McWay Falls
McWay Falls
4.5
About
A unique 80-foot tidefall in the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park—the water appears to cascade directly into the ocean during high tide, while low tide reveals the sandy beach below. Try spotting condors overhead during the short nature walk from the parking lot to the viewing point. The area has inland and coastal hiking trails and is an excellent spot for whale watching in December and January. McWay Waterfall is popular with tourists and locales and is often crowded, especially towards sunset—consider visiting during sunrise instead. Either way, it’s an unforgettable pitstop on your Big Sur road trip. – Tripadvisor
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,203 reviews
Excellent
823
Very good
252
Average
95
Poor
24
Terrible
9

Amy W
Phoenix, AZ141 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Couples
The falls are the most photographed falls in California. There is a bit of an easy hike to get back to them. We first went in the morning and it was foggy. We weren’t told that the falls wouldn’t be visible due to the fog. On our way back to the hotel we stopped again did the hike back and got to see them. They were nice but nothing that took my breath away. I have seen much better in Idaho and Hawaiian. There is a $10 a day charge and parking is limited.
Written June 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CuriousOptimist
Austin, TX87 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
If you're driving the PCH or visiting Big Sur, this is an absolute must-see! The walk from the parking lot is easy and only takes about 10 minutes. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful scenic lookouts. The waterfall is mesmerizing, the water color spectacular, and we even saw otters frolicking!
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hkrau1
76 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Family
It is unique and beautiful but rather disappointing when you see photos first and then in person. The hike is short and ocean view breathtaking.
The $10 parking fee to see makes it almost not worth it.
Many prettier views along the coast.
Written October 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nathan U
San Jose, CA972 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021 • Family
Came on a Tuesday around lunch. Weather was great, very frequent traffic coming and going, and the mist from the sea eclipsed what could be a decent views. The walk to the falls was very short and took no more than 45 to park, walk the mini-trail, and get back to the car. Apart from the cloudy view, the walk to get there was a bit boring and the viewing of the falls is far. Bathrooms are on site and you can access this trail with a wheelchair, stroller if you choose to.
Written September 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

N4246LIlauram
Peoria, AZ13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
McWay Falls is a short walk from the parking area. You will walk down stairs to a paved path and leads through a tunnel, and the path meanders to McWay Falls. The fresh water from the creek turns into a waterfall that spills onto the beach sand. There is not a safe way to access the beach, so you will see McWay Falls from a viewing platform, and it is usually crowded so expect crowds. It is really beautiful. I like to go at sunrise when there aren't many people. Just before sunset is also a really nice time to see this area. It's a peaceful nature walk - not really a hike.
Written April 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Johnny Trekkie
San Diego, CA9,336 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
From the many internet photos and youtube videos these falls look like a slice of Heaven...

Because of all the hype, I was actually disappointed when I finally made it here. The falls underwhelmingly small, and the viewing area is quite far from the otherwise lovely little cove. Depending on when you arrive, there will be crowds of people, especially during these Covid times. That said McWay falls is still a nice earthly site to see and an easy visit along your Highway 1 drive. You'll need a good SLR camera to get a good photo, your camera phone won't do it justice.

To be honest, I'm older and travel snob at this point in my life and seen much more incredible falls in Hawaii, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Canada, and more. McWay Falls is probably a 5 Star if you haven't seen many waterfalls and don't travel much.
Written June 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WanderlustGita
State College, PA107 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
All the advice recommend this as a stop along the route 1 coast drive, so I was expecting something more interesting than what it was. It’s nice, but not much, and since route 1 is closed not far after this and you have to drive all the way back to Monterey to continue your journey, not sure it’s worth going out of your way for. Go only if it’s a convenient stop.
Written November 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DWH
St. Albans, UK21 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Family
Avoid. We came to see the falls, filled in a ridiculously antiquated form to put $10 in a box for parking and then couldn't park as there was about 20 parking spots. There was nobody to talk to or complain to so we just left. Never saw a thing and felt cheated. I would not bother.
Written August 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zeke B
Costa Mesa, CA27 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
The entrance is located right off the highway in Big Sur but the parking lot was closed. People were parked along the street and at two vista points on either side of the entrance. We had to walk on the narrow shoulder but luckily passing drivers were driving more slowly. The falls are half a mile hike from the parking lot and are viewed where the path stops on a cliff side above and across a cove from the waterfall itself. I imagine it would be hard to get a good view of the waterfalls when the path is crowded. To be honest, I was underwhelmed by the height and low flow of the falls, but it was still interesting. There’s one bench at the view point if you need to take a short break before heading back. A decent stop to stretch your legs if you are driving through Big Sur but I wouldn’t go out of my way too far.
Written June 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheTravelFishes
New York136 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Worth a quick stop to snap a few photos and see yet another beautiful view of the ocean. The walk from the parking lot to the viewing area goes through a tunnel and is pretty short. The entry fee gets you into other parks the same day. Bathrooms were clean too.
Written March 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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McWay Falls - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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