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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Famous Big Sur landmark reopens after being closed for 12 years

For generations, it was one of the most popular attractions in Big Sur.

Thousands of people every year hiked up the Pfeiffer Falls Trail, a 1.5-mile round trip route through a redwood-lined stream in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park leading to a 60-foot waterfall.

But the trail and six of its wooden bridges, stairs, signs, hand railings and an observation deck, were destroyed in the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. The landscape has long since recovered. And now a new trail has risen from the ashes after years of back-breaking work interrupted by floods, more fires, budget shortfalls, the COVID pandemic and other delays.

“This trail is going to make a lot of people’s day,” said Marcos Ortega, superintendent of state parks’ Big Sur sector, on a recent hike through the redwood forest. “It’s kid-friendly. You get to see a waterfall. You’re in the redwoods. It gives you the full Big Sur experience.”

Following a $2 million renovation, the new Pfeiffer Falls Trail will reopen to the public on Friday.

With its stunning rocky coastline, majestic mountains and deep redwood-shrouded valleys, Big Sur, the writer Henry Miller once said, is “the face of the earth as the creator intended it to look.”

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