Hike the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Starting at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this trail takes you past gorgeous coastal bluffs, harbor seals, rocky shores, crashing waves, beautiful Monterey Cypress trees, and much more. Finish your hike with a tour of the Point Pinos Lighthouse before completing the out-and-back hike.

Starting at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this out-and-back hike takes you out to Pacific Grove before returning for a 6.5 mile round-trip. There is virtually no elevation change on this hike.

You can pick up the trail just outside of the Monterey Bay Aquarium by following the coastline and heading northwest towards Pacific Grove. You'll see a sign telling you you're on the Coastal Bay Recreation Trail. You'll also see the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford, where harbor seals are usually found basking on the shores.

The trail up to this point is all asphalt, but don't worry, the trail turns to dirt shortly after you reach the next destination, Lover's Point. The views at Lover's Point are spectacular. There is also a generous amount of seating for those inclined to plan for a picnic. If you didn't plan for a picnic, but are feeling hungry, hit up the Lover's Point Grill food stand where you'll find burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and other beach front staples. Lover's Point is also one of the few places on this hike where you can walk down onto the beach and enjoy some time on the sand.

After Lover's Point, the trail moves into Pacific Grove and higher up on the Monterey Peninsula. The swells can be pretty fierce here, so be sure to keep an eye on the waves breaking close to the trail. My turnaround for this hike is at the Point Pinos golfcourse where you will find the Point Pinos Lighthouse. The Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast, having been built in 1855. This is a nice spot to turn around and head back to Monterey, but you can also continue on alongside the shore if you're looking to add more mileage.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Proper footwear
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RT Distance 6.5 Miles
Activities Cycling, Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful Sunday morning stroll

Well worth doing if you're in or around Monterey. Suitable for all levels. Watching the sealions sunbathe and frolic in the harbor is an absolute must.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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