The McWay Falls are probably the most photographed sight along Highway 1. And no wonder. They are GORGEOUS.

To get to this amazing spot, head off the highway into Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park when you see this sign –


Isn’t the bear a nice touch?

The Waterall Overlook Trail is an easy walk, being only about a kilometre round-trip.

It begins from the same carpark as the Ewoldsen Trail, a fantastic hike, which we LOVED and covered here.

Our tip? Do the big hike in the morning, maybe take a break and head somewhere nice for lunch with a view, and visit the waterfall in the afternoon when the sunlight hits the cove in spectacular fashion.

At the start of the trail you will walk though a tunnel under the highway. Soon you will emerge to the incredible view of McWay creek spilling onto the beach.

Behold – the McWay falls –



Here’s a close up of the creek carving its path over the top of the cliffs, right onto the beach –




Further along the trail a little, looking north away from the famous falls, there are equally impressive views.



Isn’t the colour of the water beautiful?

There’s a nice lookout area where you can spend some time taking in the incredible views to all sides.

It’s a stunning, peaceful and serene place.

But don’t forget to keep your eye out for poison oak!




We completed our hikes in Big Sur, constantly reminding each other to look out for ‘poison ivy‘ – as if Uma Thurman’s batman character was lying in wait on the side of the trail. Turns out the correct name is in fact ‘poison oak’. Got it.


thumb_IMG_4886_1024I’m pretty sure this is, in fact, poison oak

So long as you avoid the poison oak around the trail, I guarantee that you will love your visit to the McWay Falls.

This is a breathtakingly beautiful area that definitely lives up to the hype.


Trip Notes:

  •  Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is on the northern part of Big Sur, about 20 minutes south of the town of ‘Posts’.


  • Many people just stop and try to get a view of the falls from the road, without paying the car park fee and taking the short trail. We also had a look at the falls from up on the road and it’s just not the same view – definitely take a little more time and do the Waterfall Trail.


  • Parking is $10, and your pass allows you to come and go from the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park area throughout the day.

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