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13 Years After a Fire Destroyed it, You Can Finally Walk This Spectacular Redwoods Trail Again

The Pfeiffer Falls Trail is open as of June 18.

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For more than a decade, the Pfeiffer Falls Trail near Big Sur, California, has lain silent. The 1.5-mile out-and-back, which twists and climbs beneath redwood trees to its titular flume, has been closed since 2008. That year, the Basin Complex Fire wreaked havoc on the trail. Plans were made to repair it, but more damage from subsequent fires and landslides delayed the work for years.

Now, as of June 18, the Pfeiffer Falls Trail is open once again. Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks collaborated on the restoration project, which cost $2 million and features by a 70-foot-long footbridge across the canyon that the trail ascends. Improvements also include wooden stairways on switchbacks and strategically placed rock barriers to mitigate erosion.

“This challenging project, 12 years in the making, is a testament to the great and enduring partnership between Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks,” said Jessica Inwood, senior parks program manager for Save the Redwoods League. “Together, we were able to reimagine a new trail with the long-term protection of this sensitive coast redwood ecosystem in mind.”

While the reopening of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail is a bright spot among the destruction the West—and California especially—has experienced in recent years, this summer could still be a dangerous one for the region.