Catch a Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Year Round

Added by

Blake Maitoza

Bathrooms
Beach
Scenic

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.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $176/night

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds

Pacific Grove, California

From $100/night

Walkabout

Santa Cruz, California

From $120/night

Serene Redwood Retreat

Ben Lomond, California

Reviews

Leave a Review

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.

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Year Round

Added by

Blake Maitoza

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Pfeiffer Falls

Adventure

Backpack the Pine Ridge in Big Sur, North Coast Ridge Loop

Adventure

Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness' Sykes Hot Springs

Adventure

Camp at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

More Nearby Adventures

Related Stories

destinations

8 Bucket List Canyoneering Adventures in Southern Utah

It's cold, rainy and windy at home, which means I'm daydreaming about Southern Utah.

how-to

Senate Passes Historic Public Lands Package

This is great news, but we still need you to take action!

chillin

Baja for the Holidays 2018 Spotify Playlist

Because no road trip is complete without an epic playlist.

More Stories