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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Banish the Big City in Big Sur

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3. What to Do


Above the Waterfall Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  

Though you’ll be tempted to spend your entire weekend spa-ing, don’t miss out on some of the West Coast’s most spectacular trails. Novice outdoorsmen can easily manage the largely flat, half-mile Waterfall Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park—the payoff is a milky-white falls that tumbles straight onto the beach. For practiced enthusiasts, there’s the rugged ten-mile trek that starts at Pine Ridge trailhead and leads to Sykes Hot Springs, a 100-degree pool alongside the Big Sur River.

Much harder to find is the bucolic Partington Canyon Trail, located on the western side of Highway 1, two miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance, and unmarked except for an iron gate. A short but fairly steep walk takes you through a 50-foot rock tunnel and ends at a century-old boat launch that was used by bootleggers during Prohibition. Bring a bathing suit and a picnic (Big Sur Bakery will pack one for you) and spend of the rest of the day watching seals and sea otters frolic in the emerald kelp forest just offshore.


May 16, 2007 issue of New York Magazine

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