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California Sunsets Are Famous, but None Are Like the Natural Keyhole Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach

by Matador Creators Jan 4, 2023

Pfeiffer Beach in California’s Big Sur is a stunning and secluded spot, but what makes it truly special are the sunsets. At certain times of the year, the sun sets exactly in line with a keyhole-shaped rock formation on the beach, creating an unforgettable view. If you’re planning to visit California any time soon, make sure to plan your trip around this incredible sight.

Pfeiffer Beach is part of the Los Padres National Forest, and sits between two grand cliffs with towering cypress trees standing watch all around. The sand is soft, white, and smooth—perfect for taking off your shoes and feeling it slip between your toes. But perhaps the most famous part of this beach is its Keyhole Rock formation which sits near the shoreline like a sentry. At certain times of day—especially during sunset—the sun beams through the keyhole opening and casts an ethereal light over the entire beach.


Nature at its finest. 😍🇺🇸 Tucked in the Big Sur region of California, Pfeiffer Beach is home to a beautiful rock formation known as Keyhole Arch. The rock formation has a small hole carved out by centuries of crashing waves, and gets lit up by the sun at certain parts of the year. ☀️ How incredible is this rock formation? 🔥 📍 Keyhole Arch at Pfeiffer Beach, California, USA Ig: @markian.b

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The Keyhole is a natural rock formation located on the northern edge of Pfeiffer Beach. In order to get there, visitors must take a short hike down a path that leads from Highway 1. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the beach itself, after which you can easily find the Keyhole by following signs along the shoreline. The best time to visit is around sunset when the light is golden and magical.

This sunset is such a hit among photographers and travelers alike because it only happens once or twice a year. During the late winter or early spring when the sun is setting at its lowest angle in the sky, it aligns perfectly with the iconic keyhole-shaped rock formation, making for a truly otherworldly sight that you have to see to believe. So if you plan your trip accordingly, you might just be in for a rare treat.

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