by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
Pfeiffer Big Sur
Brochure of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (SP) in California. Published by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is loved for the serenity of its forests and the pristine, fragile beauty of the Big Sur River as it meanders California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (831) 667-2315. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. through the park. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov SaveTheRedwoods.org/csp Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park 47225 Highway 1 Big Sur, CA 93920 (831) 667-2315 • www.parks.ca.gov/pbssp © 2013 California State Parks (Rev. 2015) Big Sur River O n the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the peaks of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park tower high above the Big Sur River Gorge. This is a place where the land, the sea, and forests of giant redwoods adjoin in a rugged landscape jigsaw puzzle. In winter, temperatures range from the 20s to the 50s. Summer mornings bring fog, which usually burns off by midday. PARK HISTORY The Esselen and Rumsien People Early archaeological evidence of the Esselen and Rumsien (also known as Costanoan) presence on the Central Coast dates back about 8,000 years. Though physical remnants of these prehistoric Native Americans have not been well documented, a few items discovered in the area — projectile points, bedrock mortars, and various shells — have been attributed to them. Esselen and Rumsien people still live in the Big Sur area, where they honor and practice the traditions of their ancestors. Big Sur Settlers In 1834, Governor José Figueroa granted acreage to Juan Bautista Alvarado. Alvarado’s El Sur Rancho stretched from the River Chiquito del Sur (in today’s Carmel Valley) to below the Big Sur River. Mexico ceded California to the U.S. in 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War. Beginning around 1862, the area was settled by people whose names — Pfeiffer, Partington, Post, Gamboa — are still found on local street signs and businesses. The park’s Manuel Peak was named for a member of the Chumash tribe, Immanuel Innocente, head cattle wrangler at El Sur Rancho. In 1868, Innocente moved his family north from San Buenaventura to the Big Sur area. That year they bought property along the river in what is now the park. Michael and Barbara Pfeiffer arrived here in 1869, settling at the mouth of Sycamore Canyon to ranch, farm, and keep bees. Their son, John, lived along the Big Sur River, near the site of the Homestead cabin. In the early 20th century, a developer offered to buy some of John Pfeiffer’s land, planning to build a subdivision. Pfeiffer refused. Instead, he sold 680 acres — which became the nucleus of today’s park — to the State of California in 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps The Great Depression was in full force in the early 1930s. One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first official acts was to create the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC employed young men to develop recreational areas and conserve natural resources. From 1933 to 1942, nearly 2.5 million CCC corpsmen built roads, trails, and structures in more than 800 state and federal parks and planted nearly three billion trees. The men here at CCC Camp S.P. 12 built campgrounds, buildings, fences, a footbridge, and trails in this park. Their wood and stone “park rustic” style used redwood lumber and river rocks as building materials. Between construction jobs, they tackled fires and problematic poison oak. Before and after Highway 1: In 1937, the new highway was completed, forever changing the serene ranch lands. Following World War II, the state highway brought travelers enthralled by the beauty of the area to the park. These photos from 1954 show remote Big Sur’s increasing popularity. Interpretive hike Big Sur Lodge Swimming hole at Big Sur River the creeks. On hillsides, manzanita, buckeye, and coast live oak have spread. Scientists are concerned that increased temperatures and decreased fog from climate change threaten the survival of the coast redwoods forest. Basin Complex fire, 2008 NATURAL HISTORY Wildlife — Cooper’s hawks, spotted owls, and