Day Hikes around Monterey & Carmel
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
© Robert Stone/Day Hike Books. All Rights Reserved.
Nice day hike, I would advise beginning on the ridge trail(all uphill but wide trail road) and decending down the bluffs trail ending on the beach at mouth of Big Sur river. Nice view at peak with a bench to rest and take in the scene.
This trail has great views and is reasonably challenging due to its length. The trail is wide at most points. If you park along highway 1 north of the Andrew Molera entrance you can save a few dollars on parking and jump in the Big Sur River after you are done with the hike!
As everyone say - the view is just too good. Different terrain - forest, beach, mountain, crossing the river. The panorama hike is a little touch, other than that most of the hike is easy. We modified this trail a little - beach trail(1 mile) – bluff (1.7 mile) – panorama(1.3 miles) - Ridge (only half -1.6 miles )- hidden trail (0.75 mile) - river trail(1.5 miles). Hidden trail was steep down hill and was fun. Almost every one we met on the trail was hiking this loop in the reverse order though. You get the map @ the gate for a dollar and the trail is marked very well. The weather is perfect now. Since it was not very hot, we just survived on just a bottle of water. Look out for poison oaks!!
Actually did most of this hike in the reverse direction from the parking lot via the River, Hidden, Ridge, Panorama, Bluffs, and Beach Trails. Ridge Trail was wide and easy. Panorama Trail was hacked through the abundant poison oak patches, with just enough room to walk through in places without getting touched, but there was never any problem following the trail. Bluffs Trail was easy. Conditions were cloudy and cool. Water consumption two quarts per person. Creek water was available at Springs Trail. Good view from the top of Ridge Trail (would be spectacular on a clear day).
It was a nice hike -- lots of different types of terrain: meadow, thick brush, forrest, beach, and good scenery.
A little ways past the top of "ridge trail" (where the bench is) there are a few steps leading to an overlook where you can see what looks like a really fancy house (or compound). I missed it the first time I did the hike.
I had a couple of complaints: the "panoramic trail" segment had long parts that were extremely overgrown (I picked a few ticks off my clothes there). And for about half the hike, the flies were a problem.
But it was easier than we expected -- total hiking time was about 3.5 hours including lunch and a couple short breaks.
Sign in/up to upload photos.