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Organization Title

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Contact Information

(831) 667-2315

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 27 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 32 Feet

Park Hours

Open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Driving Directions to Pfeiffer Big Sur SP

The park is located 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.

View on Map

Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 7 months in advance on the first day of the month beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST via the website, by mail, or by calling the toll free telephone number at 1-800-444-7275. Due to seasonal volume, access to the ReserveAmerica website and the telephone line may at times be limited.

Online Reservations

Brochures and Campground Maps

TRAFFIC ALERT: On May 18, 2016, the Amgen Tour of California will be travelling through Big Sur from Morro Bay to Carmel via Highway One. Please note that this will cause delays and traffic in the Big Sur area between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm.

Camping Fee Alert: Big Sur Sector will be implementing emergency measures to conserve and save water in our parks and campgrounds during our state wide drought. In compliance with the Governor's Executive Order B-29-15, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has begun modifying park operations in order to conserve and save one of California's most valuable resources, our water. Reducing shower times, changing to low flow water faucets, toilets and not watering lawns are some of the emergency measures already in place.

Consistent with Executive Order B-29-15, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will begin collecting an additional $10.00 stand-alone dump fee on August 1, 2015 from all self-contained recreational vehicles and trailers entering the campground for overnight stays. This onetime per stay dump fee will be collected upon entry. The additional $10.00 fee will help offset costs and upgrades to the park's self-contained sewage treatment plant and the park's self-contained water system and storage facilities.


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.

*** THERE IS NO BEACH OR OCEAN ACCESS IN THIS PARK. The turn-off for Pfeiffer Beach is located on Highway 1, approximately one mile south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park's entrance. Heading south from the State Park entrance, it is the second right turn. Note that Pfeiffer Beach is not a California State Park.

The weather can be changeable. Layered clothing is advised. In winter, overnight temperatures can range in the 30s-50s (Fahrenheit). Winter daytime temperatures can be low 50s-mid 70s. In summer, overnight temperatures can range in the 50s-70s, with daytime temperatures typically in the 70s-80s.  Summer mornings bring fog, which usually burns off by midday.

The park is located 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.


Hours: The park is open to day use visitors a half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset. The entrance kiosk opens at 9:00 am. Kiosk closing times are variable. Visitors are expected to self-register when the kiosk is closed. 
Fee: $10 per car, per day. Your entrance fee allows you access to all California state parks until sundown.
Senior Citizen Discount: Age 62 or older, $1.00 off, except busses over 9 passenger capacity.
Picnics: There are numerous picnic areas in the park, many next to the Big Sur River. Charcoal grills are also available.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed on any State Park trails, but they are allowed on paved roads throughout the park and campground.
Swimming: Cool off in the Big Sur River. Hike to swimming holes in the Gorge, or camp at one of our premium riverfront campsites. Swimming in the Big Sur River has been a popular family activity for over 75 years.
Hiking: There are a number of trails in the park. See the Trails section below for more information.


campsiteMore than 150 RV and tent sites are situated on or near the Big Sur River. Two group tent sites and a hike/bike site are also available to campers, but no RVs are allowed in these sites. There is a Campfire Center that offers evening programs on the weekends during peak season.

Pfeiffer Big Sur is an extremely popular campground. Reservations fill up seven months in advance, even in the winter. Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Reserve America. Reservations can be made seven months in advance on the first day of the month beginning at 8:00 am PST. You may also call toll free 1-800-444-7275. Due to seasonal volume, access to the Reserve America website and telephone line may be limited at times, especially on the first day of the month when sites become available.

