What you need to know about Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, from hiking trails to campsites
Camping, hiking, scenic natural beauty, and wildlife galore – Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has it all. This California State Park, located on the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, is a charming, wooded riverside retreat for those wishing to experience one of the Sunshine State’s most popular parks.
Take a walk along the Big Sur River, hike one of the park’s many trails, or stay at one of Pfeiffer’s many campsites. With plenty to see and do, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is definitely a must-see for any nature lover.
Make sure you plan ahead
As many California state parks reopen, there may still be COVID-19 guidelines in place. Currently the Pfeiffer Big Sur Nature Center is closed and some restrooms may be unavailable due to cleaning schedules. If you are planning on going on a hike, be sure to pack your luggage accordingly. Be prepared by staying up to date on all the latest park conditions by checking out their website before your trip.
Everything about camping at Pfeiffer
Because camping is so popular, reservations are highly recommended. The park has 189 RV and tent sites located on or near the Big Sur River, making it a pleasant and relaxing retreat. Each campsite has parking for at least one car, a fireplace and a picnic table. There are no hookups at any of the sites, however, there are hot showers and toilets located throughout the campsite for your convenience.
Camping fees for tents / motorhomes
- Standard site: $ 35 / night
- Premium site by the river: $ 50 / night
- Hiking and biking site: $ 5 / night
* Hikers and bikers must arrive on foot or by bicycle. The hiking and cycling stay is limited to 2 consecutive nights.
- Discounts for seniors: 62 years old and over, $ 2.00 discount on all campsites (excluding hiking and biking)
- Handicapped Pass Holders: 50% discount on the standard or premium rate
- Distinguished Veterans Pass holders: Free
The fine print
Camping fees include entry for 2 vehicles; towed vehicles or trailers are counted as 1 vehicle. As there is no overflow car park, no additional vehicles are allowed. All equipment must fit within the limits of the parking lot.
The park has a maximum stay limit of 7 consecutive nights (in high season). Once this limit has been reached, campers must leave the campsite for a minimum of 48 hours before returning for an additional stay.
Campers must register at the entrance kiosk and vehicles must display proof of registration in the windshield. State park pass holders must also present their passes at the park entrance.
Reservations are strongly recommended on the walk-in site. To obtain a walk-in site, you must be physically present at the entrance kiosk, as you cannot make reservations by phone for these sites. Although the campsite is usually booked well in advance, there may be cancellations; however, it is always recommended to have a reservation in advance.
The park has a cabin available for hire. Maximum occupancy is six people, but those who do not sleep in the cabin can camp on site. there is also an adjoining campsite which can be booked in advance and is exclusively available for the chalet residence. The cabin has no electricity, heating or running water, so be prepared. Hot showers and bathrooms are nearby, and the motorhome and site are accessible by ADA.
- Arrival 2:00 p.m., Departure 12:00 p.m.
- The hot showers are coin operated, and tokens can be purchased at the entrance kiosk or at various locations in the bathrooms. 1 token = $ 1.00 = 5 minutes of shower.
- A dump station is available and includes potable water for those who wish to fill their freshwater tanks. It is available at no additional cost.
- Fires are permitted in the metal fire rings provided. Campers cannot collect firewood in the park, but can purchase it at the entrance kiosk.
- The group campsite is closed until further notice.
Hike at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
There are several beautiful trails for hikers in Pfeiffer. While most are currently open, be sure to check in advance for the latest park conditions.
This 2.6 mile loop is one of the most popular trails in the park. After the Big Sur River this is a moderate climb that takes hikers through the majestic redwoods and brings them up a slight elevation (around 750 feet) to a lovely spot with panoramic mountain views, nearby Sycamore Canyon and the ocean. The trail is also a great place for bird watching.
Big Sur Nature Trail
This self-guided trail is great for all skill levels. This is a 0.7 mile loop that offers views of the river and gives hikers plenty of opportunities to see the region’s plant diversity. Don’t forget to consult the printed nature guides for more information.
River path and Guardian’s path
Pointing at 0.6 mile, this loop is suitable for families as it is accessible to strollers, accepts dogs, and has access to a number of picnic areas. It also offers beautiful views of the Big Sur River.
Big Sur River Gorge
This 0.5 mile loop is a paved trail that leads to a natural area where more experienced hikers can climb along rocks or wade through the river.
Mount. Manual trail
Rated hard this trail is only maintained for the first 2 miles and then becomes overgrown and more difficult terrain. This is a strenuous 8 mile round trip ascent that is in the open most of the way, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. The climb is well worth it, as hikers will have stunning views of the ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Pine Ridge Trail
From the trailhead just south of the main park entrance, this 37 mile one-way trail takes hikers around Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground, beyond the gorge, and continues for over 32 km through US Forest Service lands. Along the way, hikers can see the popular hot springs of Sykes.
Additional tips and information
The park is open to day visitors from 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking is only permitted in designated sites and campsites.
- Day use fee: $ 10 / per car, per day
- Bicycles and scooters are only allowed on the paved roads of the park.
There are a number of picnic areas throughout the park, so pack a lunch and enjoy the views!
There are many campsites in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for outdoor enthusiasts who want to venture out and explore the fantastic scenery. Day trippers can also find plenty to do here with a variety of trails and picnic sites available, making it the perfect location for anyone looking to experience the Big Sur landscapes on their next trip to California. .
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