McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
McWay Falls

Quick Stats


☆ 82
Big Sur, California
36.159042, -121.671637

Ideal Time
Ideal Season
Crowd Level

Spring, Fall
9/10 (Heavy)

McWay Falls


McWay is the poster child for Big Sur and consequently is the most crowded and touristy spot in Big Sur. The experience is pretty underwhelming, from the newly installed "pay to park" lot, to the 0.1 mile walk to the viewpoint, to the literal bus loads of people in the summertime trying to catch a glimpse of the falls. With all that said, this is one of those things you can't not see when you're in Big Sur. So here are the insider tips to help you enjoy nature the way it was intended....peacefully and hopefully isolated. Big Sur is super day trip-able from San Francisco so the large majority of traffic funneling into Big Sur is coming from the north. Like clockwork, these people somehow almost always show up right at 9am. If you are camping in Big Sur (which we recommend....view plaskett creek ridge) then you got a head start on everybody. Start north at Bixby Bridge for sunrise and work your way south throughout the morning and you should be able to stay in front of the crowd. If you're not camping and one of those people leaving from San Francisco.....wake up earlier. Or you know, don't.  If everyone wakes up earlier, then we are all screwed. So you and only you (reading this now) should beat the rush.

Once you make it to McWay Falls you are usually good. The traffic doesn't seem to persist past this point so you can take your sweet time from their or just nap on one of the multiple hidden beaches south of McWay after waking up at the 🍑 crack of dawn. Other than that there really isn't much else to report on McWay. It's that waterfall you've seen from that same walkway overlook. Nevertheless, pictures never fully do it justice and it is one of the coolest falls in the US, dropping directly into the ocean. But just get there before almost-insta-famous sally gets there.

Lastly, Big Sur weather varies dramatically and can look totally different from time of day to season.  However, we have found that the marine layer is really intense during the summer making for more moody views and a crazy sea of clouds if you can get above them…check out Plaskett Creek Ridge for reference.  But if you despise clouds try and go in the spring or fall where it's still pretty warm but substantially less cloud coverage.

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McWay Falls
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