Welcome to Scenic Big Sur
One of Big Sur’s most recognizable landmarks, Bixby Bridge is one of the world’s highest single-span bridges. To get the best photos of the bridge, stop on the south side instead of the north. You have to find a small dirt road to the right and drive a little ways up, but it’s totally worth it.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
If you’re chasing waterfalls, swing into this state park named for a Big Sur pioneer. From the parking lot, the 1.3-mile round-trip Waterfall Trail rushes downhill toward the ocean, offering photogenic views of the 80ft-high McWay Falls, which tumbles year-round over granite cliffs and free-falls into the sea. Note that flood damage had closed several trails and access to the beach at the time of research. Check current conditions online.
McWay Falls is the classic Big Sur postcard shot, with tree-topped rocks jutting above a golden beach next to swirling blue pools and crashing white surf. From trailside benches, you might spot migrating whales during winter.
The park is 37 miles south of Carmel on Hwy 1, and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur SP on Hwy 1.
Two Environmental Campsites are located on the west side of Highway 1 south of McWay Cove. Both sites are hike-in only and no vehicle access is permitted. These sites are extremely popular year round and usually fill up six months in advance. Reservations are required.
Best trail: Waterfall Overlook Trail/ McWay Falls (0.5 miles roundtrip)
Big Sur is a wilderness area and that’s why we love it. It is home to many wild plants and animals. All deserve our respect. Please use extra caution on the trails and in the campgrounds when encountering the following plants and animals.
Elephant Seal Vista Point
Home to a commercial fishing fleet, Morro Bay’s biggest claim to fame is Morro Rock, a volcanic peak jutting dramatically from the ocean floor. It’s one of the Nine Sisters, a 21-million-year-old chain of rocks stretching all the way south to San Luis Obispo. The town’s less boast-worthy landmark comes courtesy of the power plant, whose three cigarette-shaped smokestacks mar the bay views. Along this humble, working-class stretch of coast you’ll find fantastic opportunities for kayaking, hiking and camping.