Big Sur: McWay Falls

From the Bixby Creek Bridge on our Big Sur road trip, we drove south to McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that drops into the Pacific Ocean. We had some rain this month, so we hoped to see the waterfall running well. We were in luck. A ranger said this is the best he’s seen the waterfall during our drought.

McWay Falls is located in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The park name reflects a friendship between two women of very different backgrounds who were joined by the love of this area. Julia Pfeiffer grew up here and married a rancher named Burns. An east coast heiress bought the ranch and befriended Julia. The heiress and her husband built a house with a view of the coast and waterfall. The heiress eventually bequeathed the ranch and house to the state of California, stipulating that state protect the land as a state park named for her friend.

From the site of the house, you can see the falls, the cove into which it falls, and the Pacific Ocean.

McWay Falls from house site
McWay Falls from house site

McWay Falls is one of only six waterfalls in North America that empty directly into the ocean, a rare treat.

McWay Falls
McWay Falls

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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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