Wednesday, November 30, 2011

McWay Falls

The McWay Falls, about 36 miles south of Carmel on the California Coast, were on my "to do list" for quite some years. I had seen awesome images and of course wanted to take some myself. But how things go with "to do lists", I never got around to really do it....
Until now!
A few weeks ago my friend and Cherie I spontaneously decided to take on the 3+ hour drive down to the waterfall.
Alone the drive along Highway 1 is worth the effort. Although spoiled through living on the coast, we had to get out several times to take pictures and ahh and ohh.

After a long and windy drive, at last we made it:

As planned, we arrived shortly before sunset and could watch the light playing in the cove before the sun finally disappeared in the ocean.

McWay Falls, named after Christopher McWay, an early settler, is not only called the "most beautifully situated waterfall on the California Coast" by the "World of Waterfalls", the park it is located in also has an intriguing history.

In the 1920s Lathrop and Helen Brown purchased McWays Saddle Rock Ranch and built two houses in the area where today the waterfall overlook is situated. The main house supposedly was rather fancy with black marble and a huge panorama window overlooking the ocean. Quite an accomplishment for that time.
Helen Brown became good friends with Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a pioneer woman homesteading on an adjacent ridge.

In 1961 Helen Brown donated the 1800 acre Saddle Rock Ranch to the state under two conditions, it was to be named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, her admired friend and that the land to the west of Highway 1 should be "unmarred by further construction or out-of-place man-made improvements" and that the Waterfall House should be made into a "museum for the custody and display of indigenous Indian relics, flora and fauna of the California coastal area, and historical objects pertaining to the Big Sur country." But, if the house was not made into a museum within five years it was to be torn down......and so five years later the Waterfall House became history...

After the sun had set, the cove seemed to glow in pink. We photographed like maniacs until the light was almost gone and our exposures got so long, that the water took on a fog-like appearance.
A truly magical place!


Pelican Network

Hiking in Big Sur

World of Waterfalls

California State Parks


  1. With the snow flying around here today, I wish I could have been there!. Great shots, I especially like the last one. beautiful ethereal quality

  2. Beautiful - I love that place. You captured it well,