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3.5
13 votes

Sun Portal at Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur, California USA

$
$$$$
Budget
Open Now
Tue 12a-11:59p
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
    Accessible

“an incredible light beam shines through this sea arch”

At this sea arch, a natural sun portal is formed between December and January every year. This is a photographer's dream location and shot, so be sure to add it to your bucket list. Best to wait for a big wave to roll in through the arch then take photos of the light beam that bounces off the spray, illuminating the archway. I'd recommend arriving about 2 hours before the sun sets to get set up in a prime location. The light beam starts appearing about 40 minutes before sunset and gets more radiant closer to the setting. Big Sur's most popular coastal access point, Pfeiffer Beach is hard to find if you've never been to it before. The trick is locating unmarked Sycamore Canyon Road. Here's a tip - Sycamore Canyon Road is the only paved, ungated road west of Highway One between the Big Sur post office and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Once you find the turnout, make a very sharp turn. Then follow the road for about two miles until it ends. Drive carefully - this is narrow and winding road. It is unsuitable for trailer traffic. From a large parking area at the end of the road, a short, well-marked path leads to the beach. Cliffs tower above this breathtaking stretch of sand, and a large arch-shaped rock formation just off-shore makes for some dazzling sunsets.

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Reviewed by
snorfendiggle

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
June 16, 2015
Rated 5.0

It isn't free, I think it's $5-$10 but that pass will get you into all the parks in that area for the day :) also check out the sand while you're there ;)

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 315 Reviews
  • 325 Helpful
September 19, 2014
Rated 3.0

Beautiful place, but good luck getting a spot if you want to take a photo. This place gets slammed.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 419 Helpful
July 02, 2014
Rated 4.0

Make sure your timing is spot on and arrive plenty early cause it will blow your mind! You can start to see the beam of light almost 2 hours before sunset!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
volfan007

  • 10 Reviews
  • 10 Helpful
May 29, 2014

You just can't imagine the scene! put it on the top of your list! !

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
smallKat

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
March 10, 2014

Get there right at sunset and you won't be sorry. The beach can get really crowded during that time, but if you are even an amateur photographer you can get great shots! http://beachforbaby.com/portfolio-item/pfeiffer-beach

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
kevinjkydd

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
December 16, 2013

Not mentioned is that Pfeiffer Beach has patches of purple sand from the manganese in the surrounding cliffs. Very cool place.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
lindsaybean91

  • 3 Reviews
  • 15 Helpful
November 20, 2013

The description does not lie. It's a photographer's dream. there literally was like 5 people on the beach near sunset with cameras on tripods dressed like they just stepped out of national geographic. I would be lying if I didn't want to ask them all if they were indeed from NG. The road was weird to find since there is no service but it literally is on a sneaky one car road with a very sharp turn right after the official Pfieffer park sign. Once you carefully make your way down it is 5 dollars so make sure you have those dolla dolla bills yo, on you. The beach at sunset was another world and one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever been. The sun portal did not disappoint but in fact it's sister portal in the rock to the left of it you can climb back into it some what which was fun, I dare say. All in all, a little searching and five dollars well spent.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 419 Helpful
October 01, 2014
Rated 4.0

I have heard lately that this photo spot has been getting even more jammed then when I was there with people trying to get the classic photo! Had to bring my vote down a # because of that!

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Sun Portal at Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur, California
USA

Hours

Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm

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  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible

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