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Hiking

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BETTER THAN A MAP

Expert map readers may dispute it, but when you want to get the most out of unfamiliar hiking trails in a limited amount of time, walking with a knowledgeable guide is a proven short-cut. Of course they’ll know the best views and prettiest trails, but they’ll also be able to advise on the ease or difficulty of a walk you’d like to try and they’ll know about changes in conditions after rainy weather.

Most local guides can accommodate solo hikers as well as groups, just call in plenty of time before you travel to discuss the date you’d like to hike on and your preferences: beach or redwood groves, short or all-day, and so on. Among those specializing in groups, CA Nature Treks offers a great array of tours and programs.




Hiking


Click here for a list of Local Parks


Lace Up your Shoes and Hit the Trail!

Perhaps one of the best ways to explore the scenic beauty that Monterey County has to offer is by hiking some of its back roads, by-ways and trails. Pack a picnic, and point your compass in the direction of one of the many state and regional parks in the area. Plan a day trip to Jacks Peak in Monterey or Garland Park in Carmel Valley, and enjoy walking through dense forests and open meadows, even traversing the Carmel River. Or, head out to Point Lobos State Reserve, and choose a meandering trail along the coast.

If it's an overnight camping trip you're planning, consider the Los Padres National Forest, which is easily reached from Big Sur. During the spring wildflower season, a wonderful world of flora and fauna awaits hikers who venture off the beaten path. Don't forget to bring along your copy of the latest National Audubon Society handbook, so you can identify various birds. You may also meet up with deer, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes; keep your eyes open and you may see signs that wild pigs and even mountain lions have been in the area recently. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, or are simply interested in taking a leisurely walk along the coastal Recreation Trail, there are plenty of trails. Remember to bring your camera, and don't forget to carry plenty of water. Happy trails!

See more about hiking areas in our Outdoor Life section.



hiking Local Parks

Garland Regional Park
700 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley
831-659-4488

Jacks Peak Park
25020 Jacks Peak Park Rd, Monterey
831-866-4899

Toro Regional Park
501 Monterey-Salinas Hwy, Salinas
831-755-4899

Garrapata State Park
Highway One, Carmel
831-624-4909


Hiking with a View

Three miles south of Carmel, the Point Lobos State Reserve has been called "the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world." The crown jewel of California's state parks system, Point Lobos offers scenic trails spread throughout 500-plus acres, and a protected underwater park popular with scuba divers. Visitors from all over the world stop to enjoy this spectacular park each year, hiking along its easy to moderate coastal loops. This is a great picnic area, boasting views of Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach, and south to Big Sur. Artists should surely bring a portable easel and watercolors. Admission is $7/car including a trail map. Or, park on Highway One and walk in for free. Call 831-624-4909 for hours of operation.




Health & Safety Tips
Be sure to carry adequate bottled water when hiking: dehydration can lead to fatigue and even disorientation. Bring a light jacket or sweatshirt: temperatures drop when our coastal fog rolls in.
Puppy Power
Dogs are welcome at many state parks and beaches, but must be on leashes at all times. Please call ahead to see if your pooch can join you on the trail—and don't forget to pack a plastic bag to pick up after your canine friend.