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Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

Pfeiffer Beach is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. One of the most interesting features of the beach, to me, is the presence of large rocks between the beach and the ocean. Waves surge through openings in the rocks. Swimming is not advised, and tourists have drowned at Pfeiffer Beach, as the result of rip currents. Another interesting feature of the beach is “purple sand,” which I have been told results from bacterial action on iron pyrite (“Fools Gold”). The purple sand is apparent (and beautiful!) with wave action at the edge of the beach, and sometimes farther up the beach as well. The extreme north end of the beach, beyond the rocks, is listed as a nude beach in online listings. (Note added December 24, 2009: There have been changes in law enforcement with regard to nudity at all CA STATE-owned beaches after Labor Day 2009.)

In recent years, there has been a fee ($5.00/vehicle) for Pfeiffer Beach day use, and there is no overnight camping. The road to Pfeiffer Beach (Sycamore Canyon Road) is about 1/4 mile south of the Big Sur Ranger Station on Highway 1. The road is very narrow (1 lane) and there are turnouts for allowing oncoming vehicles to pass. Please drive slowly as you travel the roughly 2.5 miles to the beach. Pfeiffer Beach is worth the trip and the fee.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®.

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