Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

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Coordinates: 36°14′51″N 121°46′54″W / 36.24757°N 121.781688°W / 36.24757; -121.781688

Looking back from the beach at Pfeiffer Beach in California

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a state park in Monterey County, California near the area of Big Sur on the state's Central Coast. It covers approximately 1,006 acres (4.07 km2) of land. The park is centered on the Big Sur River. It has been nicknamed a "mini Yosemite."[1]


John Pfeiffer's cabin, 2006

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is named after John Pfeiffer, who lived in a cabin on the property beginning in 1884. He was the son of Michael Pfeiffer and Barbara Laquet, the Pfeiffer family immigrated from Germany and were amongst the first European settlers in the area.[2] Many features in Big Sur are named for the descendants of the Pfeiffers.

In 1930, John Pfeiffer had the opportunity to sell his land to a Los Angeles developer for $210,000. The developer wanted to build a subdivision on the land. Instead, Pfeiffer sold 700 acres (2.8 km2) to the state of California in 1933.[3]

Overnight Stays[edit]

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has both a hotel (the Big Sur Lodge) and a campground within its boundaries. The campgrounds were closed in the winter of 2008-2009 due to the Basin Complex Fire, but most are open as of May 22, 2009. The campgrounds have coin operated showers, bathrooms and a convenience store.[4] The convenience store also offers WiFi access.[5]


Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is known for its redwood groves[6] and trail to Pfeiffer Falls. Many of these trails were closed during 2009 due to damage from the Basin Complex Fire, but most are now re-opened. The exception is the Pfeiffer Falls Trial which remains closed due to extensive damage to wooden foot crossings from the 2013 Pfeiffer Fire. The trail is scheduled for restoration work to begin in 2016.

Damage from 2008 fires[edit]

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was first damaged due to the Basin Fire of June and July 2008, which burned 162,818 acres (658.90 km2) in California.[7] Much of the damage was to the outskirts of the park, however, and the campgrounds were able to reopen at the end of July. The Chalk Fire of September and October, which burned an additional 16,269 acres (65.84 km2), did serious damage to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which was largely closed from September 2008 to May 2009.[8]


  1. ^ See Monterey: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  2. ^ Hiking in Big Sur: Oak Grove Trail Loop
  3. ^ P. 84: Hiking and Backpacking in Big Sur by Analise Elliot, published by Wilderness Press, 2005.
  4. ^ SeeMonterey: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  5. ^ California State Parks: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  6. ^ Fodor's (21 December 2010). Fodor's Northern California 2011: With Napa, Sonoma, Yosemite, San Francisco & Lake Tahoe. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-4000-0503-1. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Inciweb: Basin Complex Fire
  8. ^ Inciweb: Chalk Fire

External links[edit]