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McWay Falls

Big Sur, California

based on 34 reviews


Added by Stephen Bellrichard

This waterfall is one of the most recognizable images of Big Sur. It's a short (just over a half mile roundtrip) walk to get views of this 80 foot waterfall. Get your camera ready!

McWay Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in BIg Sur and can be seen from Highway 1. The trail to the falls is located in Julia Pfeiffer. For all of you history buffs, Mcway Falls is named after Christopher McWay, an early settler and farmer from New York who ventured west in the late 1800s.

To get there, from the parking lot, walk back towards Highway 1 and look for the sign to the Waterfall Trail. If you're parked in the additional parking lot, walk back toward the lot entrance. You'll head down some steps, follow a wide path and then pass through a tunnel under the highway. Along the path, there are several points to take in the falls. Depending on the time of year and day you go, they may be packed with photographers, so be patient.

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We happened to be there on a very foggy day and couldn’t see much of the falls. Still a fun, quick hike and worth doing.

Súper easy walk! The waterfall is far away but beautiful nonetheless. Be careful cue they’re giving out tickets for people w dogs!


Parked on a turnout a little farther down and walked to McWay Falls. It's an amazing view even on a cloudy day

There are very few waterfalls which cascade into the ocean, so a visit to McWay is a treat. This beautiful spot is often crowded and it's challenging to navigate with a tripod, but well worth the effort for a long exposure photo!

This is an iconic waterfall along the coastline and in Big Sur. There's a small hike you can do in the area, but otherwise this stop is mainly only for the waterfall

The lookout point over McWay Falls is a beautiful roadside attraction. It's a great spot to shoot sunset photos of the falls.


It's easy to find a place to park if you get there early in the morning, otherwise the turnouts are pretty packed. Its a really pretty waterfall that goes right to the beach

Not a long trail but pretty amazing spot to see a waterfall spill right into the ocean. There is a section that the state has closed off. Be sure not to get close as there is a really sharp drop off.


McWay Falls is beautiful but I'm not sure it qualifies as an adventure or hike. It's a short, crowded walk to the viewpoint. The trail to the viewpoint is currently severely damaged and closed (March 2019).

I think this is less of an activity and more of an attraction. There isn't a hike to the viewing point - you just park and walk to it. There are lots of tourists, and while the cove is beautiful, you can't actually go down into it. It's only for looking. Worth pulling over for, but it isn't exactly an adventure.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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