Hike to Pfeiffer Falls
San Francisco › Pfeiffer Falls and Valley View Trail
Added by Brynn Schmidt
This 2-mile out-and-back trail is one that the whole family can do, so get out there. On the trail you'll see red woods, wildlife, and hopefully waterfalls. This should take 1-2 hours (depending on your group size).
This trail is a staff favorite at Big Sur. This family-friendly waterfall trail provides only a moderate challenge for young children and older family members. There are two starting points for this hike depending on where you stashed the car. If you’re parked near the gift shop, the head up the road to the east – away from highway one and into the redwood forest. Just a short way up on the right, you’ll see a sign marking the start of the trail.
If you decided to cruise passed the lodge to look for parking, parking in one of the lots just passed and head back toward the lodge to pick up the trail.
Once you’re on the trail, you’ll see why it’s so family friendly. The trail is well kept and is shaded by the towering redwoods. After you cross a small, wooden bridge, the trail will start to climb up the canyon. This short climb has a good breaking point on the left at the Valley View vista point where you can catch your breath, take in the expansive view, and regroup for another short climb to a viewing bench. Be sure to snap a few family photos here. Some people get service at this spot, so if you’re the Instagramming type, get it done here!
Next, head back down the trail to where it splits and go left toward Pfeiffer Falls. The trail winds back down the hill and under the shade of redwoods. You’ll cross a creek one more time and be at the falls.
- Hiking boots or Trail Shoes
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
It was nice to hike through Redwood Trees in this trail, but the amount of water in Pfeiffer Falls was kind of disappointing. When the rangers said "60foot waterfall" we thought it would be much more impressive. The extra half mile towards Valley view made up for it though! I loved the view from up there!
This trail was definitely well kept, clean, and family friendly. I would recommend going straight to the waterfall. The other trail is still nice, but the view "at the top" isn't too spectacular since it's actually only partially up the mountain. Definitely a good hike for beginners.
Hike to explore large Redwood Grove
This is a really easy hike but so worth it. We were staying at the Big Sur Lodge and found out that this hike was literally right out our door. It is an easy hike and very family friendly. I think the best part of this hike is traveling through the Redwood groves. It is one of the best spots in Big Sur to see Redwood trees. I highly recommend this hike if you are in the area to see the trees and falls and view as well!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike Montgomery Woods State Nature Reserve Loop
San Francisco / Montgomery Woods SNR
This is a great find. We saw it on the map it was on the way from Mendocino to our next stop, Napa Valley. So glad we took the time to visit.
Marin Headlands Trail Loop
San Francisco / Marin Headlands Trail via Coastal Trail
This trail starts at the Coastal Trail in Marin Headlands Park, where there's a small parking lot and outhouse bathroom off the circle when coming from Conzelman Road.