Partington Cove
1.5 miles     400 ft
1 Jan 2012

A short sweet hike leading to a beach and a promontory which can be explored by careful scrambling. Awesome views of rocky Pacific shoreline.

Location: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Elevation Profile
Trip Planning

Trail Maps

» Trail Map by Trails around Partington Cove area are clearly shown in this map.

» Official State Parks Brochure: A decent map that shows all the trails in the park


The route is well described in an article at HikingInBigSur.

Summary: From the trail head, descend towards the Pacific Ocean along a wide dirt road to reach a fork. The trail on the right goes down to a rocky beach. The trail on the left goes over a bridge over Partington Creek, then goes through a tunnel and reaches Partington Cove. The trail ends in a rocky promonotory which may be explored by walking and scrambling. It is possible to go all the way to the other side of the promontory to (see the Google Map with GPS tracks).

Tan Bark Trail: You may complement the Partington Cove hike by walking along Tan Bark Trail in a cool shaded redwood canyon that lies on the other side of Highway 1. For the first 0.4 miles, Tan Bark Trail is shaded and meanders next to a cool creek, in sharp contrast to the unshaded Partington Cove Trail. You may take a short walk (0.8 miles round-trip) or you may complete a strenuous 6.3-mile, 2000-ft loop (Tan Bark Trail → Tin House Road → Highway 1) described here.


Location: Along Highway 1, at the northern end of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park . No street address. Parking area is visible in Google Maps if you zoom in sufficiently.

Directions: The trail head is next to a bend in Highway 1, two miles north of the main entrance for Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It is 6.1 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur. A cattle gate on the right marks the trail head for Partington Cove. On the other side of Highway 1 lies the trail head for Tan Bark Trail. It is best to study the contours of Highway 1 to figure out the exact location of the trail head.

Google Maps:

Parking Fees: None (last visited: Jan 2012)

Capacity: About 20 cars can be parked at the trail head and along turnouts on both sides of Highway 1.

Latitude: 36.177046     Longitude: -121.693727

1. Rocky Beach

A wide dirt path leads to a fork. The trail on the right leads to a rocky beach.

2. Partington Cove

The trail on the left of the fork goes over a bridge, then through a tunnel to reach Partington Cove which offers great views of the rocky Pacific shoreline.

3. Scrambling

Exploring the rock formations near Partington Cove requires careful scrambling.

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