Newly Renovated Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Big Sur Now Open!

California State Parks and Save the Redwoods League work tirelessly to reopen popular trail

On June 21, 2008 a lightning strike ignited the Basin Complex Fire, a wildfire that swept through 162,818 acres near Big Sur, forcing evacuations, and burning most of the Ventana Wilderness area. The fire destroyed much of the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park located the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and severely damaged the Pfeiffer Falls Trail, an easy 1.5 mile out-and-back trail with views of redwoods and Pfeiffer Falls.

After a 13 year renovation the trail is open again, thanks to the California State Parks and the Save the Redwoods League.

“We’re thrilled to announce the reopening of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail,” said Jim Doran, program manager, Monterey District Roads and Trails, California State Parks. “Before the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, this was one of the most popular trails in Big Sur – a destination for California tourists. With the trail’s many improvements completed, we’re happy to welcome visitors once again.”

According to the California State Parks website, Pfeiffer Falls Trail is a 0.75-mile trail segment that leads under the redwoods, down through a gorge to a 60-foot waterfall known as Pfeiffer Falls. The trail connects with the Valley View trail to form a 1.5-mile loop. The renovated segment is complete with a newly constructed 70-foot-long pedestrian expansion bridge that spans the Pfeiffer Redwood Creek ravine.

“This challenging project – 12 years in the making – is a testament to the great and enduring partnership between Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks,” said Jessica Inwood, Save the Redwoods League Senior Parks Program Manager. “Together, we were able to reimagine a new trail with the long-term protection of this sensitive coast redwood ecosystem in mind.”

Working in concert with the California Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience, California State Parks Monterey District as well as the CSP Big Sur Sector staff, trails crews, and volunteers rebuilt and replaced 4,150 square feet of asphalt and concrete, restored seven stream crossings and realigned the trail to improve the visitor experience. The new trail no longer drives pedestrian traffic through the sensitive streambed habitat, allowing for a restored and healthy ecosystem.

After a pleasant hike, I can say that – while the original trail was nice – the new trail is just gorgeous; the bridge is amazing, and the views are spectacular. I highly recommend this hike!

About California State Parks (from the CSP website): California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation. For more information, visit the CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS website

About Save the Redwoods League (from the CSP website): Save the Redwoods League has been protecting and restoring redwood forests since 1918. The League has connected generations of visitors with the beauty and serenity of the redwood forest. The nonprofit’s 29,000 members have enabled the organization to protect more than 216,000 acres of irreplaceable forest in 66 state, national and local parks and reserves. For more information, visit the SAVE THE REDWOODS LEAGUE website

About the California Conservation Corps (from the CCC website): The California Conservation Corps offers a unique and challenging, paid experience for young adults from across the state. A year in the CCC transforms their lives through developing new job skills, expanding personal growth, and conserving California’s natural resources. Corpsmembers’ hard work and long hours on environmentally focused projects and emergency response help make California an even better place to live, work, and play. For more information, visit the CALIFORNIA CONSERVATION CORPS website

About the American Conservation Experience (from the ACE website): The American Conservation Experience (ACE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewarding environmental service opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to explore and improve public lands while gaining practical professional experience. For more information, visit the AMERICAN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE website

About Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (from the park’s website): Located on the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the peaks of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park tower high above the Big Sur River Gorge, where the Big Sur River enters this popular park. Walk along the banks of the river and among the redwoods, conifers, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, alders and willows. A large campground accommodates hikers, bikers, car campers and RVers. Many campsites are located along the Big Sur River. Wildlife includes bobcats, black-tail deer, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and birds, such as dippers and belted kingfishers. Hikers can enjoy many scenic trails, including a self-guided nature trail. Big Sur Lodge is located in the park.The lodge has 61 guest rooms, a conference center, cafe, and a grocery store. For more information, visit the PFEIFFER BIG SUR STATE PARK website

See you on the trails!