Our first destination was just a few hours away from San Jose out on the California coast, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. This is a great gem of a park hidden away in the southernmost redwood forest. The park has a small lodge where you can grab a coffee and enjoy breakfast on those mornings you don’t feel like doing the dishes. The lodge was decorated for Christmas and was certainly charming. The staff was terrific and you could tell that they all really enjoyed their work.
The area were we camped was situated across from the river. The site had the “in the woods” feeling that we really like. The first couple nights were very quiet in the park with only a handful of other campers. The peace and quiet was a terrific start to the winter adventure where we built our first campfire and enjoyed a bottle of 2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Savignon.
The only word of advice here is that the “premium” sites on the river seem to be a bit more private than those on the inner loop. All of the sites on the inner loop end up converging in the same open area. Although the driveways are not too close to your neighbors, your fire ring and theirs are in the same clearing area. On one of the busy nights a family with a tent posted up just behind our trailer and within 15’ of our fire ring.
As for the river, the water level was quite low when we visited in early December 2017 but the winter rains would certainly change that in short order. Last year the storms were so severe here that major landslides occurred and washed out several sections of the Pacific Coast Highway and closed several of the local attractions and hiking routes. The road to Pfeiffer Big Sur was open from the North, but just a short 22 miles south the PCH was closed. All traffic must turn back around and head up to Monterrey and go around the landslide area.
The time we spent at Pfeiffer seemed to fly right by. We rode our bikes around the park in the mornings and hiked through the redwoods along the open trails in the afternoon. We didn’t spend as much time as we wanted exploring the coastline and beaches but that just means we will have to return!