Catch a Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach - Search Nearby - 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.

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Bathrooms
Beach
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

From $176/night

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds

Pacific Grove, California

Moss Landing KOA Express

Moss Landing, California

Salinas / Monterey KOA

Prunedale, California

Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA

1186 San Andreas Road

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!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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!

A magical spot!

It's pretty incredible to visit in winter when the sun sets through the hole in the arch. Be sure to get there early to set your tripod up because it can get pretty 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.

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