Big Sur Service, Pfeiffer State Park, California

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14082A, Service/ Volunteer


  • Enjoy beautiful central California scenery
  • Help with trail maintainance and French Broom removal
  • Explore beaches, hike, and spot wildlife and wildflowers on day off


  • All work equipment
  • Tent camping
  • All meals


DatesApr 5–11, 2014
StaffCharles Schneider

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Trip Overview

The Trip

From the majestic redwood forests, where the mountains meet the sea, the magic and mystery of the Big Sur Coast draws visitors from around the world. For the fifth year, the Sierra Club has been invited back to continue the state-funded project in Pfeiffer State Park to improve trails, remove invasive French Broom, and re-vegetate sections with a variety native plant species.

We will camp at Pfeiffer State Park, home to redwoods, conifers, oaks, and open meadows. The park includes a café, lodge, and grocery store. Local points of interest include restaurants, art galleries, beaches, and other state parks: Andrew Molera, Pt. Lobos, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters are common here. California gray whales can be spotted during their yearly spring migration from nearby Soberanes Point.

We will work four days on trail-building and removing invasive French Broom, and have a free day to explore the beaches, hike, enjoy spring wildflowers, and look for California Condors, gray whales, and sea otters.

The Project

We will work at Pfeiffer Big Sur to improve the trails and reroute a steep trail section. We will also eradicate invasive plant species that are pushing out native species. Pfeiffer State Park offers diverse coastal habitats, with trails along the river and through redwood and tanbark oak groves. Tools will be provided. For the work project, trip members need to provide work gloves and wear long pants and sturdy shoes. While poison oak is present in the park, the project is not in a poison oak area. Technu soap is provided at the end of each work day and showers are available for a few quarters.


Our trip will begin at Pfeiffer State Park, 30 miles from Monterey, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. The first meal will be dinner on April 5 and the final meal will be breakfast on April 11. Trip members share the responsibility for meals each day, getting directions from the cook. Lunches are packed each morning for the trail. Lunch containers must be included in personal gear. We will be tent camping by the Big Sur River, with access to flush toilets and pay-showers. The week’s menu is vegetarian-friendly, with an emphasis on local, fresh produce.



Getting There

The closest airport is Monterey, approximately 40 miles from our campsite. The San Jose airport is a two-hour drive, depending upon traffic and time of arrival. The San Francisco airport is approximately a four-hour drive, again, depending upon the time of day. Hwy 1 is the most direct route. A section of the road south of Monterey is currently under repair; only one lane is open at a time, which will require more time and patience when traveling. If road closures are a problem, an alternative route is to use the Naciemento Fergusson Road, through King City, off Hwy 101. Trip members will be alerted to road conditions as part of pre-trip leader communication.

Trip Difficulty

We will be hiking a mile through the redwoods and with tools and day packs to the work site. Each day we will be heading farther into the park to complete the section of trail that we have been assigned. Trail work is strenuous; it is important that trip members be in good physical condition for the work this trip demands. The trip is otherwise moderate in level of activity. We ask that trip members hike in groups of three for personal safety on free days and that personal packs be placed on the edge of the trail when you are working so that we can easily identify where everyone is during the work project.

Equipment and Clothing

The state park will provide the necessary tools. Trip members will need to bring sturdy boots, long pants, work gloves, a long shirt and a day pack large enough to carry lunch, two one-liter water bottles, rain gear, sunscreen, camera, and any other items you will need for the day. A re-useable container is recommended for your lunch. We provide a first-aid kit, but ask that you bring moleskin, band-aids, and your own medication as needed. The central California coast weather can range from windy and cold to warm and mild; temperatures will likely range from 40 to 70 degrees. An equipment list is available upon acceptance to the trip.



In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.

While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.



Charles Schneider has lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for over 20 years and this is where his love for the outdoors began. He enjoys hiking and exploring the western region of the country. Charles has been doing volunteer trips for many years and looks forward to meeting other people with the same interest.


Lindy Rosse

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