Pfeiffer Beach, while hard to find, is one of the most popular beach access points in Big Sur. On our rainy weekday visit it was nearly deserted, but it’s easy to see why crowds gather here in good weather to enjoy the drama of the surf crashing through arches in the rocky crags and spending itself on the sand. Towering cliffs provide a backdrop but don’t shelter you from the strong, chilly winds that are typical here. 

The path from the parking lot to the beach is no more than 50 yards and has very little slope. Though the beach looks steep, I easily moved across the hard sand to the nearby surf using a beach wheelchair. As if this wasn’t enough of a treat, a flock of turkey vultures scavenging nearby turned out to include a couple of California condors!

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: No
Accessible Parking: Yes
Sycamore Canyon Road is unmarked and very easy to miss: look for the only paved, ungated road west of Highway One between the Big Sur post office and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Once you find the turnout, make a very sharp turn, then follow the road about two miles to its end. The parking lot is at the entrance.
Accessible Restroom: Yes

Additional Information

Hours: 9am-8pm
Map: See here.
Fees: None
Dogs: On a leash

Avatar photo Bonnie Lewkowicz (59 Posts)

I has worked for more than 30 years advocating for, and educating about access to outdoor recreation and tourism for people with disabilities. I hold a degree in Recreation Therapy and was a travel agent specializing in accessible travel for many years. In this capacity, and now as Associate Director at Wheelchair Traveling, I consult with the travel industry about accessibility, conducts disability awareness trainings and writes about travel and outdoor recreation. I also authored a book titled, A Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast, about accessible trails and has produced several access guides to San Francisco. My most current project is a website of accessible trails along the entire California Coast ( My extensive experience as a wheelchair rider combined with her professional experience has provided me with in-depth knowledge about inclusive tourism and outdoor recreation.

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