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Pfeiffer Beach

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Rural Valley, PA
posts: 693
reviews: 12
Pfeiffer Beach

While doing my research I read one of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the Big Sur area is Pfeiffer Beach. This beach is very hard to find, not marked at all, but oh my gosh is all I can say about it.

Going south after you pass the General Store in Big Sur, take the first paved road (about a mile) south, up the hill. Just as you turn on this road there is a sign that says narrow road. Then about a mile or so in there is a sign Pfeiffer Beach State Park. Continue on this 1 lane at many times, deserted road to what you think is no where for about another mile. Finally you come to a toll booth. The fee is $5. Pay the fee and park, then walk down the path through the trees. It opens up to the most amazing ocean cove with purple sand! From what I read the water that runs off of the mountains creates this purple color. It is just a skim of purple on the sand at the far end, but beautiful! The rocks the waves crash over and though the holes in the rocks are so beautiful. I just walked around for about an hour enjoying this breathtaking site.

San Diego...
posts: 8,209
reviews: 29
1. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

That's a great description, thank you. We've been to Big Sur 3 times but never gone down to that beach yet. We'll have to next time. Does the sign actually say "Pfeiffer Beach State Park?" Pfeiffer Beach is actually not a state park, it is managed by the Los Padres National Forest, a federal agency. To the best of my understanding, Pfeiffer Beach is not part of the California state park system, like Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are.

Rural Valley, PA
posts: 693
reviews: 12
2. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Maybe it didn't say state park, but it was a wooden sign like a state park sign and did say Pfeiffer Beach. It was enough that I knew we were on the right road.

and yes, make the trip there. It is an amazing sight.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Saint Joseph
posts: 912
reviews: 34
3. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

I agree with you description. I was just there recently too and it is a bit of a challenge to find the right road off the highway. It is very poorly marked, if at all. Then driving 2 miles down the twisting narrow we wondered if it was going to be anything. Then when we walked thru the trees and saw the beach, OH MY! was our astonished exclaimation. It is truly beautiful . Not only was the beach area gorgeous, we happened to be there at low tide and enjoyed beautiful, huge green aneomes and purple and orange sea stars.

Rural Valley, PA
posts: 693
reviews: 12
4. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Those would have been awesome to see! Seriously, anyone who travels to the Big Sur area, you must check out this place. It's right up there with one of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen.

MA
posts: 672
reviews: 11
5. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Been there years ago and looking forward to visiting again in October. How was the road? We will be a smaller car.

Rural Valley, PA
posts: 693
reviews: 12
6. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

We were in a rented Toyota Corolla, which is a small car and had absolutely no problems going in on the road. The road is just narrow and winding.

MA
posts: 672
reviews: 11
7. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Thanks PAsue

Rural Valley, PA
posts: 693
reviews: 12
8. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

suggestion littlebenn

if you want to try to bring home some of the purple sand, take something like a large spoon to just skim the sand. If you pinch it to pick it up you get a mixture. The purple is just a very fine skim on the surface. take a spoon and a baggie, that should work. also, check TravDreamer's post about going at low tide if possible. That would be awesome to see the sea stars and green aneomes.

Fresno, California
posts: 43
reviews: 4
9. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is one of my favs too. The purple sand is manganese garnet in the hillside that gets washed down onto the beach. The amount of purple sand seems to vary from visit to visit, probably partly depending on rain factors like that. It may also be heavier near the little runoff you pass near the entrance. I uploaded a shot of the purple sand to the Big Sur photos.

By the way, there's a very popular natural arch there. In winter months, the sun sets through the arch and rays can shoot through it. It's pretty popular with photographers, and you might find dozens of them clustered in front of it. I uploaded a shot of that too, but I think there's a delay in getting photos 'approved.'

Portland, OR
posts: 16
reviews: 2
10. Re: Pfeiffer Beach

Does anyone know what the signage/road turns look like if coming from south (heading North on Hwy 1)? Also, just wondering if we should be encouraging people to skim sand. If everyone does that, wouldn't that be a problem??? Peace out:-)