Big Sur's Iconic Places Reopened This Fall and Are Ready to Be Explored

2017 Big Sur Revival

Backstory to 2017's Big Sur Revival:

The Pfieffer Canyon Bridge experienced two massive landslides resulting in the closing of Highway 1 starting May of 2017. The damage of the bridge caused the link between Big Sur and Monterey communities to be separated. Travelers were not able to gain the full experience of Highway 1 during its peak season in the summer. Many people's bucket lists were undone for the summer since McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, resorts, and several parks, were closed. It was a great loss for Big Sur, but all hope came rushing in the late fall-early winter. The bridge was restored in the fall and travelers coming from the north and south of Highway 1 were able to pass. However, with access through the bridge continually being maintained, Pfeiffer Beach and McWay Falls were inaccessible besides Bixby Bridge. It almost felt that Big Sur would not be complete without the views that many anticipate for after reopening the bridge. It came to pass that it was announced for the two to open in November. As of late November, the intent was to travel and take photos but I did not want to come to Big Sur without any preparation for what to expect, sulking in the low levels of inspiration. So then this happened.

I received a Christmas gift from my best friend, partner, and travel buddy. The title of the book is "Not Man Apart" by Loren Eiseley. This book entails photos from some of the greatest photographers from Ansel Adams, to Cole Weston, to William Garnett, and featured poet Robinson Jeffers. The harmony of poetry lined with photography lead me to make a commitment and give time to visit areas of Monterey through Big Sur and beyond, head on with a new mindset and sense of exploration.

" respect its fragile character, to perceive the meaning of the road..." - Loren Eiseley

Inclined trail that leads to the top of a hill with perfect morning views of a straightaway road.

Stand at the edge of cliffs and you'll face the sound of freedom.

A cliff off trail with the ocean's potential to rise at high tide.

California sunsets are like answered prayers in the winter of December for those who oppose the changing temperatures of the supposed timing of seasons.

McWay Falls during sunset and light beaming on the thin stream.

"Earthquake-proved, and signatured By ages of storms: on its peak A falcon has perched." - Robinson Jeffers


Pfieffer Beach's iconic winter solstice keyhole lighting event as the sun hit through the keyhole during sunset.

"Those of us privileged to live on this coast, in the immensity of its scope and in its great proportion, enjoy a strong sense of belonging." - Margaret Owings


Bixby Bridge with the sky being modest that day.

A Short Piece by Jovey Gruspe:

I stood between man-made and God-made creations. The road gives us the pathway to enter the unrecognizable beauty of peace in the form of nature and feelings consumed. A road like this gives no direction but to openness and relief leaving what's behind, behind. No matter what weather the forecast shows, Big Sur offers more than a captured view, it is a view that motions you to find new details of its greatness.


Necessities: Camera, phone, jacket (light down or hoodie), plenty of water, snacks, jumper cables, full tank, GPS, extra shoes or hiking shoes, beach towel, plastic bag, extra tire etc.
Phone Service/Signal: None after entering Big Sur
Restrooms: Located before Big Sur, parks, inns, and restaurants. 
Gas: Chevron before Big Sur, some located where inns and lodges are most dense
Dog friendly: Yes!

Travel time:

Bay Area to Big Sur
San Jose-1hr33
San Francisco-2hr19

NorCal to Big Sur

SoCal to Big Sur
San Luis Obispo-2hr36
Santa Barbara-4hr 9min
Los Angeles-5hr25
San Diego-7hr13

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Jovelyn Gruspe

Based in San Jose, California. Traveling to near-by places around the Bay Area and beyond.