On the second day of a three day backpacking trip to Big Sur, our group day hiked to Pine Falls. The hike is only 0.7 miles (one way) from Pine Valley and a must see for anyone visiting the Pine Valley area. The trail (which is much closer to a goat path) starts at the gate leading to Jack English's cabin. Note the trailhead sign has no mention of Pine Falls. Stay to the right of the Carmel River and follow the trail to a large rock outcropping. Cross the river on a large fallen log and traverse along the left bank for a short distance. Recross the river and follow the trail all the way to Pine Falls. In many spots the trail climbs high above the river, but is easy to follow. Excellent views of the Carmel River abound as you pass through shaded forest. You finally drop down along a very steep trail section and behold Pine Falls (the sound of the falls travels upstream as well). If you are brave enough, jump in for an ice cold refreshing swim (in March the water temp is painfully low). The hike back to the trailhead goes much faster once you know the terrain. This is an excellent day hike.
PINE FALLS DAY HIKE
Distance: 1.06 mi
Total Time: 3:43:05
Speed: 0.3 mph
Pace: 3:30:05 / mi
Active Time: none
Speed: 0.3 mph
Pace: 3:30:05 / mi
Trailhead to Pine Falls is right below Jack English's cabin near the Carmel River.
Points of Interest
Location: 36.301742, -121.644713
Location: 36.302513, -121.635977
Discussing our planned day hike to Pine Falls with Jack English.
Location: 36.301556, -121.635915
Trailhead sign (note: no mention of Pine Falls).
Location: 36.300313, -121.636575
One of several Carmel River crossings.
Location: 36.299995, -121.637009
Clear and cold Carmel River.
Location: 36.299658, -121.637353
Downstream view of the Carmel River.
Location: 36.299554, -121.638318
Trail following the Carmel River (closer to a goat path).
Location: 36.300241, -121.640346
Location: 36.300021, -121.641634
Location: 36.301724, -121.644600
Location: 36.301638, -121.644884
Three of our four person group at Pine Falls (pre-swim photo).
Location: 36.301707, -121.644337
Warming up after an icy swim below Pine Falls.
Location: 36.301620, -121.644230
Heading back to Pine Valley.
Location: 36.301569, -121.644080
Steep climb out of Pine Falls.
Location: 36.300929, -121.643500
The scenic Carmel River above Pine Falls.
Location: 36.300981, -121.636205
Crossing the Carmel River near trails end.
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