Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, 821 acres in the redwoods and along the Big Sur River, is popular with families and may be the best place for wheelchair riders to stay overnight and enjoy the lovely but otherwise mostly inaccessible Big Sur coast. Be sure to reserve well in advance if you want one of the five accessible campsites or three accessible rooms in Big Sur Lodge. Only one brief hike in the park is accessible, but Pfeiffer Beach, just a few miles away, has a beach wheelchair, and the scenic McWay Falls Overlook Trail is 11 miles south, in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  

Nature Trail

see access criteria for definitions

Trailhead: Across the road from day use parking lot #2
Length: Under one mile total
Typical Width: 30 in. to 4 ft.
Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle
The first section is slightly steeper than 1:12 (a typical ramp)
Terrain: Firm
On our visit just after heavy rain, the trail had shallow puddles, but it was not muddy or soft.


This pleasant, brief interpretive trail parallels the park entrance road. Natural features are marked, but the free brochure of numbered descriptions is out of print, according to a sign at the entrance.  

Accessibility Details

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

Accessible Visitor Center: Yes
Accessible Parking: Yes
Most lots include disabled spaces
Accessible Restroom: Yes
At the lodge, in day use parking lot #1 near the start of the nature trail, and at both ends of the campground. Campground restrooms include accessible showers.  
Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes
Most picnic tables are on grass, but one site across the park road from the nature trail is paved

Other Things of Interest

Thirteen miles to the north of Pfeiffer Big Sur is Point Sur State Historic Park and Lighthouse, where you can take a guided tour (limited access; advance arrangements required).  

Additional Information

Hours: Half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset
Map: See here.
Fees: Entrance 
Dogs: Allowed on leash in developed campground and day-use areas

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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