San Diego, California
November 12, 2005
Roughly 3 miles off Highway 1, Pfeiffer Beach is located at the end of a paved single-lane road that travels down a heavily forested canyon. Several private homes branch off from the road, and that may be part of the reason why this beach remains elusive to many passerby. A parking lot (a $5/car day use fee is required) with restroom facilities resides at the termination of the paved road.
A short walk past the parking lot the beach opens up with gorgeous views of the ocean. The beach is actually twice as long as it appears, with a headland to the north giving the illusion the beach ends there. Walk past the headland and a larger section of the beach opens up. Several rock formations near the shore provide for dramatic wave action and plenty of tidal pools.
On the first evening we were at the beach there was a strong wind that kicked up the sand to the point of being uncomfortable. The only reprieve was finding nooks in the cliffs to sit down in, which did add a little privacy to an already private beach. The second evening was much less windy and the sunset couldn't have been better.
To get to the unmarked road, head a fourth mile south of Big Sur Visitor Center on Highway 1. On the right side, a sign warning about a narrow road is your only clue that you've found the right road (see the picture of the sign below). Travel slowly down the road for roughly 3 miles to the developed parking lot.
From journal Slowing Down in Big Sur