Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campout
Thursday, April 30 - Sunday, May 3
The Big Sur area along the central California coast is legendary for it’s beauty, its remoteness, its ruggedness, its mystery, and the atmosphere of pervasive spirituality. The jagged coastline of steep cliffs intercut with deep canyons, the wilderness and undeveloped land, the abundance of woodlands and wildlife, the unpredictable weather, and the throngs of visitors, all add to the mood and mystique of this popular destination.
The entire Big Sur Coast, has undergone some damage and change as a result of heavy rains in 2017, but most everything has recovered or has been repaired. The Pfeiffer Creek Bridge was replaced within a few months and Highway I through the slide area was opened up in July 2018, so now there is full access to the scenic drive and coastal activities from San Luis Obispo to Carmel.
More info at: http://jrabold.net/bigsur/intro.htm
For this four-day/three-night outing we will be camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The park is located near Big Sur Village, not on the coast, and has a nice variety of trails within its boundaries. Some are still closed from the 2017 damage but most are open and will give us good hiking experiences.
The campout starts Thursday afternoon and there will be a welcome tea. For dinner we’ll probably venture into Big Sur Village or other local restaurants a short drive away.
Friday I’ll lead a hike up my favorite trail, Buzzard’s Roost, which has spectacular views of the coast (if it is clear). The Valley View Trail is in the park also and is a good hike that we could do the same day. Friday dinner will be on your own.
Saturday there are many choices. There are several other trails in the park to try out. Or Andrew Molera State Park has a loop trail that is quite beautiful but also challenging. Or take a road trip south down the coast, with stops at Coast Gallery and Henry Miller Library and a meal at Nepenthe (almost requirements for a complete Big Sur experience). Or, heading north along Highway 1 there is the Point Sur Lighthouse, Bixby Bridge, and further up the coast about 20 miles, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, considered the “crown jewel” of the state park system. Whatever your daytime activity please return to the campground for the traditional Great Outdoors potluck. Afterwards there will be more fun around the campfire (ghost stories, games, sing-along, hypnotherapy?). Sunday we must strike our tents, clean the campsites, and checkout by 12:00 PM. Checkout time is strictly enforced.
Our group has only two sites reserved,with a maximum of 16 participants.Each site will easily hold four tents or possibly more. Because each site is allowed a maximum of eight people it will work best if everyone comes with a tent partner. There is a water spigot at each site plus a fire ring and picnic table. Flush toilets and coin-operated showers are close by to the sites. There is a camp store for forgotten necessities. Please bring a bundle of firewood purchased at the camp (expensive) or nearby. Big Sur Lodge is within the park and one can buy meals and coffee there, as well as necessities.
Please carpool. Camping fees include entry for one vehicle per site, all others will have to pay $30 ($10 per night). Last year we were allowed four vehicles at each site but I can’t guarantee that will be the same this year. Some may have to park in the overflow lot, therefore carpooling is important.
Only registered campers are allowed in the campground. Due to congestion and traffic constraints, free passes for deliveries or passenger drop off are not permitted.
Check out is 12 PM. Check in is 2 PM. Checkout times are strictly enforced.
Dogs must be on a maximum 6 foot leash and attended at all times. Dogs are not allowed on trails or in the Big Sur River Gorge.
There is poison oak throughout the park, including around the campsites. However, no one on this campout has suffered from it, as far as I know, in the four years I have led this outing.
Directions: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. As long as Hwy. 1 remains open you may access it from the south, leaving Hwy. 101 at San Luis Obispo. From the north take 101 to Salinas, then south on 68, then south on Hwy. 1 at Monterey. Coming from the north the park will be on your left a few miles after you pass through Big Sur Village. If you reach the Big Sur Ranger Station you have gone too far. Coming from the south the park is on your right, shortly after the Big Sur Ranger Station.
Weather: Prepare for anything except snow. There might be rain, might be fog, it might be cool (especially at night) and it might be warm.
Price: $50 for Great Outdoors members. Registration is online only at the Great Outdoors Santa Barbara/Ventura County chapter site:
Cancellation policy: full refund given six (6) days prior to departure ; no refunds after that
For more information, contact: Thomas Larsonthomassbca@yahoo.com (805) 220-8276