Hike the Ewoldsen Trail

San Francisco Ewoldsen Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    4.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1500 Feet

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Scenic

Stunning hike through the redwood forest up the mountains of Big Sur to a gorgeous overlook of the Pacific.

The Ewoldsen Trail is one of the more accessible yet challenging hikes in Big Sur. 

It is a beautiful ~4-mile loop through the redwood forest that starts in the Julia Pfeiffer state park parking lot, which is across the street from McCay falls. 

During the first part of the hike, you'll pass picnic tables and walk along a stream until you reach a cross point. One trail is to a small waterfall, Canyon Falls, that isn't too far away (can be worth a visit), and the other takes you straight up the mountain to the actual hike. 

You'll hike for a little more than a half mile before you come to the loop. I would suggest going right at the juncture for two reasons:You'll be in the shade for the uphill portion of the hikeYou'll save the stunning overlook as a reward for getting up the mountain.

The hike is not easy as you'll be gaining ~1500 in altitude in a short distance but it is certainly worth it! 

Pro Tips: If you do not want to pay for parking, you can park along side the road of Mccay Falls and this trailFor photography, I would try and catch this hike near the golden hour. I would start an hour or so before it started and be at the top during golden hour. The light during the day is extremely harsh and can be challenging to use.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP Map

Pack List

  • Hiking boots or Trail shoes
  • Daypack
  • Light jacket
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
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Reviews

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If you are driving through Big Sur, don't miss this hike! It's very beautiful and the prefect length to give you a good workout, and still have time to explore more of the area on one day.

7 months ago
7 months ago

Good hike-- you can crush it in 2 hours if you are on a good pace-- straight up and straight down though-- great leg burner

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a fairly easy loop hike. I'd on average it will take you four hours to do the whole loop. You'll pass through beautiful streams with mini water falls, vast valleys, huge trees and a beautiful coast line view. This trail basically covers it all. There are some steep parts, but if you are in basic good health you'll be fine. At the end of the hike take the tunnel under the highway to the coast line and check out the gorgeous private beach cove. Unfortunately the beach access is closed off, but the view is still breath taking.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Great hike! You get to experience everything Big Sur has to offer in one hike-- redwoods, falls, open valley, and the ocean. This hike is the highlight of Big Sur; can't be missed!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

worth it

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Seriously amazing trail. It has everything you could want in a trip to Big Sur. Sweeping views of the coastline from the Water Trail offshoot. We were able to see a whale and several condors during our hike. Can be slightly steep at times but it was worth it! Took us longer than 3 hours because we stopped to take pictures and eat lunch along the way.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Lucas PolsExplorer

Photographer with a passion for culture, travel, and exposing those who do good in the world LucasJPolsPhotography.com

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