Discover Our Top Hikes Around Monterey

Hiking Near Monterey CA

An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland all year round, Monterey County is the perfect destination for nature lovers and fresh air breathers, for curious hearts and adventurous souls. Fall is a particularly special time of year to visit Northern California’s coastline; the weather has cooled and the summer crowds have thinned, making it the perfect setting for hiking! See our guide to the best hiking near Monterey, CA and book your fall getaway today.

Best Hiking Near Monterey CA

Point Lobos State Reserve

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.

Point Lobos State Reserve - Top Hiking Near Monterey CA

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.

Jacks Peak County Park

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.

Couple Hiking Near Monterey CA

Garland Ranch Regional Park

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.

Andrew Molera State Park

With over 20 miles of diverse hiking trails near Monterey, Andrew Molera State Park is a great place to spend the day. Whether you prefer beaches or bluffs, you better believe this Big Sur park offers both, and then some. The Beach Trail will take you along the Big Sur River and out to its beach, a perfect stroll for most.

Big Sur Beach at Andrew Molera State Park - Top Hiking Near Monterey CA

For those wanting a bit more exercise, the Bluff Trail will take you from the sandy beaches up to the ridges and bluffs of Big Sur where happy hikers will be greeted with panoramic coastline vistas as they continue on Panorama Trail. Ridge Trail is found next via a strenuous incline and even more spectacular views of the Big Sur Valley.

Garrapata State Park

Although the entrance might be easy to miss from the road, this trail should not be missed! We recommend this Monterey hike to the more experienced trekkers as it is a 7-mile loop and boasts an elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet. If anything, be sure to wear shoes with good grip to conquer the steep rocky ridges. Along the way, you’ll witness some of the most spectacular coastline sights that Big Sur has to offer. You’ll also journey through canyons filled with magnificent redwood trees, giving you a very diverse and complete Northern California experience.

Garrapata State Park - Top Hiking Near Monterey CA

Stay at Old Monterey Inn

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiking near Monterey, California. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’d be happy to help you climb to new summits and reach new heights. Book your stay at our charming Monterey bed and breakfast, where you’ll enjoy gourmet meals to fuel you for your adventures and peaceful luxurious accommodations to comfort you upon your return.

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The Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur Hiking

Let’s talk Big Sur hiking! The Monterey Peninsula is a spectacular meeting of soaring mountain ranges and sparkling ocean, and provides the backdrop for many beautiful national parks along the coast.  You may have heard of all of the commonly travelled parks: Pfeiffer State Park, Point Lobos, and Point Pinos.  We’re sharing a few little known hiking secrets with you: Veteran’s Park in the heart of downtown Monterey for a quick hike with mountain and ocean views, and Garrapata State Park for a 5-mile loop just before you get into the heart of Big Sur.

Veteran’s Park is located right in Monterey, though a few feet into the foot path; you’ll think you’re miles outside of the city.  The Veteran’s Park path is an offshoot off of Jefferson Street—look for a cement staircase going down into the woods just opposite of the American Legion.  An easy hike, you’ll meander through the woods until you get to a camping ground.  Continue past the camping ground and you’ll be greeted by a long wooden staircase.  Make it to the top and soon you’ll be rewarded by views of towering cypress trees and the Monterey Bay in the background.  It’s breathtaking! Plan an hour and a half—perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon hike when your time is short.

Garrapata Park is a five-mile loop just before you get into the picturesque Big Sur landscape.  For the first thirty minutes or so, you’ll walk along a trail surrounded by succulents, cacti, and prickly pear (if you’re brave enough to get and eat the fruit, let us know!).  Just as you start to break a sweat, you’ll enter a stunning redwood forest.  Redwoods grow straight and tall and provide a lush, rich forest whose ecosystem is radically different from the drier climate you just experienced.  Thirty minutes later, you’ll leave the redwood forest, and begin the summit to the peak—this part of the hike can get hot, so bring lots of water!  Once you reach the top, the loop curves back around, and you’re hiking along a mountain ridge with a view of the Pacific Ocean that meets the horizon in a light, misty blue.  Plan three to five hours for this trip (driving time included) and bring water and snacks!

These two hikes—a longer and shorter option—are sure to quench your thirst to spend time in the natural beauty that abounds on the Monterey Peninsula.  Consider this: at 9:00 am you will enjoy a two-course, gourmet breakfast at the Old Monterey Inn, you prepare for a mid-day hike, packing a lunch and taking water with you.  You drive south, headed into the picturesque Big Sur landscape and pull off to the left side of the road and hike into Garrapata Park.  Around 3:00 you return to the Inn for a massage in our on-site spa.  Next, enjoy a glass of wine in our parlor during our complimentary wine and hors d’ oeurves.  You’ve made reservations at a local restaurant, and after a delicious dinner, you come back to the Inn, stroll through our romantic gardens, return to your room for a soak in the Jacuzzi tub, and fall into bed—exhausted and happy.

Whatever your excursion may include, we look forward to welcoming you to the Old Monterey Inn and the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

Hiking Big Sur