There’s no better way to enjoy the lovely surroundings in Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel, Salinas, the Carmel and Salinas Valleys or anywhere else in Monterey County than by hiking through it. There are hikes in Monterey County for each stage of hiker, from the novice in sneakers to the intense hiker with the most recent high-tech gear.
Combine your hikes with a fantastic overnight tenting journey. See our listing ofMonterey County’s Top 10 Campsites!
For the Novice: What to Wear and Bring
For a light day hike, you will not have to buy any special gear or intimidating tools. But a couple of minutes of preparation means you will go home with a smile on your face as an alternative of blisters in your feet!
Wearlayered clothing; it might seem chilly now, however once you start hiking, you may warm up quickly. Hiking boots are great, however for a light-weight hike a sneaker with a heavy tread might be just nice. Wear a hat; it will shade your face from the sun, defending you from sunburn and making it easier to see.
Bringwater; research present that by drinking water, you increase your stamina for physical activities. Put the water in a small backpack along with a few granola bars, a bagel or a bag of trail combine for a quick burst of energy. If it’s an all-day hike, pack a sandwich for lunch. Pack sunblock; you don’t want a sunburn as your souvenir!
Please keep in mind to stick to the paths, adhere to signage and pack up your trash. Let’s keep these areas pristine for generations to come! Learn More on the means to have a sustainable moment.
Top Ten Day Hikes
If you are new to hiking, there’s no higher place to start than Jacks Peak County Park. One parking space is located very near the aforementioned peak, allowing you to see breathtaking views without getting out of breath!
For your first hike, take a right when you pass by the park gatehouse. Follow this road to the parking zone at the end. Grab a flyer for the Skyline Nature Trail from the data board near the picnic tables. To the left of the information board is the start of the Skyline Nature Trail. As you walk along the trail, you will find it is rather properly marked, with indicators pointing you in the best path. Within about 2/10 of a mile, you may see sweeping views of Monterey Bay, and about 2/10 of a mile after that, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of Carmel Valley and Point Lobos. Once you have completed the trail (about 8/10 of a mile), you probably can take a left on the Iris Trail and head again to the parking zone.
If you feel energetic, take a proper on the Iris Trail, comply with it to the Rhus Trail, and take a left to return to the parking lot. This will add roughly another 1.8 miles of lovely views to your hike. See the Monterey County Parks map ofJacks Peak County Park trailsfor more data.
This lovely promontory has been referred to as “the crown jewel of the State Park system.” It’s also an inviting hiking spot, with handy trails that permit hikers to go for short scenic walks or long traipses.
Once you enter the reserve, take a proper and head to the parking zone at Whalers Cove, where you will start your hike. From the parking zone, you may see a staircase going straight up the steep hill. That’s the start of the North Shore Trail. Take that staircase, and, if you get to the highest, take a break by admiring the view. You’ll continue to see these stunning views all through your hike – a perfect excuse to cease and catch your breath! From most of the cliffs, you may have nice views of the Carmel shoreline and Pebble Beach. This trail runs 1.4 miles to the Sea Lion Point parking area. If that is sufficient for you, simply observe the paved road again to the Whalers Cove parking zone.
If you’re on the lookout for extra, take the Cypress Grove loop, which leads via a pure cypress grove and alongside spectacular seaside cliffs for 8/10 of a mile. You can then proceed along the Sea Lion Point Trail for 6/10 of a mile (with views of – you guessed it – sea lions, in addition to fascinating rock formations), and follow another mile alongside the coast alongside the South Shore Trail. Complete your loop of Point Lobos by taking the Bird Island Trail round China Cove and Gibson Beach, with nice views of a Brandt’s cormorant nesting area. Backtrack to the Mound Meadow Trail, which can take you across a wooded area and again to the street to the Whalers Cove parking lot. Visit the official Point Lobos State Natural Reserve website for extra data.
With over 20 miles of trails through incredibly various environments, any hiker is bound to discover a enjoyable day out. A good hike for beginners is a roughly two mile loop by way of the Beach and Creamery Meadow Trail. From the Andrew Molera State Park car parking zone, cross the footbridge and bear proper onto the Beach Trail. This trail wends alongside the Big Sur River to (as you may have guessed proper now) the seaside alongside the Big Sur coast. Follow the trail again and to the right to connect with the Creamery Meadow Trail.
Need one thing more strenuous? When you near the end of the Beach Trail, take a left onto the Bluff Trail. This leads along the bluffs, giving nice views of the ocean, and connects to the Panorama Trail, whose strenuous elevation gain gives hikers panoramic vistas of the coastline amidst stunning wooded areas. You’ll then hook up with the Ridge Trail, which lets you observe the Big Sur Valley, to take a 2.6 mile journey back to the Creamery Meadow Trail and the parking zone. The whole loop is roughly 8 miles.
See theonline Andrew Molera State Park trails mapat the California State Parks website for more info.
If you are looking for a strenuous climb with a great view, attempt Toro Park’s Ollason Peak. It provides sweeping views of Monterey Bay and the Salinas Valley, and in the proper season abounds with wildflowers. Make sure you’ve got packed loads of water and sunblock and worn snug boots; this very sunny 9 mile hike has an 1800 foot elevation achieve. Pick up a trail map at the park entrance, or discuss with Monterey County Parks’online trail map for Toro Park.
