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About Partington Cove in Big Sur, California

Partington Cove is a remote rocky cove below Partington Point in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The shoreline in Partington Cove is full of large boulders so it wouldn’t be a popular destination by itself, but the hike to the cove and the adjacent shore is quite an experience.

This cove has a separate access with shoulder parking spaces along Highway 1 north of the main state park entrance. Behind a gate there is a dirt road that leads down toward the cove. Follow this road to where it splits into two trails. The right trail descends to the beach, but there is no sand here, just smooth round rocks in a small deep cove. The left trail crosses a footbridge then goes through a 60 foot long tunnel through the rocky point to views of another small cove. This tunnel and the old concrete foundation on the other side are both remnants of an old tanbark shipping operation from the early 1900s. The Tan Bark Trail begins on the opposite side of the highway if you are looking for more hiking opportunities here. Partington Cove is just one of several beaches that can only be accessed by going through a tunnel or rock arch.

Scuba diving by expert divers with a special permit is the main activity in Partington Cove. Swimming is not recommended.

Look for a small cascading waterfall where Partington Creek flows down toward the ocean. This small waterfall is nothing like McWay Falls, the main attraction in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

The trailhead for Partington Cove is at a gated road in a sharp bend in Highway 1 about two miles north of the main Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance.

Cabrillo Hwy
Big Sur, CA 93920
Park Name
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Other Names
Partington Point, Partington Creek Falls
State Park
Pet Details
No dogs allowed on trails or the beach
Free parking along highway
Hiking, Scuba Diving, Beach Exploration, Photography
Trails, Waterfall, Tunnel, Rock Arch, No Facilities
Map of Partington Cove
Carmel Valley Village, US
9:09 am, July 16, 2024
temperature icon 61°F
L: 60° H: 73°
Feels like 58.89 °F clear sky
Wind gusts: 3 m/s
UV Index: 2.9
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:02 am
Sunset: 8:23 pm
Humidity 53 %
Pressure1016 mb
Wind 3 m/s

Nearby Beaches

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