Partington Cove
Partington Cove
4.5

Top ways to experience Partington Cove and nearby attractions

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles98 reviews
Excellent
68
Very good
27
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Waddler
York, UK12,134 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
We parked at the entrance (though there's not loads of parking space). The walk started interestingly as we were in the swirling morning fog which kept coming in and out.

However, before the walk got to its main event (e.g. the cove or the beach) we turned around. Maybe we needn't have, but basically you couldn't proceed without the vegetation touching you and we were concerned about poison ivy and oak etc. We couldn't identify it, so turned around. Could be it was fine, but we just didn't know.
Written September 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Megan D
San Diego, CA9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Family
While the hike itself was beautiful and enjoyable we came back to our rental car to find the passenger window smashed in and a few things taken including my purse which had my keys in it. We were gone at most a half hour. We had to end our trip early, drive the 9 hour drive home on the freeway with no passenger window, and pay for the damages to the rental car. It gets worse... the thieves came all the way down to our house in southern california two days later and stole my car right out of the driveway since they had my keys. We have since changed the locks to our house and beefed up our security system but it makes me sick this would happen. I talked to some locals and the police when we were in Big Sur and this is becoming a problem in the area the past few years though they feel it is nothing more than windows being smashed and petty theft...not a felony which it has now become. They said the Partington Cove trail specifically is targeted. I don't see me ever coming back to Big Sur knowing scum like this is preying on tourists who are just out trying to enjoy nature. Unbelievable.
Written July 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TNKaz
Kingston, TN390 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
We spent 1 hour walking the Partington Cove Trail (almost 1 mile RT) We loved this area! After passing a metal gate, you hike down a fairly steep road. Once you get down, there are 3 ways to go. The first left goes to the canyon and a small waterfall. However, there was a large downed tree on that trail so we did not do it. The second and third ways to go involve taking a right from a junction on the main trail. Then take a left to go through a tunnel and out to a viewpoint of a beautiful cove. There's a bench there to sit a spell and enjoy the views. The third way is to backtrack to the last junction (where you turned off for the tunnel) and now turn left to the boulder beach. The trail to the beach is overgrown in places. Beware of poison oak: Leaves of 3, Let it Be! We had on long pants. When we got to the beach we sat on a large rock for about 10 minutes and watched the incoming crashing waves. Loved it! It's best to be back a bit from the waves. A sign at the trailhead warned of life-threatening waves and surge. Return to your car by going back to the main trail, take a left, and continue hiking up the steep road back to your car. We highly recommend this stop along Hwy 1. Traveling south on Hwy 1, the pullout for parking is 9 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Entrance or exactly 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant. Traveling north on Hwy 1, the pullout for parking is 2 miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park turnoff.
Written June 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mobpas
Almaty, Kazakhstan129 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Family
Short hike (1/2 mile one way) down the road and you will see old docking place. Very easy hike for anybody, recommend for kids and also, don't forget to turn to the beach after the cave - it is nice and quiet. There is no parking place or any signs. The pullout is just 2 miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park turnoff, or 54.6 miles north of the Hearst Castle turnoff.
Written December 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Beverlydbichons
San Carlos, CA83 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Couples
Took this walk as a bit of a lark.Loved the vistas, then, on the way back, took a tail to the right.Enterered a tunnel, then walked to the end where there was a bench.Watched whales breaching for forty five minutes, breathtaking!
Written March 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marc B
Anchorage, AK161 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Couples
We visited here as part of our drive down the California central coast. The place is tricky to find because the signage is almost non-existent. The top of the trail is located on the western inside of a bend in Highway One, 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, and 2 miles north of the entrance to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (across from McWay Falls). At the inland point of the curve, there is a pullout on the coastal side, barely, with room for a few cars.

The trail head is just a steel fence with space to walk around it. The trail is actually the old road down the hill on which those who constructed the wharfage and tunnel carried tanbark to ships.

The trail is somewhat steep but pretty good, though the road is washed out in a few spots. You go down about ¾ mile and 270 feet in elevation.

At the bottom, the trail splits three ways. The left trail takes you up Partington Creek a ways. The right fork takes you out to a rocky beach at Partington Point. The middle trail takes you over a bridge across Partington Creek, and a little ways further you enter a 60-foot tunnel to access Partington Cove. There is a nice wooden bench at the end, and you can see remnants of wharf footings on the rocks.

Round trip is about a mile, and the walk out is somewhat steep. But what a great experience.
Written March 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

costaricagregg
Glenwood Springs, CO326 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Couples
First off you have to find the parking pull-over - not really a lot. If you go past Julia Pfeiffer state park going south you have gone too far. The hike is about a mile and 300 feet down to the ocean. Great view of the waves crashing on the rocks. There is an old tunnel that goes to an inlet where they used to unload cargo from the ships- no roads to the Big Sur area at that time. Also, it was of course used for smuggling during prohibition.

There is also a great trail on the other side of the road - good forest and stream through the redwoods. Also, a turn off spur to the Tin House.
Written December 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jdam24
San Francisco, CA23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Friends
This trail is easy to hike and well maintained. It splits off, one through the tunnel and the other over on the rocky beach side. You can tackle both easily within the hour.

This trail is directly across from the Tanbark trail (another great hike, but longer and much more difficult than the Partington Cove trail). Parking is off to the side of the road, but it's never too busy even in the summer time when I last went.

The views are fantastic and you'll find a few coves there. Although it's short and easy to get to, it wasn't very busy. The area feels private and exclusive and we liked that as we had time to really just sit there and listen to the waves crash against the rocks.

You get a different view of Big Sur here, so I would definitely put this on the list when you're there.
Written December 30, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark B
Hermitage, PA26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
If you are driving through Big Sur and do not have much time for a hike, this is your Hike! You see the cove, a really cool tunnel, the ocean waves crashing on the rocks, and a little redwood forest with a stream.
Written October 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ducklakedaniel
Olympia, WA231 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Couples
One of the highlights of our venture out to Big Sur that we nearly missed!
Pros- A good stretch of the legs. a well groomed trail that drops down from the highway to the cove. We were looking for something that could get us out of the car and moving a bit and this was perfect. To us old moderate hikers this was pretty average but due to the elevation loss/gain I would constitute this as a hike. A short, average, hike but a hike all the same. It will get you puffing but don't let that stop you the reward is some great sight AND A TUNNEL! I don't know what the attraction was but it was just too cool to walk through it wondering who else had, what it had been used for,etc. Once on the other side the cove is one of those spots where you could sit for hours and just take in the crashing of the waves while you lazily gaze down the coastline. Nice.
Cons-We almost missed it! It is poorly marked and once we did pull off we almost went the wrong direction. To that end here are some directions we did not have at the time: The trail starts at a large pullout in a sweeping bend on the east side of Highway 1. You can park on either side of the highway look fro pullouts up just a little nw of the spot on the map—on the west side there is the road down to Partington Cove with a gate at top. Be carful walking to the gate...there is not much of a shoulder and some crazy drivers. The pullout is just 2 miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park turnoff, or 54.6 miles north of the Hearst Castle turnoff. I did put it in my GPS and got fairly close but with poor signage if we had not pulled of an looked we would have missed it. Travelling south on Highway 1, the pullout is 9 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Entrance or exactly 6 miles south of Nepenthe Restaurant(which allows for a nice reward for your "hike")
Bottom Line-We were stoked to have done/seen this. It was at the end of our day-trip and what a blast of a way to end it. With such cool stuff I don't know why more don't stop...could be the signage, pullouts....? If you don't mind a little elevation walk.. don't miss this one.
Written January 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Partington Cove - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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