Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Falls Trail is reopening on June 18 after suffering devastating fire damage 13 years ago. The massive Basin Complex Fire tore through 162,818 acres of Big Sur coastline in June 2008. Considered one of the worst California wildfires, the lightning-sparked blaze destroyed much of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail’s infrastructure, including bridges, railings, steps, signs, and walls.
Now thanks to a combined effort from California State Parks and the conservation group Save the Redwoods League, the trail will reopen to the public on June 18 and will look better than ever before, with improved access for hikers and bolstered ecosystems for the trail’s wildlife inhabitants.
One of the most impressive new features of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail is the scenic 70-foot pedestrian expansion bridge spanning the Pfeiffer Redwood Creek ravine. The bridge takes foot traffic away from the sensitive streambed to improve the natural habitat of the aquatic ecosystem below, and gives hikers incredible views of the ravine and waterfalls. Additional improvements along the trail include the replacement of more than 4500 square feet of asphalt and concrete with a more aesthetically pleasing, and ultimately more sustainable, dirt trail.
Take a magical road trip on California’s Highway 1
Speaking ahead of the reopening, Jim Doran, California State Park’s program manager for Monterey District Roads and Trails, said “before the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, this was one of the most popular trails in Big Sur — a destination for California tourists. With the trail’s many improvements completed, we’re happy to welcome visitors once again.”
The newly renovated trail 0.75-mile Pfeiffer Falls trail completes a 1.5-mile loop with the Valley View trail. According to the League, visitors will find new interpretive panels along the trail to educate them on redwoods and climate change, the Big Sur watershed, and the partnership between California State Parks and the US Forest Service.