 No wood collecting
 Do not feed wildlife
 Store food/trash properly
 No nails in trees
 Quiet hours: 10pm to 6 am
 Generator hours: 10 am to 8pm
 No amplified music
 Dogs must on a leash at all times
 No dogs on trails
 All vehicles must be registered and display a valid parking pass
 Speed limit is 10mph
 Check-out time is 12:00 noon
Standard site: $35/night
Premium Riverfront site: $50/night
Additional one-time fee for RVS or trailers with on-board lavatory: $10
En Route overnight parking: $35  (One night only, in Day Use Lots 3 and 4 for self-contained RVs only, 5:00 pm - 9:00 am)
Hike and Bike site: $5/night (hikers and bikers must arrive on foot or by bike, they cannot have a vehicle. Hike and Bike stay is limited to two consecutive nights)

Standard and Premium Riverfront camping fee includes one vehicle. Additional vehicles are $10/night per car per site. Maximum number of people per site is eight. There is no limit to the number of tents as long as they are contained within the boundary of the campsite and not on vegetation. During peak season, this park has a maximum stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Once the stay limit has been reached, the persons, equipment, and/or vehicles must vacate the campground for at least 48 hours before returning for another stay. Maximum length of stay per calendar years is 30 days.

Each campsite includes a parking area for at least one car, a fire pit with half-grill and picnic table. No hookups are provided at any site. Fresh water, hot showers and toilets are a short walk.

Check-in is 2:00 pm. Check-out is 12:00 noon.


3 miles roundtrip
This moderate loop hike follows the Big Sur River then climbs through shady redwoods to an exposed sunny ridge with a panoramic view of the ocean, Sycamore Canyon and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Starts across the river from the Redwood Deck.

.7 mile roundtrip

This easy self-guided trail offers an opportunity to learn about Big Sur's native plants. Starting across from Day use Lot #2, look for the printed nature guides at the trail head.

.6 mile loop

Wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, this loop trail also allows dogs. Following the bank of the Big Sur River, the trail passes through the Redwood Deck and includes a number of picnic areas.

2 miles roundtrip
Climb a moderate-strenuous 750 feet through a Redwood and Oak woodland to a fork in the trail. Take the left fork to the Valley View Overlook, where you will be rewarded with a tremendous view of the Big Sur River Valley, Pt. Sur and Andrew Molera State Park. Backtrack and take the right fork for a view of Pfeiffer Falls, a 60-foot waterfall.

.5 mile round trip

This paved trail leads you to the Big Sur River Gorge, an undeveloped natural area. Adventurous hikers may continue on by wading in the river and climbing along rocks and logs. Use extreme caution as loose rocks, slippery surfaces and unstable soils create extremely hazardous conditions. Diving and jumping into the river is prohibited.

8 miles roundtrip
Beginning in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, this trail enters U.S. Forest Service land after the first mile. A strenouous climb, it offers tremendous views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and distant ocean. Bring a hat and lots of water as it is sunny and exposed most of the way.

23 miles one way

Primarily a Ventana Wilderness Trail, the first 2.5 miles skirt above and around Pfeiffer Big Sur's campground and River Gorge. The trailhead is located at the Big Sur Station. This trail is extremely popular on weekends and holidays when many backpackers are drawn to Sykes Hot Springs, a strenous 10-mile (6-7 hour) one-way hike. Dogs are allowed on this trail. Expect a large crowd on any nice day.


Special Events are permitted at this park with an approved Special Event Permit. All the locations in the park are outdoors and rustic. Events at this park are suitable for those wishing to have a low-key event in a natural setting without modern trappings. Special Events include weddings, elopements, receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, events that require the reservation of day-use facilities, events with vendors, events conducted for-profit/non-profit business, etc. Amplified sound is only permitted at the Campfire Center. You can apply for a Special Event Permit up to one (1) year in advance. Applications received less than thirty (30) days prior to the event date are subject to additional fees and restrictions.  Applications received less than fifteen (15) days in advance of the event may not be considered. Contact the Special Event Coordinator at 831-667-0507 or for availability and permit & fee information.

For more information, download the information packet:
Pfeiffer Big Sur Special Event Information Packet

Nearby State Parks

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
11 miles south on Highway 1

Andrew Molera State Park
4 miles north on Highway 1

Available Activities and Facilities at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

En route Campsites
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Dump Station
RV Access
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Family Programs
Food Service
Camp Store
Restrooms / Showers
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available