104. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Entrance sign on Highway 1.
McWay Falls.
View from McWay Falls Overlook Trail.
Partington Cove Trail.
Ewoldsen Trail.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is located 11 miles south of the Big Sur Station on Highway 1. The most popular activity in this park is viewing 80 ft. McWay Falls that falls directly onto the beach. The Overlook Trail to view the waterfall is a short ¼-mile trail out to the viewing platform. There is no beach access at McWay Cove since the cliffs are extremely steep and unsafe. In fact, there wasn’t a beach here at all until a landslide in 1983-84 dumped hundreds of tons of dirt and rock into the ocean. This massive landslide closed the highway for 9 months and created the beaches you see there today. At the end of the Overlook Trail you may notice the foundation and remnants of Lathrop and Helen Hooper Brown's house built in the 1940s. Mrs. Brown donated the land to California State Parks in the 1960s after Lathrop’s death, and the house was torn down at their request. She asked that the park be named after her close friend Julia Pfeiffer Burns, “the last true pioneer” who died in 1928. There is a second waterfall in the park, Canyon Falls, ½-mile up the Canyon Falls Trail in the redwood forest. Both waterfalls can be viewed in about one hour. We hope you enjoy your visit to California State Parks.