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

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Calla Lily Valley

    4.5
    0.31 mi / 46 ft gain
    Parking for Calla Lily Valley is available along the dirt pullout at Gate 19 for Garrapata State Park, near mile-marker 63. Signs are small and difficult to see. Follow the path between the guide wires and take the right fork, heading north to the bluff overlooking the beach. Continue north and f...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Garrapata Beach

    4.6
    A wonderful roadside beach and state park. Easy parking on both sides of Hwy. 1 with short access trails. There are almost 2 miles of coastline trails heading north and south from the parking area. The north end of the beach is great for swimming and surfing when the sea is calm and the south ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce & Estrella Camps

    4.5
    6.07 mi / 1919 ft gain
    Feel free to hike Salmon Creek Trail at your own pace – you can choose to turn back at any point, or at the Spruce (2 miles in) or Estrella (3.25 miles in) sites. The trail leads to open vistas of the coast, giving stunning views of the cliffs and ocean. Around 2 miles in, follow the fork to the...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Salmon Creek Falls

    5.0
    0.29 mi / 102 ft gain
    The trailhead to Salmon Creek Falls is located along a pullout just 45 miles south of Pfieffer Burns State Park on the Highway 1. The falls are only about .25 miles from the trailhead, perfect for a quick visit if you are already driving through Big Sur. Though the Salmon Creek Trail continues on...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Soberanes Point

    1.82 mi / 295 ft gain
    Garrapata State Park is located along California's Highway 1, roughly 5 miles south of Carmel, California. The park is entirely free with multiple pull-outs and serves as one of the first grand views travelers encounter while heading south from the Monterey Peninsula to southern California. Garra...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Secluded Beach Near Soberanes Point

    5.0
    0.2 mi / 40 ft gain
    When we stumbled upon this beach we were thrilled to have such great views with no crowds.  There is plenty of room to lay out in the sun, you can swim in the ocean to cool off, and the beach is surrounded by beautiful landscape.  If you decide to swim be very careful as the waves and currents ca...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Hike to the Top of Inspiration Point

    5.0
    1.3 mi / 850 ft gain
    This magnificent trail was recently converted into part of the Monterey Regional Parks System. Walk through pastures of cows, through coast oaks, up a steep incline with vast views of Carmel Valley, Carmel and the Pacific Ocean up to the top where a picnic table awaits you at Inspiration Point. T...
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  • Carmel, California

    Point Lobos Natural Preserve Loop

    4.7
    7.14 mi / 640 ft gain
    Point Lobos contains headlands, coves and rolling meadows, and its offshore area forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world, popular with divers. Wildlife includes seals, sea lions, sea otters, migrating gray whales (from December to May), and thousands of seabirds, who also make t...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Whalers Cove Loop

    4.3
    1.42 mi / 253 ft gain
    Point Lobos is one of the hidden gems of the California coast. Located just off of Route 1 right after Monterey, Point Lobos is a state park on the coast. The cost to explore inside is ten dollars, but so worth it. As you explore, be sure to hike around Whalers Cove, which is incredible at sunse...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Hike along the Carmel River Beach Trail

    1 mi / 100 ft gain
    Known as "Ribera Beach" by locals, this stretch of land nestled between Carmel River State Beach and Monastery Beach is not to be missed! The trails are easy to get to and can be accessed by 4 locations. The first entrance is on Highway 1 at the Bay School (between Ribera Road and Monastery Beach...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Cypress Grove Trail via South Shore Trail

    5.0
    1.72 mi / 121 ft gain
    Cypress Grove Trail via South Shore Trail is a family-friendly loop hiking trail located near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Along this hike in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, you'll get a chance to see beautiful coastal views with rugged cliffs, views across Monterey Bay, and Cypress trees as...
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  • Marina, California

    Explore Fort Ord Dunes State Park

    5.0
    One of the best parts of Monterey is the beaches – but their popularity is also their weakness, so if you want seclusion head to the lesser-known Fort Ord Dunes for solitude and beautiful views of Monterey Bay and the Pacific Coast. Historically, this location was chosen as the location for Fort ...
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  • Pacific Grove, California

    Spanish Bay Trail

    5.0
    2.8 mi / 78 ft gain
    Spanish Bay Trail is an out and back trail that takes you past scenic views located near Monterey, California.
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  • Pacific Grove, California

    Visit the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary

    1 mi
    Thousands of monarchs can be found here October through February. It's a small park with a path through the center. Park near the Monarch Grove hotel at the sign that says "Caution: Butterflies present", and cross the street to walk down the short path (pink houses will be on your right) and to t...
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  • San Simeon, California

    Elephant Seal Vista Point Trail

    5.0
    5.27 mi / 184 ft gain
    Elephant Seal Vista Point Trail is an out-and-back trail that provides a good opportunity to view wildlife located near San Simeon, California.
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  • San Simeon, California

    Elephant Seal Vista Point

    5.0
    Elephant Seal Vista Point is a favorite place to see the elephant seals. If you’re in the area and have the opportunity, it's a must see. During the Spring, the adult elephant seals and the baby seals are out. Nearby are easy, clearly marked, walking paths, along the cliffs edge. Dogs are not all...
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