Monterey County, California

Looking for the best hiking in Monterey County? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Monterey County. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Hiking Spots in and near Monterey County

  • Big Sur, California

    Big Sur River Gorge

    4.7
    0.36 mi / 56 ft gain
    If you are in the Big Sur area during the summer, exploring the Big Sur River Gorge is a must! The gorge is located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and your closest parking will be day use parking lot 3. The trailhead to the gorge can be found at the northeast end of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park C...
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  • Paicines, California

    Camp in Pinnacles National Park

    4.0
    / 1819 ft gain
    Pinnacles Campground is accessible from the east side of the park, and you generally lose cell service about 20 minutes before the park entrance. The campground offers tent camping, group camping, and a handful of RV sites. The tent and group sites have individual picnic tables and fire rings, an...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Camp on Prewitt Ridge

    4.2
    After much time in Big Sur, it became quickly apparent that Prewitt Ridge is the crown jewel of camping in the area. It has even been described as "the most beautiful car camping spot on god's green earth" and that doesn't do it justice.While Prewitt Ridge is an officially designated campground i...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail

    4.2
    18.96 mi / 7339 ft gain
    The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you're really moving. The trail is moderately challenging, you'll cross the river t...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Pine Ridge, North Coast Ridge Loop

    2.0
    33.45 mi / 11388 ft gain
    If you are looking to do some backpacking in the Big Sur area, you've come to the right place. This post shares a suggested 4-day backpacking loop in the Ventana Wilderness that will offer a bit of everything - challenging hiking with a healthy does of elevation, beautiful primitive camping amon...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike to Pfeiffer Falls

    4.0
    2 mi
    This trail is a staff favorite at Big Sur. This family-friendly waterfall trail provides only a moderate challenge for young children and older family members. There are two starting points for this hike depending on where you stashed the car. If you’re parked near the gift shop, the head up the ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Camp at Ventana Campground, Big Sur

    4.6
    This campground is a gem when it comes to Big Sur camping, book here. Each site includes a parking spot, a campfire ring with grill, a picnic table, and plenty of space for 1-2 tents. There are multiple immaculate restroom facilities with showers, clean trash enclosures (emptied and sanitized dai...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Pfeiffer Beach

    4.0
    0.81 mi / 75 ft gain
    Pfeiffer Beach located in Big Sur may truly be one of the most awesome beaches in California...if you can find it. I lived within 40 miles of this beach for over 20 years and just discovered it recently. This beach is located on an unmarked road called Sycamore Canyon Road. On Highway 1, this roa...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Pat Springs via Skinners Ridge

    3.5
    13.18 mi / 3645 ft gain
    Backpacking to Pat Springs is a way to see Big Sur and the San Lucia mountains from a perspective that few get to experience. The Ventana Wilderness is rugged and remote, yet Pat Springs is one of the most beautiful campgrounds around that will allow you to take in this amazing terrain.  To get ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike the East Molera Trail

    3.2 mi / 1390 ft gain
    Housed in Andrew Molera State Park, the East Molera Trail is easily accessible from Highway 1 with parking and restrooms available to hikers. A $10.00 entry fee is required but also provides entrance to Pfieffer Big Sur State Park just a few miles down the road.The trail head is located east of t...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike the Andrew Molera State Park Loop

    4.5
    8.8 mi / 1100 ft gain
    The loops starts at the Andrew Molera State Park parking lot (4.5 miles north of the entrance to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park along Highway 1). Begin by crossing the Big Sur River using the seasonal bridge. If the bridge has been removed, you will need to cross the water by foot. Usually the water...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Sand Dollar Beach

    4.8
    0.35 mi / 82 ft gain
    Head into Big Sur and get a campsite at Plaskett Creek. You can either make a reservation through recreation.gov or show up and hope to luck out on one of the first-come, first-serve campsites. The campground is much more crowded during the prime summer months, so if you want to get better surf ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike the Creamery Meadow Trail to Molera Beach

    2 mi
    Entrance to the parking lot is $10 per car, and once you get in be sure to use the restroom before you head for the trail, since you will likely spend a good amount of time out there.Look for the sign that says Creamery Meadow Trail. You'll know it's right when the very first thing you'll need to...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike down to Jade Cove

    2.0
    0.3 mi / 65 ft gain
    The entrance to jade cove is off the side of the road on Hwy 1.  There is lots of side parking available.  You go down a short unmarked trail and keep left.  You'll find yourself at the top of a cliff/mountain side that uses 2 ropes to get down.  The first rope is short and not super difficult.  ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Camp at Andrew Molera State Park

    4.5
    1 mi
    Andrew Molera is about 27 miles south of Carmel and one of the first State Parks you'll hit heading down the coast. There will be signs for the Park as you approach and the main parking lot is only a couple hundred yards from Hwy 1. There are a number of hiking trails and activities to do around ...
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  • Salinas, California

    Hike or Trail Run around Toro Park

    Just a short drive from downtown Monterey you will find yourself amongst the rugged yet serene hills ofToro Park. For a $2 admission fee you will have access to 20+ miles of trails that climb through canyons and run along ridgelines to peaks with views of the ocean in the distance. While the map ...
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