Take in Iconic McWay Falls
San Francisco › McWay Falls Trail
Added by Stephen Bellrichard
This waterfall is one of the most recognizable images of Big Sur. It's a short (just over a half mile roundtrip) walk to get views of this 80 foot waterfall. Get your camera ready!
McWay Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in BIg Sur and can be seen from Highway 1. The trail to the falls is located in Julia Pfeiffer. For all of you history buffs, Mcway Falls is named after Christopher McWay, an early settler and farmer from New York who ventured west in the late 1800s.
To get there, from the parking lot, walk back towards Highway 1 and look for the sign to the Waterfall Trail. If you're parked in the additional parking lot, walk back toward the lot entrance. You'll head down some steps, follow a wide path and then pass through a tunnel under the highway. Along the path, there are several points to take in the falls. Depending on the time of year and day you go, they may be packed with photographers, so be patient.
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Worth the stop
I guess I found it less exciting because the beach isn't accessible and the view from the trail looks exactly like photos that I'd seen online. Still, beautiful and a remarkable spot on Highway 1. Worth stopping and spending some time at.
Waterfall Looks Small But Still Worth A Stop
A stop here is required if you're driving down highway 1. The falls are a little difficult to photograph as there is no beach access and it appears super tiny from the view point. Save $10 by parking on the side of the road outside the state park -- there is a trail leading right down from the road (same distance of not shorter than the park entrance!)
Iconic but Worth It
I'm sure everyone has seen the photos of this place (although Stephen's photos are amazing) but it's worth every minute. Parking can be tough and it may be crowded at certain times, but stop, go, walk and be amazed.
People ask me all the time if I took the picture on my screen saver and where it is- well that's it! Totally worth the stop on the trip to Big Sur- you can't go down to the beach, but it's a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs and check out the scenic view while snapping some rad photos of below!
This was a truly beautiful spot to stop and take in the nature. An easy walk brings you out to the coast line where you're overlooking a tropical-like beach with this beautiful waterfall. You can take amazing pictures of the falls and the waves crashing onto the beach. Family friendly. Maybe 1/2 a mile one way.
It's Worth The Trip
But I wouldn't say it's worth a couple hundred mile drive just to see it. Instead, I'd suggest discovering more of Big Sur itself, Salmon Creek Falls is a nice dangerous hike when it rains, and the pictures you'll get are absolutely incredible. Also check out Ragged Point (make sure you hike down to the beach) and actual BIG SUR (the town).
The view here is stunning, but compositions are somewhat limited. Be careful of the eroding hillside and don't be one of those people hoping the fence. The water wasn't this blue when I visited but it was pretty stormy.
Big Sur's Famous Waterfall
If you're planning your first trip to Big Sur or have never seen McWay Falls, it's a must do. Access to the overlook is really easy -- there's a parking lot, but also roadside parking on the west side of Highway 1 followed by a short walk. If you can swing it, plan your visit for sunset.
Great stop on the PCH
I drove up the PCH from LA to SF in 2 days, and I am glad I was able to stop here! The hike is ~.6 miles, which means that although a lot of people frequent this trail, many are in and out of this trail within 15 minutes. No excuse NOT to stop here if you are already on the PCH!
Pulled over into the small parking lot adjacent to the bridge entrance after I had finished hiking along Big Sur. The sun was quickly setting and a swarm of people had their tripods set up, ready to take the perfect shot. (As was I... with my phone.) It was beautiful. Definitely stop by here if you're passing through.
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