McWay Falls at Sunrise - Big Sur

December 05, 2012 ||
McWay Falls Big Sur HDR Waterfall

My friends thought I was crazy to set the alarm for just before 6:00am on our Thanksgiving camping trip to Big Sur. Little did we know, we would be getting a rude awakening regardless of the alarm clock.

After drinking and telling stories by the campfire until midnight, the screech of my 5:50am alarm came dreadfully too soon. I was temped to fall back to sleep, but knew I would regret not getting a sunrise shot of the McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur.

Just as I laid my head back on my pillow, I heard the grumble of a very large truck and then the all-too-familiar back up beeps of a garbage truck that parked right behind our campsite. “Ok, time to get up, Scott!”

It took twenty minutes to drive from Fernwood Resort to Mcway Falls, even with me driving like a maniac, half asleep. It was worth it though. The view and uncrowded overlook was a completely different experience to the midday stop we made a few years back.

Just for fun, here is the iPhone and Instagram version of the same scene (shot while I was waiting for the 30 second exposures to finish).

Mcway Falls Big Sur HDR iPhone

Have you been to McWay Falls in Big Sur?

By Christy Woodrow

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on

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Who is Ordinary Traveler?


Hi! We are Christy and Scott and we've been traveling the world together since 2006 -- surfing and taking photos along the way.

Our goal is to inspire others to live an adventurous life, as well as provide trip ideas and helpful travel tips for people with limited vacation time.

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