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A hike through dense redwood groves that gives way to coastal views and chaparral-covered hillsides.

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1,618' 493 m


267' 81 m


1,431' 436 m


1,430' 436 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (18°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features 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.


Land Manager: California State Parks

Shared By:

Quin TCM

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 8 votes


  4.6 from 8 votes
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6 Views Last Month
2,657 Since Apr 7, 2015



Looking east from the Ewoldsen Trail, enjoy this great view.
Mar 31, 2017 near Carmel…, CA
Ewoldsen Trail.
Apr 7, 2015 near Carmel…, CA
Ewoldsen Trail.
Apr 7, 2015 near Carmel…, CA
Canyon Falls
Apr 7, 2015 near Carmel…, CA
The Ewoldsen Trail bends and curves its way through the mountains.
Mar 31, 2017 near Carmel…, CA
View at end of Overlook Trail.
Apr 7, 2015 near Carmel…, CA



Current Trail Conditions

Bad / Closed 97 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Feb 28, 2021
Marc Daniel
With Mila — 9h 30m
Feb 18, 2019
Dan Padden
Awesome trail. Spectacular views of redwoods and ocean. Not recommended for beginners or those with disabilities as multiple downed trees on trail. 6mi
Jan 1, 2019
Demian Ford
Trail closed.
Aug 2, 2018
Helene Gaglioti
May 27, 2018
Anna Thoma
Jan 3, 2018
Samay Shah
Aug 3, 2017
Taylor H
Jul 12, 2017
Andrew B