purple martins perform sky acrobatics. Endangered or threatened animals include California condors and steelhead. On the ground and in the air, ringtails, bobcats, Steller’s jays, gray foxes, and belted kingfishers go about their business. Plants — Coast redwoods, near the southern end of their natural range, flourish in creek drainages and along the Big Sur River. At their feet are ferns, redwood sorrel, and other shade-tolerant plants. Bigleaf maples, sycamores, alders, cottonwoods, and willows grow along the river and The Basin Complex Fire On June 21, 2008, lightning strikes caused a wildfire that burned more than 160,000 acres along the Big Sur coast. Still-recovering parts of the park may not yet be available for use. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES Big Sur Station — A visitor center for the area parks is south at 47555 Highway 1. Big Sur Lodge — The lodge concession has 61 rooms, cottages, a conference center, a cafe, a gift shop, and a grocery store. Visit www.bigsurlodge.com for details. Day Use — Valley View Trail’s east fork leads to a 60-foot waterfall. The many miles of park trails adjoin 200 miles of trails in the nearby Ventana Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest. Visitors may play softball on the field near Big Sur River. Camping — More than 150 recreational vehicle and tent sites lie along the Big Sur River. Hike/bike sites and two group tent sites are available to campers; no RVs are allowed in these sites. Reserve campsites up to seven months ahead at www.parks. ca.gov/pbssp or call (800) 444-7275. Campfires are held in the evenings. Ask for an interpretive program schedule. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Several campsites, the picnic areas, and the restrooms are accessible. For accessibility updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. PLEASE REMEMBER • All park features are protected by law and may not be disturbed. Stay on trails to avoid poison oak throughout the park. • Protect fish nests in the river; do not move rocks, branches, or other materials. • Please do not feed wildlife. • Except for service animals, pets may not use trails, the river, or other natural areas. All animals must be on a six-foot leash. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park 11 miles south of Big Sur on Highway 1 Big Sur 93920 (831) 667-2315 • Andrew Molera State Park 4 miles to the north on Highway 1 Big Sur 93920 (831) 667-2315 This park receives support in part from a nonprofit organization. For more information, contact: Big Sur Natural History Association P.O. Box 274, Big Sur, CA 93920 Belted kingfisher 3200 00 24 3000 2800 1 os rail tT C 1000 1 AT E PROP E RT Y Campground Campground: Group Campground: Hike & Bike Laundry 100 1200 0 ar s d’ Ro ver Ri os t Big Sur Station Bi g Su No Public Access 800 600 Pin e Rid ge a Tr 0 il P Tr a 1400 0 160 il S TAT E 600 0 0 0 Fort Hunter Liggett 0 30 Km 00 Restrooms Supplies Trailhead 1200 Viewpoint Hearst San Simeon SP & SHM 20 Mi 22 1800 100 800 00 Showers PA R K 80 P R O P E RT Y 400 P R I V AT E 20 0 160 60 Picnic Area: Group RV Sanitation Station 1400 Andrew Molera SP 400 Parking 800 1000 1200 600 r 00 ue l Locked Gate 1400 il M an Homestead Cabin 0 Campfire Center 14 zz 0 600 40 Buzzard’s Roost Colonial Tree 600 Nature Center 0 Bridge: Seasonal Day-Use Lot 4 L O S P A D R E S N AT I O N A L F O R E S T 800 P Bu 80 40 Bridge Homestead Cabin 00 0 0 P 16 80 60 e 1000 Tra 00 Pf Big Sur Lodge iff BIG SUR er Mt 10 Lodge Cabins Park Entrance Accessible Feature Big Sur Station Group Camp A Group Camp B Trail: Accessible 1800 Cree k 00 1400 12 l Trai PRIV il Tra i dge Pine R View Pfeiffer Falls r Su er Riv Softball Field B 2200 Valley View A il Tra rge Go Ro 0 Liewald Flat 800 Trail Day-Use Lot 3 P 00 y River 0 d ’s ar 00 600 Big Val le 400 P 22 200 60 2400 400 Sur Paved Road 2600 Bu zz 00 120 10 800 1 14 Major Road Big Sur Station to Monterey PFEIFFER Legend 00 20 00 22 Nature Center to Los Padres National Forest el T nu P Day-Use Lot 2 rl Redwood Grove P Day-Use Lot 1 00 S t a t e Park Kiosk 32 00 0 Pfeiffer Big Sur Trl re 18 60 tu Na 0 Bi g 00 28 0 0 18 00 Mt M a 00 00 Big Sur R iver 12 00 80 26 30 10 1600 1400 © 2013 California State Parks (Rev. 2015) 14 1 0.5 Miles 0 0.8 Kilometers 0 to Lucia 1600 00 00 10 10 00 1400 1