Monterey County, CA is a treasure trove of natural beauty, from wildflowers and redwood trees to the glittering Big Sur coastline. It’s no wonder that hikers from all over the world choose to come and explore the incredible scenery. Whether you’re a novice hiker or an outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of trails for every skill level. If you’re planning an outdoor excursion for your next visit, take a look at a few of our favorite scenic hiking trails in Monterey County, CA.
Located very close to our Lodge is Redwood Canyon Trail. This popular, 4-mile loop trail features beautiful wildflowers in the spring, an oak grove, and a small patch of giant redwood trees and ferns. This pet-friendly trail is moderate, scenic, and well worth the trek. As you’re walking through the canyon, keep your eyes alert for Fairy Rings. A fairy ring refers to a group of redwood trees that have grown in a circle, usually around an old tree stump or burned-out, old-growth tree. After a tree is cut down or has fallen down, new trees sprout from the roots of the old redwood. The new trees grow in an almost perfect circle or ring, hence the name. This process helps the redwoods regenerate with a full root system rather than reproducing through fragile seed. This also means that a redwood tree around 100 years old, might be the granddaughter of a nearby tree that is hundreds of years older.
This state park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Carmel Valley, CA. There are dozens of trails to traverse, from easy strolls to strenuous summits. For a casual hike, we suggest the 1.5-mile Lupine Loop, a brief but beautiful walk through sweeping meadows and towering trees. If you’re looking for a longer hike, the Garland Ranch Waterfall Trail is a 2-mile loop featuring stunning cliff views and a gorgeous waterfall. For the hardcore hikers, Pinyon Peak is an 8.7-mile loop with an incredible payoff. After a challenging climb, you’ll reach the peak to find yourself blown away by panoramic views of Carmel Bay.
You will find plenty of trails to choose from that will lead you through incredible coastal scenery and redwood groves. The most popular of these is the 1.1 Mcway Falls loop, a casual hike with a spectacular view of the waterfall rushing 80 feet down into the ocean. Another easy trek is the Partington Cove Trail, only about a mile round trip. The trail splits off, so you can take the bridge and tunnel leading to the cove area, or a short path down to the rocky shoreline. For a more challenging hike, check out the 5.8-mile Ewoldsen Trail loop, where you’ll walk along the river through beautiful Redwoods and serene coastal views. (Ewoldsen Trail is currently closed for repair, as of 2/16/21)
This county park has about a dozen trails to choose from and is a great option for those seeking a quiet, low-traffic area to enjoy the views. The Skyline Trail is a short loop, but at only 0.8 miles it leads to the spectacular Jacks Peak, the highest point on the Monterey Peninsula. The Lower Ridge, Rhus, and Coffeeberry Loop is a 4-mile hike that leads you through serene trees to incredible vistas, with plenty of shade along the way.
Garrapta sits on the edge of the Big Sur coast, and is one of Monterey’s best-kept secrets. Taking the 2 mile Soberanes Point and Whale Peak loop allows you to enjoy everything from colorful wildflowers to a magnificent ocean view at the summit. Visitors have reported spotting seals, whales, and other aquatic creatures from the peak. If you’re visiting in early spring, you won’t want to skip the short trail to Cala Lily Valley. Less than a mile round trip, it’s absolutely breathtaking to see the sprays of snow-white lilies filling a small canyon just up from the shore.
These are just a few of the magnificent trails to explore in Monterey County, CA. After a day of exploring the rich terrain and sprawling coastlines, kick off your hiking boots and rest at Carmel Valley Lodge. Our 3-acre property is the perfect place to unwind in a tranquil atmosphere, and our luxurious guest rooms ensure a peaceful night’s sleep before your next adventure.