Purple sand
6 Images

Offbeat Traveler: Purple sands of Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach

Pamela Ocampo">Purple sand
Sand derives its color from minerals that compose it, which vary from place to place. Quartz, often clear or translucent, is commonly the dominant ingredient, lending sand its generally light color. Pfeiffer Beach’s purple color comes from manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks. (Pamela Ocampo)
seoulpolaris">Getting to the beach
You can access Pfeiffer Beach through Sycamore Canyon Road off of California Highway 1, a short drive north of Posts and before Pfeifer Big Sur State Park. This winding road leads to a parking area a short walk from the beach. For more detail, view this map.  (seoulpolaris)
Hannah Swithinbank">Purple sand
The distribution of purple sand varies from place to place on the beach. (Hannah Swithinbank)
Wendy Crockett">Purple Sand
A look at the purple rocks that lend their color to the sand. (Wendy Crockett)
Wendy Crockett">Purple Sand
Seaweed lies on the purple and white sand. (Wendy Crockett)
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
A car drives through the adjacent Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The park features redwoods, wildlife and a 61-room lodge. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)