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Click to enlarge McWay Falls near Julia Pfeiffer Burns Big Sur California State Park
Watch for this sign by the highway
Information: Lovely Waterfall: One of the most gorgeous of the natural Big Sur Waterfalls and probably one of the most photographed waterfalls in Big Sur, beautiful McWay Falls overlook is only a short walk from the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (831-667-2315) parking lot. It is interesting to note that McWay Falls is the only waterfall on the California Coast which sometimes falls directly into the Pacific Ocean. Directally across the highway from the McWay Falls overlook is a nice picnic area in the redwood forest and trailheads for some nice short day hikes. There is at least one other waterfall in the park although not real impressive, Canyon Falls is a short hike up Canyon Trail, the trailhead starts at the end of the parking lot. Julia Pgeiffer Burns California State Park is also the location of the tiny hike-inenvironmental tent campground with the much sought after highly coveted handful of ocean view tent campsites.
Near Points of Interest: Keep your camera handy you are in one of the most scenic areas in the world. You may want to start parking the car and getting out to walk around; there is another scenic pullout just north and there are several nice trails in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park besides the short one that leads to the McWay Falls there are trails that go into the beautiful redwood forest and 1.9 miles north is the very popular coastal hiking area Partington Canyon. Soon the highway leaves the coast and heads up the Big Sur River Valley where you get to enjoy the redwood forests and Santa Lucia Mountains a bit more; along the way are the Coast Gallery and the Henry Miller Memorial Library.
Beach Access and Day Use Parks & Picnic Areas: There is a trail to Partington Cove but there isn't much of a beach at that location, there is really no good beach access anywhere near here, the high steep cliffs don’t allow it; the closest beach access north to a nice beach (Pfeiffer State Beach) is 12.5 miles the turnoff is at Sycamore Canyon; the beach access to the south is 15 miles at Limekiln Creek State Park. There is wonderful picnic area in the redwoods at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park; the closest one to the north would be Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is 10 miles north and the Lucia Lodge has a nice ocean view free picnic area and Lucia is 12 miles to the south.
Near places to Eat: My favorite Big Sur Ocean View restaurant Nepenthe is 9 miles north on the scenic PCH and the closest restaurant to the south is the Restaurant at the Lucia Lodge which is 12 miles.
Near Hotel Lodgings & Resorts: Deetjen's Big Sur Inn and Restaurant is 8 miles ahead to the north and the Lucia Lodge is 12 miles south.
Near Campgrounds: This is the location of the tiny environmental tent campground with the much sought after highly coveted handful of ocean view tent campsites. Closest other campground is to the south 15 miles at Limekiln Creek State Park.; the closest one to the north would be Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is 10 miles north.
History & Museums: Christopher McWay originally settled the area in the late 19th century. The land passed through several owners until former U.S. House Representative Lathrop Brown and his wife acquired it in 1924. The Browns constructed an elaborate stone house above McWay Cove, one of the first dwellings in Big Sur with electricity; powered by the running waters of McWay Creek. The house has been torn down but some of the stone walls and fragments of stone staircases remain. (more about Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and its history at Wikipedia)
Gasoline, Public Restrooms, Supplies: To the south 13 miles on PCH are gasoline, supplies and public restrooms at Lucia; the next gas station north is at the Big Sur Center 13 miles up the Pacific Coast Highway 1.
Other Facilities, Services or Activities:
On the coast in this area south the traveler services and tourist facilities have been sparse and spread out but soon the highway heading north leaves the coast and heads up the Big Sur River Valley where there many clusters of business and they are fairly close together.
Google Map Big Sur
Activities Points of Interest
Coastal Aerial Photos of this Location