Often referred to as “the crown jewel of the State Park system,” Point Lobos is a Monterey hiking must. Offering a variety of trails and terrain, this is a fantastic venture for hikers of all levels. All of the trails are relatively short, less than a mile and a half, but you can expect something exciting at every turn. If you take the North Shore Trail, get ready for a climb as this adventure starts with a staircase transporting you to the most incredible vistas of Pebble Beach and Carmel’s coastline. Enjoy these views for the remainder of your hike.
Don’t worry, Point Lobos State Reserve offers so much more! With aptly named trails to guide you, it might be difficult to choose just one path to go down. Discover a beautiful Cyprus grove on the Cyprus Grove Loop. Spot some sea lions along the Sea Lion Point Trail. Enjoy a mile of gorgeous coastline views on the South Shore Trail. Take the Bird Island Trail to observe Brandt’s cormorant nesting area. Mound Meadow Trail will take you through a mystic wooded area on your way back to the parking lot.
This is the perfect path for novice hikers or those of you who prefer instant gratification. Take the Skyline Nature Trail from the parking lot and within the first steps, you’ll be greeted by sweeping views of Point Lobos and Carmel Valley. This well-marked trail is just under a mile long with the option to turn left onto Iris Trail to head directly back to the parking lot. Or, if you’re not done trekking, turn right on Iris Trail and follow it to Rhus Trail to add about 1.8 miles of breathtaking views to your adventure.
Carmel Valley’s most popular hiking spot, Garland Ranch Regional Park is known for its steep trails and their rewarding views of Monterey Bay, Santa Lucia Mountains, and even a waterfall! In addition to the awesome wildlife along the way, this park is dog friendly so you might cross paths with hikers and their canine counterparts. Get ready for challenging climbs and daunting descents, all of which are worth it for the welcomed encounters of sprawling meadows, peaceful ponds, and of course, the breathtaking panoramic views.