“A hike through dense redwood groves that gives way to coastal views and chaparral-covered hillsides.”
— QuinTCM TCM
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
The hike follows McWay Creek through dense redwood groves until ascending into chaparral-covered hillsides. There are several creek crossings protected by bridges, as well as a waterfall and expansive views of the California Coast.
Expect some elevation gain on uneven, rocky trails filled with plenty of roots. However, these conditions also help keep most hikers away.
Need to Know
Bring cash for parking or park for free along Highway 1. However, be careful of passing cars (it is a highway after all) and don't park near no parking signs, you'll get ticketed!
From the parking lot and just beyond the bathrooms, find the sign indicating Ewoldsen Trail
. The trail initially passes through a picnic area with several picnic tables and BBQ stations. At the end of the picnic area is a small water crossing protected by some wood boards laid across the creek. After crossing the creek, continue along the trail until you reach the Canyon Falls Trail
. Either hike the short .2 miles to Canyon Falls now or wait until the end of your hike after completing the loop.
Continuing on, head up to the point where the two ends of the loop meet at a sign indicating "Ewoldsen Loop" and either head left or right. Either way you are hiking up! After winding your way up the canyon walls through various groves of redwoods, the trail comes to a junction that continues up to the Overlook Trail
. Head on up and enjoy expansive views of Big Sur and the California coast. This is also a good place to relax and grab a bite to eat.
After soaking it all in, head back to the Ewoldsen Loop and continue along it, descending back to the point where the two ends of the loop meet. Head back to the Canyon Falls Trail
and either skip it if you already saw it or hike out to it now. Continue back to the parking lot.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of wildflowers interspersed among large redwoods and ferns. If you are lucky, you may also spot some California Condors flying among the redwood trees!
History & Background
There are some remains of an old homestead. Near the beginning of the trail is a building housing an old Pelton Wheel that was used to power the house and other equipment associated with a ranch that operated in the area.