Park in the Quail Meadow space, and look for the trail that runs by the creek; that is the beginning of Ollason Trail. This trail runs by way of grassy and wooded areas, via open meadows and forested canyons, and past a stone outcropping often identified as the Devil’s Throne. Follow all the way as much as the highest of Ollason Peak, a good spot for a lunch break. Just previous Ollason Peak, turn left on to the Coyote Spring Trail and observe it to the Cougar Ridge Trail, which is able to lead you again to the parking area.
If you are looking for a dog pleasant hike within the Monterey space, this is the spot for you! The favorite hiking spot in Carmel Valley, Garland Ranch Regional Park has a number of the steepest trails within the space, in addition to glorious views and great wildlife. See theMonterey Peninsula Regional Park District pagefor a superb PDF map of the paths. This hike will present you with views of a wonderful waterfall, the Santa Lucia Mountains and Monterey Bay.
From the guests center, observe the trail that runs alongside the river to the Waterfall Trail. This trail will lead, unsurprisingly, to a beautiful waterfall. A steep climb through verdant ferns leads up to Mesa Trail. Follow, and bear left onto Garzas Canyon Trail. Enjoy the pond and the meadow as you pass by, and take some deep breaths, since you’re about to embark on one crazy ascent. A proper hand flip brings you onto insanely steep Snively’s Ridge Trail, with grades that may hit 30%. As you climb, you’ll in all probability suppose, “Why am I doing this?” When you attain the top, you will know. The high of Snively’s Ridge offers panoramic views from the oceans to the mountains; if your breath isn’t taken away by the climb, it definitely will be by the majestic vistas. After you take a break (and presumably eat lunch), comply with Sky Trail again down the ridge. Turn left onto Sage Trail, then proper onto Fern Trail for another steep downward slope. Once you get to the underside, the Mesa Trail will lead you to the Lupine Loop and back to the parking space.
This is the best hike on the list at just below a mile, and may be the most stunning as nicely. From the car parking zone, observe the shady Waterfall Trail along McWay Creek and thru a tunnel under Highway 1. Stepping by way of the tunnel is like going via a portal to a different world. The solar is brilliant and glints off the ocean. Please notice that the Overlook Trail is simply partially open as a outcome of erosion. See theJulia Pfeiffer Burns State Park online trail mapat the California State Parks website for extra data.
Just south of Carmel Highlands and Point Lobos Natural Reserve, from the freeway Garrapata State Park can appear to be only a blip. Those who drive past on their method elsewhere are missing stunning redwood-filled canyons and a few of the most spectacular coastline Big Sur has to supply.
Keep an eye out for the Garrapata State Park sign, after which look for a large pullout (probably with a quantity of vehicles parked in it) underneath a row of cypresses. You’ll see a dirt road, and beyond it a tin barn. This is the trailhead for the 1.25 mile Soberanes Canyon Trail which reopened in April 2018. Admire the views alongside this out and again trail, but watch your footing. Soberanes Trail leads via stunning redwood forests on its way again to Highway 1. See the Garrapata State Parkonline trail mapfor extra info.
For fantastic rock formations and intriguing caves, Pinnacles National Park can’t be beat. If you are thinking about introducing kids to hiking, the best option is the Moses Spring Trail, which is brief, easy, fascinating and academic.
Stop by the East Visitors Center at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area to pick up the interpretive pamphlet for the Moses Spring Trail; the trail starts proper by the Visitors Center. The starting of the extensive filth trail is properly shaded by timber. This trail runs by way of a short stone tunnel that youngsters are prone to find very entertaining. Depending on the season (and when you introduced a flashlight), you might be able to take the Bear Gulch Cave Trail through Bear Gulch Cave. If Bear Gulch Cave isn’t open, or if it’s too darkish and scary for the young ones, Moses Spring Trail continues upwards via fascinating small caves and beneath a large boulder permanently wedged about 10 ft above the bottom between two stone walls. A set of stairs will convey you up to the Bear Gulch Reservoir. To return to the parking lot, comply with the Rim Trail back. The complete loop is 2.2 miles.
See the National Park Service Pinnacles National Park web site for adetailed record of hike choices in the space.
The hottest hike at this park is the attractive Pfeiffer Falls Trail because of its spectacular waterfall views. A extra fascinating trail, nevertheless, is the Buzzard’s Roost Trail. You’ll see everything from old-growth redwood forests to ocean views, traveling by way of several pure habitats within the area of a three-mile loop. The flora rapidly modifications from towering redwoods to low chaparral, as if you’re crossing the border between one land and one other. See thePfeiffer Big Sur State Park online trail mapat the California State Parks web site for extra information.
Recently reopened, Limekiln State Park could also be Big Sur’s best-kept secret. The park, situated two miles south of Lucia, is within the steepest coastal canyon in the continental United States and holds a few of Monterey County’s oldest redwood groves.
To see the abandoned historic lime kilns for which the park is called, follow Limekiln Creek to the Limekiln trailhead. Walk throughout a bridge over the creek and take the left-hand fork. Follow Limekiln Creek upstream and take another footbridge across the creek. After that footbridge, the trail forks once more; stay to your left. You’ll quickly end up standing amidst the big stone and metal kilns that had been used to convert limestone into lime.
To discover the realm additional and get a sense of the redwood lifecycle, return to the primary fork and take the right-hand path. This will lead you up Hare Creek. You’ll first pass by way of a grove of young redwoods (only somewhat over 100 years old) before reaching one other grove of historic redwoods at the finish of the trail. Visit Limekiln State Park’s official website for extra info.