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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Camping Guide

Are you interested in going camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Big Sur, California? If you desire an affordable stay and more of the outdoors with a little less luxury, this is your campground!

As you camp here, you’ll get scenic views, watch beautiful wildlife, and camp in simple conditions.

Continue reading to learn about what you’ll experience on your Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping trip!

pfeiffer big sur state park camping

What to Expect

Advanced Reservations

Because Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping is very popular, reserve a site six months in advance from today’s date. You also have this option during the winter!

Online and phone reservations are available 24/7 but not within 48 hours of your arrival. Note that some campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan accordingly.

No Hookups for RVs

RV camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a thing, but there are no hookups available. However, there is a dump station, laundry services, and potable water at your convenience.

No Free Beach Access

Pfeiffer Beach is only a mile south of the park entrance, but it’s neither a California state park nor part of one. You’ll have to pay a separate fee to go there.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Camping

Big Sur Campsites

In total, there are 189 standard and premium campsites on or near the Big Sur River. Some campsites are hike-and-bike sites, which campers access strictly on foot or bike.

  • Vehicle Camping: The maximum RV length the park will accept is 27 feet. Campers and motorhomes of up to 32 feet are welcome as well.
  • Tent Camping: Pitch a 3–4-season tent if you have no preferred season for tent camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. There are also two walk-in tent-only sites available during its peak season (April to October) for group camping.

Each site has a parking area, picnic table, and fire pit, with fresh water, showers, and toilets throughout the campground.

The rates are affordable, with riverfront sites costing a little more. Also, discounts are available for seniors and for veterans, and people with disabilities if they have state park passes.

Big Sur Cabin

This cabin is as primitive as it gets; it has no electricity, heat, running water, or bathroom. Instead of a kitchen, a fire ring is available for cooking. Up to four guests can sleep here.

The adjoining campsite allows only those who’ve booked the cabin to stay there, allowing a maximum of six campers onsite.

Big Sur Lodge

For a little bit of luxury, reserve one of the 61 cottage-style guest rooms at the Big Sur Lodge. Its amenities include a conference center, outdoor bar, gift shop, grocery store, and café.

pfeiffer big sur state park camping

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Camping Nearby

Having to reserve spots six months in advance is a hint that the campground sells out often. In some cases, you’ll want to consider camping out of the park but close enough to visit.

  • Riverside Campground and Cabins: You’ll have your options of 34 sites for tents and RVs and 12 cabins. Unlike Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, if you come in an RV, water and electrical hookups are available. But like the park, Riverside is also pet-friendly!
  • Ventana Campground: This is a tent-only campground, so RV camping isn’t an option here. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring with two modern bathhouses nearby.

Things to Do at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park


There are many trails throughout the park. Here are a few popular ones to try out during your Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping trip:

  • Pfeiffer Falls Trail: This easy year-round 1.3-mile trail is well-known for its waterfall. At the fork, the left side leads to the Valley View Overlook, where you’ll view the Big Sur River Valley. The right side leads you to the 60-foot Pfeiffer Falls.
  • Buzzard’s Roost: Another park favorite is this moderate 2.6-mile loop. After going through the redwoods, you’ll receive panoramic views of Sycamore Canyon, the mountains, and the Pacific Ocean.
  • River and Warden’s Path Loops: The only trail loops you may bring your dog on. With or without strollers and wheelchairs, walk along the Big Sur river bank and pass the Redwood Deck viewing platform.


The paved roads may not be like the trails, but it’s more exciting if you’re riding a bike or scooter! Don’t forget to wear a helmet as you cruise along and view the park’s surroundings.


If Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping is on your schedule for the summer, swim in Sur River! It’s the park’s popular family activity, so book a riverfront campsite and have fun as you cool off.


The park has restrictions on freshwater and ocean fishing. You may engage in catch-and-release steelhead fishing, but depending on the season, there are certain conditions to follow.

Call the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Steelhead Fishing Hotline if you have questions about fishing.

Wildlife at Pfeiffer Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping isn’t complete without wildlife watching. Here you’ll see bobcats, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and black-tail deer. Birdwatchers will get to see dippers, kingfishers, wild turkeys, and even condors.

Only enjoy them at a distance, and please don’t feed them! Use the park’s metal storage bins to store your food so you don’t attract the animals.

Ewoldsen Nature Center

To learn more about the wildlife while camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, visit the Ewoldsen Nature Center. You’ll not only learn about the park’s fauna and flora but also experience condor flight patterns through the digital flight station.

Vegetation and Geography of Pfeiffer Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur is wooded with many trees like redwoods, maples, cottonwoods, willows, conifers, sycamores, and alders. Take a self-guided tour on the Big Sur Nature Trail, and you’ll learn about the park’s native and protected plants.

The park is considered a mini-Yosemite national park not only for its wildlife and vegetation but also for its landscape. It covers 1,006 acres on the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, providing campers with stunning views.

pfeiffer big sur state park camping

Be Sure to Camp at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park!

Yes, sir, you can’t refuse a simple, beautiful, and affordable camping experience. Book your Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park camping trip and prepare to soak up the sights as you relax.

Read up on more state park camping options for your best camping trip yet!