But let's back up and go over directions. First, it's name is Pfeiffer Beach. Not to be confused with Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is where Big Sur Lodge is. And it's not Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. That's where the famous McWay Falls flows into the Pacific Ocean. The beach with purple sand is Pfeiffer Beach and it's at mile marker MON 45.64. If you're heading south the mile markers count down and the turnoff is on the right about 1/2 mile past the Ranger Station. If you're heading north, the mile markers count up and the turnoff is on your left about 1/2 mile past the post office.
Once you find the turn-off you will drive Sycamore Canyon Road - a single lane road - no campers or rv's allowed - keep going, keep going (about 2 miles)- until you get to the ranger booth. Admission is $5 and the beach is open until 8pm. There are restrooms available at the parking lot and even though it's a beach there is no swimming allowed and no lifeguards. Dogs are allowed on a leash. Oh, and there are a few picnic tables. Which we would've liked to use except it was raining. But that was ok cause it kept the crowds at bay.
Is the sand really purple? And if so, why?
The sand really is purple. It almost looks a bit tie dyed. And it's purple color comes from the manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks. (Most sand is quartz which is why it's light in color)
So, most importantly, is it worth the effort to find Pfeiffer Beach? Well, that depends. If you're thinking of a tropical Hawaiian beach or laying on the sand in Florida with the waves gently lapping up on shore, then you might not think it worth it. My answer would be that it was one of my favorite beaches I've ever been to.
I mentioned earlier that it was raining. Which made Pfeiffer Beach into a beautiful, windswept, purple sand beach that to me was a little slice of heaven. This was also the weekend of record breaking storms in California. The waves were crashing, smashing, surging, overtaking - and any other words you can think of for wildly rolling waves hitting the coast like crazy.
Other than purple sand, Pfeiffer Beach is known for Keyhole Rock. Keyhole Rock is exactly what it's name says - it's a large rock sitting in the Pacific with a hole in the middle. Photographers come from all over to get that special photo of the sun setting through keyhole rock. Unfortunately for us, we weren't going to catch the sunset that day but we were able to sit and be mesmerized by the waves crashing through the rock.
So now I've seen purple sand. And the perfect moody, windswept beach with a large rock with a hole in it. We walked back to the car with sandy and muddy feet to eat our lunch in the rain. Worth it? You bet!
A life update: With the exception of a few weekends, we have been on a travel hiatus as we prepare to sell our house. It was a great family house but now that our grown kids live all over the planet, it's easier for us to go to them. We are putting the house up for sale very soon and hoping to downsize.Mr. UR has been doing most of the work while I have been sifting through boxes from the attic - lots and lots of old toys - and doing a bit of spiffing up for the sale. I, for one, am ready to get this behemoth (5 bedrooms and an office) on the market and have more time to travel - or at least, have less house to upkeep!
This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute and The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party!