Catch a Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach

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Added by Blake Maitoza

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur is a photographer's paradise! See the sunset through an amazing rock formation and glisten on the purple sand. 

Pfeiffer Beach located in Big Sur may truly be one of the most awesome beaches in California...if you can find it. I lived within 40 miles of this beach for over 20 years and just discovered it recently. This beach is located on an unmarked road called Sycamore Canyon Road. On Highway 1, this road is about a mile south of the Big Sur Station on the right. Once you are on this road, you wind back and forth for 2 miles until you come to a ranger station, where you pay $10 to park and use the beach. The beach is well maintained and kept very clean, mostly because many people have trouble finding it.

As you approach the beach, you will notice incredible rock formations. Photographers come from all around the world to photograph this location in Winter. This time of year the sun sets directly behind the hole in the formation leaving an incredible beam of light shining through. If you are here in winter to shoot this incredible site, make sure to get here early as crowds of photographers will all be trying to get the same shot. This location is primarily a perfect sunset spot to photograph.

If the jaw dropping rock formations weren't enough, then you will notice the purple sand all over the beach. There will be many patches of purple sand from manganese garnet in the surrounding hills being eroded onto the beach. The best time to view this is after a winter storm when much eroding has occurred.

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🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

Great sunset

Pretty spot for a sunset and great for photos when the light is just right. If getting here for sunset you need to get here early because it'll fill up

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🥇Top Contributor

10 months ago

Best sunset in California

Ok the best may be up for debate. But this secluded beach is amazing at sunset. Be sure to get here a couple hours before sunset so you will have a place to park in the small lot. The beach will seem crowded from the lot, but there is plenty of room to spread out.

Explorer

🥈 Contributor

about 4 years ago

Busy, but beautiful

Don't let the crowds deter you from this spot! Although it can get incredibly busy, it just shows how amazing this place is. If you have the time, try and go during the week as the weekends can get incredibly crowded!

WAY too crowded to be enjoyable

Just like most of Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach used to be a nice place to get away from civilization. Unfortunately, it's now so crowded (thanks social media!) that merely driving Sycamore Canyon Road to get there can be life-threatening. If you must go, definitely do so mid-week (there won't be any parking on weekends anyway) & bring a trash bag to clean up after all the careless visitors who preceded you. Also, please don't stack rocks- cairns are an unsightly reminder of the civilization we all go to wild beaches to escape.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Beautiful and busy

A really beautiful beach with an iconic shot. It was really busy with other photographers when I was there in December.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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.

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