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.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots or Trail Shoes
  • Camera
Read More

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

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic
Waterfall

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

8 months ago

Enjoyable Hike!

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!

8 months ago

8 months ago

Nice Hike

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.

8 months ago

9 months ago

Beginner Trail

It's a good beginner hike. The end was a lot smaller than I expected, but it was still good.

9 months ago

10 months ago

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!

10 months ago

Added by Brynn Schmidt

I love wilderness/beaches: photography, hiking, camping, backpacking, and hanging out with my guys while they climb. Mom, wife and co-founder of non-profit organization serving in Gabon and DRC, Africa. Find me on Instagram @brynn.alise.photography

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.

John Maurizi
2 Saves

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.

Jaime B
1 Saves

Bouldering at Ring Mountain

San Francisco / Ring Mountain

Itching to climb outdoors near San Francisco?  With only a quick drive from the city, Ring Mountain is a beautiful nature preserve overlooking the city of San Francisco offering two main rock for.

Chanel Varasteh
9 Saves