Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Tin House via Tan Bark Trail
Big Sur is one of my favorite places to escape for the weekend. With unparalleled views of the California coastline and little to no cell service, it’s the perfect place to recharge, if only for a little while. Day two of the long long weekend was reserved for some hiking, and hike we did. I decided to lead our group of campers to the Tin House via the Tan Bark Trail. I’d been here last Christmas, but the hiddenness of this trailhead changed our start point to park headquarters instead.
The Tan Bark Trail starts off on the east side of Highway 1 across the road to Partington Cove. There are large turnouts on either side of the highway. This is your indicator that you should stop here! Google maps also has the trail and trailhead mapped out here.
The hike ascends through a coastal redwood canyon following Partington Creek before breaking away and heading further uphill. On hot days, the forest cover is a welcome respite from the sun and heat. This hike is short, only a bit over 6 miles, but elevation gain is about 2200’ for about half of that to reach the Tin House.
After spending some time soaking in the sights, you can come back via the trail from which you came or head down the fire road with some backtracking to the car on the highway. We chose the latter.
It was a foggy day at sea level, so most of the coastline was obscured by an ocean of white. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful and grueling hike. If you have the time to do it, this is one of those hikes that I would repeat over and over again.
Note: When we went in February 2015, the forest was super lush and green and also covered in poison oak. Hike carefully!