Monterey, California

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

Top Photography Spots in and near Monterey

  • 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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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Beach Day at Lighthouse Field State Beach

    4.0
    This beach is less crowded compared to other beaches in Santa Cruz.  I got there early on a Saturday and found easy street parking.  There was plenty of space to spread out on the soft sand.  Later in the day I saw dolphins several times!  This is close to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.  It’s als...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Natural Bridges State Beach

    4.3
    Natural Bridges State Beach is a wonderful place to photograph located in Santa Cruz off of West Cliff Drive. This is a great place to practice long exposure photography to capture awesome water movement as it passes through the "Natural Bridge" formation. The best time to shoot this spot is at ...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Photograph Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges' Monarch Grove

    4.3
    The park's Monarch Grove provides a temporary home for thousands of Monarchs. From late fall into winter they make this their home and if you time it perfectly you can see them in clusters in the trees.  When you reached the Natural Bridges State Park, on the right of the Visitors Center you'll f...
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  • Aptos, California

    Hike to Nisene Marks' Maple Falls

    4.6
    8.5 mi / 900 ft gain
    As you enter the park, you'll need to pay $8 for parking via a self-pay envelope, so it's recommended that you bring exact change. At the park booth, be sure to grab a map. The hike can be a little tricky with no cell service and limited trail signage. Once you've grabbed your map, keep driving p...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Photograph the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

    5.0
    No matter the time you'll decide to visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, you'll have thousands of interesting plants and birds to see and watch. The Arboretum is located on the west side of UCSC campus, between the main campus entrance and the west entrance. Parking is 5$ for adults and 2$ for chil...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Hike the Rincon Fire Trail

    5.0
    1 mi / 300 ft gain
    The Rincon Fire Trail Starts at a small dirt parking lot next to CA-9 and traverses down the mountain to the San Lorenzo River Connecting with the Pipeline Trail. The trail can be a simple one of a mile out and back or up to 5 miles depending on your preference. The elevation will change by about...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Photographing the Sunset at Panther Beach

    5.0
    Probably my favorite beach in the Santa Cruz area. Panther Beach lies just south of Davenport along the beautiful Hwy 1. Park at a large dirt pull out on the left hand side if your heading north from Santa Cruz. The trail down to the beach is steep and not that well maintained so watch your step....
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  • Soledad, California

    Explore Dreamy Wrath Wines Vineyards

    Just a short drive from some of the best trails and rock climbing at Pinnacles National Park, Wrath Wines' Soledad winery is a great way to wine'd down after a day of adventure.  What makes this grape growing region unique is the constant marine layer fog and wind stress out the grapes (that’s a ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike to Big Sur's Tin House

    4.0
    When it comes to the beauty of Big Sur, a half day on Tanbark Trail to the Tin House captures it all. From the redwood forest along Partinton Creek, to the abandoned Tin House, to Highway 1 and coastal views, you can't ask for much more.The hike starts on the east side of Highway 1 - the northern...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Explore The Hidden Rock Caves At Partington Cove

    5.0
    Partington Cove which is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, is one of Big Sur's hidden gems. It's a very short hike with enough views to show why Big Sur earned the nickname " Little Yosemite." The whole hike can easily be completed in less than an hour, although there are definitely eno...
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  • Felton, California

    Observation Deck Loop in Henry Cowell Redwoods SP

    4.3
    5.3 mi / 869 ft gain
    The trail starts at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Visitors Center. Grab a map in the center, as your hike has you turning onto a few different trails to get to the observation deck.  Starting at the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, follow the trail until it connects with the Pipeline Road Trail ...
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  • Felton, California

    Redwood Grove Loop

    4.0
    0.93 mi / 144 ft gain
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located just a few miles north of the city of Santa Cruz, along Highway 9. The park is home to an array of hiking and biking trails, but the crown jewel of the park is the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, which is only a 1/4 mile in from the park's entrance. Many peo...
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  • Davenport, California

    Beach Picnic at Shark Fin Cove

    4.3
    Shark Fin Cove is a large rock formation in an inlet off Highway 1 in Northern California. It is located 1 mile south of Davenport and 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. There is a sizable parking lot located on the side of Highway 1 to park in. Walk down the path left of the parking lot and cross the...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Ewoldsen Trail (Closed)

    4.5
    4.2 mi / 1500 ft gain
    This trail is temporarily closed. For updates, please head to Parks.CA.Gov. The Ewoldsen Trail is one of the more accessible yet challenging hikes in Big Sur. It is a stunning hike through the redwood forest up the mountains of Big Sur to a gorgeous overlook of the Pacific. It is a beautiful ~4...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Waters Ridge Trail (Closed)

    5.0
    7.13 mi / 2776 ft gain
    This trail is temporarily closed. For updates, please head to Parks.CA.Gov. Situated on a cliff above Highway 1, the Waters Ridge Trail offers spectacular views of the rugged coast and soaring condors. This hike above the clouds is a small detour off of the Ewaldson Trail, and is a must see! Ac...
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