Seemonterery.com suggests nine worth tramping.
Frankly you cannot go wrong on any of the hikes along the Pacific Coast from Monterey down deep into Big Sur. I’ve done Point Lobos a few times, and camped out one night at Andrew Molera State Park. Truly gorgeous, though crowded on the weekends.
A few samplings from the See Monterey blog post:
Point Lobos State Reserve: This beautiful promontory has been called “the crown jewel of the State Park system.” It’s also an inviting hiking spot, with convenient trails that allow hikers to go for short scenic walks or long traipses.
I always advise folks to find a weekday, or as Dan Mitchell found out once, stop by just before sunset, after the folks have bailed.
Toro Park: If you’re looking for a strenuous climb with a great view, try Toro Park’s Ollason Peak. It provides sweeping views of Monterey Bay and the Salinas Valley, and in the right season abounds with wildflowers.
The best high-up views south of Monterey let you see the curvature of California’s coastline — you can actually match the landscape to mental images of how the state looks on a map. I doubt there are many more places in the United States where you can do this.
Keep in mind it starts getting hot really fast when you stray far from the coast in the summertime.
Hiking Big Sur is another excellent resource.
- Where do you hike when it’s really hot? From last Friday.
- Bur Sur, for sure. (My camp-out at Andrew Molera State Park, summer 2005.)
- Point Lobos on a weekday in mid-September. Short hikes and nature gawking, 2007.
I hiked Torro County Park last year and quite enjoyed it, including going up to Ollason Peak. The view from there was so beautiful that day that I could have sat down and cried. I like parks like that. On the down side, if you are looking to get away from all evidence of civilization, then Torro County Park is not the park to go to. Many of the views include houses along Highway 68 and Salinas and Monterey. But I still wouldn’t let that keeping you from hiking this park. It’s a good one to know about and as soon as my busted up knee is up to snuff, I think I’ll head back to it to hit some trails I missed the first time out. Oh, and Garrapata and Garland Ranch are both parks in the area that should be hiked too.
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