping options.

Swimming and wading are not recommended at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park due to strong currents, rocky coastline, and cold water temperatures. Visitors can enjoy ocean views safely from viewpoints and trails.

The park is beautiful year-round, but spring and fall typically offer mild weather and fewer crowds compared to the summer months. Early mornings and weekdays are also quieter times to visit.

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