A Hiking Trail Through California's Redwoods Is Reopening After a Wildfire Destroyed It 10 Years Ago - and It's Better Than Ever
A popular California hiking trail will reopen this week after it was destoyed by a wildfire more than 10 years ago, according to the Save the Redwoods League.
The Pfeiffer Falls Trail will reopen in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on June 18, the first time the public will be allowed to hike it since the Basin Complex Fire destroyed it in 2008, according to the group. Before reopening, the 0.75-mile trail segment underwent a nearly $2 million restoration, including removing fire-damaged infrastructure like bridges and retaining walls, and adding a new 70-foot-long pedestrian expansion bridge.
The new trail ensures visitors won't walk directly through the park's sensitive stream bed, according to the group.
"Before the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, this was one of the most popular trails in Big Sur - a destination for California tourists," Jim Doran, the program manager, Monterey District Roads and Trails, for California State Parks, said in a statement. "With the trail's many improvements completed, we're happy to welcome visitors once again."
The trail brings hikers through a forest of towering redwoods and through a gorge to the 60-foot Pfeiffer Falls waterfall, and connects with the Valley View trail for a 1.5-mile loop.
Jessica Inwood, the senior parks program manager for Save the Redwoods League, called the restoration a "challenging project" but said the group, along with California State Parks, was "able to reimagine a new trail with the long-term protection of this sensitive coast redwood ecosystem in mind."
California has experienced devastating wildfires in recent years. In 2020, a single fire - the August Complex fire - burned more than one million acres, more than all the recorded fires in California's history from 1932 to 1999. And in 2019, another fire - the Kincade fire - burned an area the size of San Francisco.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.