“80-foot waterfall at a secluded beach cove”
McWay Falls is an 80-foot waterfall located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that flows year-round. This waterfall is one of only two in the region that are close enough to the ocean to be referred to as "tidefalls", the other being Alamere Falls. The source of the waterfall is McWay Creek and is one of the few waterfalls that empties directly into the ocean. Originally the waterfall cascaded directly into the ocean but after a 1983 fire and 1985 landslides, the topography of McWay Cove was altered, forming an inaccessible beach. The waterfall now meets the ocean when the tide is in. On the edge of McWay Creek is a small building which houses a Pelton wheel, with signs that provide historical facts. Christopher McWay homesteaded the canyon in the late 1870s and eventually McWay's Saddle Rock Ranch was sold in the 1920s to Lathrop Brown and his wife, Helen Hooper Brown, who built two houses at Waterfall Overlook. In 1961 the approximately 1,800 acre property was donated by Helen Hooper Brown to the state for a park, to be named for Julia Pfeiffer Burns. The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is located 37 miles south of Carmel. Near its parking lot begins the half-mile Waterfall Trail, a dirt path heading westward toward the ocean, to a short tunnel under Highway 1, a right turn to a trail in the cliffside overlooking a small cove, to the sign "Overlook". Although it can be viewed via a trail from above, the beach and scenic cove below is difficult to access by land, however, it could be easily reached by boat. Even with this possibility, it is not recommended that people visit the beach as a safety precaution due to crumbling cliffs and to preserve the environment. Just upstream is 30-foot McWay Creek Falls, and on a smaller tributary is Canyon Trail Falls.
This waterfall cove is absolutely breathtaking, though you can't actually get down to the falls, there are plenty of places to take beautiful pictures of it. There are two campsites at the park and they're incredibly popular, usually booked up to 6 months. However, you can always visit the State Parks website and see if there's a cancellation. So, definitely book early!
Such a beautiful place! Loved it. I only wish you were able to go down the beach but I understand such an amazing place could be ruined if a lot of people were to be able to go down there. Good for pictures though. Catch a sunset for a beautiful light.
Very pretty but also very crowded.
Hey wondering about the campsite in the area anyone can help me?
As beautiful as it looks in pictures! However, at the time I visited about seven or more ppl had gone down to the beach level and totally ruined the 'isolated and pristine" view I was expecting.
Absolutely breathtaking! Theres not too many beach scenes that even compare to this one!
I really enjoyed the view and the well traveled path to go see it. Though I really wished we could've gone down to the actual beach. Looks like the only possible way was to reserve the nearby campsite and scamper down a treacherous looking cliff.
This is absolutely amazing. :)
I grew up around this area and have seen this many times, and every time it is amazing. It NEVER gets old. Be sure to have your camera ready!!
I need to see this before I die!
Be the first to add a review to the McWay Falls.
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 7:00 pm
Is there a problem with this listing? Let us know.
Own or Manage This Location?
Claim this listing to keep your
information up to date.