It is located alongside the famous Scenic Highway One just about 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Historically, the name Big Sur was derived from that unexplored and unmapped wilderness area which lays along the coast south of Monterey. The proximity of the Pacific Ocean provides for a temperate climate. Winters are mild, and rainy days are interspersed with periods of bright sunshine. An average rainfall of over 50 inches fills the many streams that flow down the redwood-lined canyons. Coastal fog cools the summer mornings, but it usually lifts by early afternoon. Follow the Trail around the cliffs above McWay Cove to a waterfall-facing viewpoint. Watch as the water spills out of a rock face and splashes onto the isolated and inaccessible beach. Continue to the end of the trail. From here view the relics of a one-time habitation now called Waterfall House. McWay Falls and the intense coastal scenery is best perceived in the afternoon when the setting sun would paint the contiguous cliffs and trees a warm yellowish-orange light while bringing out the blue colors of the water.
The scenic assets and the natural splendor of the coast which result from the imposing geography, the rich vegetative masterpieces, and the dramatic meetings of land and sea are the area’s greatest single fascination to the public. Big Sur has conquered a worldwide status for its spectacular beauty. Hiking, backpacking and scenic driving are among the major recreational activities.
The poison oak is a toxic plant which is found in Big Sur in abundance. Exposing yourself with these plants can spread the effects by hands, clothing, pets, or equipment which has come in contact with the plant or from the smoke spawned when burning it. Much of the reactive substance can be removed by immediate washing with cool water and soap.
Plants, animals, rocks and artifacts of Big Sur’s (Mcway Falls) cultural and natural history are protected by law and should not be disturbed. Rockhounding and collection of driftwood and firewood may be allowed in certain designated areas.
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