Sunset On McWay Falls

Mark Epstein Photo | Sunset On McWay Falls

A beautiful sun sets as the spring water tumbles from McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along the California coast near Big Sur.

This state park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. A panoramic view of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline is available from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1.

The park is located on land that was originally called the Saddle Rock Ranch, because of a rock formation in McWay Cove that resembles a saddle. Christopher McWay and his wife Rachel originally settled the area in the late 19th century. The land passed through several owners until former U.S. House Representative Lathrop Brown and his wife Helen acquired it in 1924. The Browns constructed an elaborate stone house in McWay Cove, one of the first electrified dwellings in Big Sur, powered by McWay Creek. They befriended Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a local resident, and dedicated the property to her memory in their 1961 bequest to the State of California. The house was torn down as the Browns requested in their will, but some of the walls and fragments of stone staircases remain.

 

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