SBVC - Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

  • Thu, April 21, 2022
  • Sun, April 24, 2022
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • 1


  • You must be a member of Great Outdoors to go on this trip. If not currently a member, you'll be given the option of joining for $25 during the registration process.

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SBVC – Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

April 21-24, 2022

The Big Sur area along the central California coast is legendary for its 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.

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 entire Big Sur Coast has undergone some damage and change over the last few years as a result of heavy rains, rock slides, and fires. As of this writing (late January 2022) Highway 1 from just south of Carmel to just north of Big Sur Village is closed, so access to our campground will be Highway 1 north from San Luis Obispo. I will check again periodically and let you know a few days before the campout begins if the situation has changed.

More info at:


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 shorter 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)Heading north along Highway 1 will not be an option if the highway is still closed, but if it’s open 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. 

Camp site

Our group has two sites reserved, each will easily hold three small tents or possibly one large and two small tents.  Pair up if you have a large tent. Each site is allowed a maximum of eight people but we are going to limit it to sixpeople per site (unless you have a group sleeping in your large tent). There is 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 parkand one can buy meals and coffee there, as well as necessities.


Camping fees include entry for one vehicle. We don’t know any way to parce out those spaces expect on a first-come first-served basis. One additional vehicle is allowed at each site but until everyone is checked in we want the second spot left open for campers to unload their gear. After the first four vehicles there will be a per-day charge for each vehicle. Additional vehicles will have to park in overflow or day use parking, 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.

Campground Notes:

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. 


Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1 but as long as Hwy. 1 remains closed you must access it from the south, leaving Hwy. 101 at San Luis Obispo. It is about 100 miles from SLO to the campground. Coming from the south the park is on your right, shortly after the Big Sur Ranger Station.


Prepare for anything except snow. There might be rain, might be fog, it might be cool (especially at night) and it might be warm.

Covid-19 Policy

July 2021 - Until further notice, Great Outdoors events require all attendees to be fully vaccinated, submit proof of vaccination and abide by the Covid policy - CLICK HERE.  (SB/VC chapter is following the same policy as GOPS). Send your proof of vaccination to the outing leader:  after registration

Great Outdoors outdoor events must be consistent with the requirements for gatherings set in the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Price: $50 for Great Outdoors members.  Non-members must first join Great Outdoors ($25) before they can register. 

Cancellation policy: Full refund given six (6) days prior to departure; no refunds after that.

For more information, contact: Thomas Larson   (805) 220-8276

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