Pfeiffer Beach: Big Sur’s Hidden Wonder

Pfeiffer Beach isn’t exactly easy to find, but scanning Big Sur’s Cabrillo Highway for an obscure road that you will miss if you blink is certainly worthwhile. Accessing Pfeiffer Beach does require a bumpy journey down a curvy unpaved road that isn’t suited for larger vehicles, If you don’t get hopelessly lost or succumb to motion sickness, you will be greeted by a stunning beach that Big Sur enthusiasts have treasured for generations.

Pfeiffer Beach features a magnificent purple and orange rock formation called Keyhole Arch that looks as though it was transported from the land of Oz. If you view Keyhole Arch at dusk, you may be able to see a stunning orange and pink sunset through a petite opening in the purple rock. The most stunning Keyhole Arch sunsets can be viewed in the winter, when the muted light of the sun appears to be perfectly framed by the dainty center of the arch.

Visitors may also scale a series of small cliffs that face Pfeiffer Beach for a sweeping view of the ocean and the surrounding landscape. Pfeiffer Beach features deposits of mauve-colored sand that looks as though it has been continually doused with red wine. Mineral deposits give Keyhole Arch and the sands of Pfeiffer Beach its purplish hue. Pfeiffer Beach appears its most purple in the wake of a heavy rainstorm.

For those willing to explore one of Big Sur’s lesser traveled roads, Pfeiffer Beach is a relatively quiet stretch of sand and sea that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Keyhole Arch may be small, but the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean cascading through the arch’s center is enough to mesmerize visitors for many hours. You haven’t truly experienced the magic of Big Sur until you have explored every last hidden wonder.

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