Share:

Big Sur River Gorge

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Big Sur Coastline, California

Start Exploring
Big Sur River Gorge

Share:

Advertisement
  • A paved park road provides access to the Big Sur River Gorge Trail.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Big Sur RIver Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Big Sur RIver Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Big Sur RIver Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • The trail to the gorge follows the banks of the Big Sur River.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Big Sur River.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Big Sur River Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Exploring the Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
  • Beneath the surface in the Big Sur River Gorge.- Big Sur River Gorge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Hidden gorge. Crystal clear pools.
Cons: 
Access can be difficult when river is swollen.
Advertisement
Region:
Big Sur Coastline, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
State Park Fee ($10.00)
Location Type: 
River (moving slowly)
Cliff jumping: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Clear throughout the day.
72°F
51°

Sun

Partly cloudy overnight.
76°F
54°

Mon

Clear throughout the day.
78°F
57°

Tue

Clear throughout the day.
80°F
59°

Wed

Partly cloudy until evening and dry throughout the day.
84°F
60°

Thu

Dry throughout the day.
85°F
61°

Fri

Partly cloudy until afternoon.
82°F
60°
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

If looking for a unique Big Sur adventure that’s slightly off the beaten track, consider a short trek to the crystal clear pools of the Big Sur River Gorge. A great swimming hole excursion for hot summer months or during one of those warm Pacific high pressure stretches, plan to get wet and dress accordingly.

Meandering through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, this middle stretch of the Big Sur River offers some of the best swimming holes in the Big Sur area. Upstream the river canyon narrows, giving way to a chiseled granite gorge accessible only by way of the riverbed. Once in the gorge, hikers will find plenty of pools for swimming and boulders for laying out.

To access the gorge and swimming holes, drive to the back of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to Day Use Lot 3. On foot, follow the Gorge Trail along the road adjacent to Lot 3. One you reach the bridge you can follow use trails on either side of the river to continue upstream along the redwood and oak-lined river banks. While there are welcoming swimming holes all along this scenic stretch, continue along the rocks and gravel bars within the river bed to access the more dramatic section of the Gorge. Shortly you’ll encounter larger boulders, deeper swimming holes and the narrow granite gorge itself. The Gorge section is no more than a quarter mile upriver from the bridge.

Note: The gorge can only be safely accessed when river flow is low, typically during the summer, early fall and late spring. The river swells and floods the trail following rains, preventing access. Exploring the gorge during high flow is not recommended.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(46 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
57 Members
Who's Done It
12 Members
Submission by
Team
314 Adventures Explored
306 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info