Hiking in Carmel and Monterey- Mike D.

We’re going to Monterey/Carmel next month for 3 days and are considering a 2 or 3 day hike, probably from Carmel north, staying in a different hotel/motel each night. We’re probably taking 2 cars, so can leave one at the destination. Is this type of trip viable or recommended, or are we better off just staying at one place and taking day hikes? The hikes can’t be more than moderately challenging as we have some aching old joints to consider.

Paging Mike Dildine, or anyone else with expertise on the matter.


I would do day hikes and stay in one place. Big Sur has some amazing hiking as does the SC Mtn’s.

Point Lobos for day hiking and slack jawed scenery viewing. Big Sur is close to the south with extended hiking opportunities. There are also some great parks up in the Santa Cruz Mountains that offer beautiful forest hiking.

I totally agree with Point Lobos. It has three wonderful trails/areas to hike.

In Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, there is Nisene Marks State Park. Many wonderful trails that has small waterfalls and deep in the redwood forest. Plus, the old slide trail is very nice hike.

Big Sur, Big Basin and Los Padres Forest also have many great hikes.

Agree on Pt. Lobos!


Thanks all. Is there any trail/series of trails which make a 2 or 3 day hike from Carmel north a good idea? I imagine that would entail a lot of beach walking or negotiating private property.

None that I am aware of. I imagine it would involve piecing together quite a few different things, trail hikes, beach hikes, highway 1 and private property.

Yep. I’m thinking if you want to do anything like that it would be somewhere well north of the Bay Area if it is possible at all. Most of the long hike options are in the mountain regions.

You can do something like this in the Bay Area on the BA Ridge Trail http://www.ridgetrail.org/

but… I agree with others, day hikes in Pt. Lobos & Big Sur, the SCM, I’d find more enjoyable.

The Cypress Grove trail in Pt. Lobos is not to be missed. Be aware Pt. Lobos can be very crowded, and you may need to arrive early to even be allowed to enter the park.

A good point-to-point trail in the SCM is Skyline to the Sea trail.

Hiking in Big Sur has changed since the 2008 fire. I’d check these parks to make a plan:


The Old Coast Road, 10.5 miles, from Bixby Creek Bridge on Hwy. 1 just south of Carmel Highlands to Andrew Molera State Park just north of Big Sur, should be a wonderful hike - but I have only driven it, not walked it.

This might help - “Top Ten Day Hikes in Monterey County,” Top 10-Day Hikes in Monterey | Big Sur & Caramel Valley Trails

Agree with prior posters on everything, but especially Point Lobos. Big Sur is fantastic of course but be aware there are often road closures on Highway 1 between Big Sur and Carmel: Content Not Available | Caltrans

There was a rock slide a few months ago in which a big hunk fell into the Pacific and closed the road for several weeks. I see on the website that it is still controlled 1 way only traffic for 13.7 miles so the usual 45 minute drive might take 90 min. or even more.

Road closures are generally just problem in winter with the rains We’ve made it from SC to Big Sur in less than 1 1/2 hours twice this summer. Road to one lane is controlled by traffic light and only a slight problem.