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Best Hiking Trails with Ocean Views

Pismo Beach...
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Best Hiking Trails with Ocean Views

My wife and I will be visiting Memorial Day weekend and are interested in doing at least one hike during our time in the area. We visited Point Lobos State Park last year; we're not opposed to going back, but we would like to see some new areas, too. I understand it's a holiday weekend, but we're also hoping to experience a trail that isn't quite as crowded as the state park. I've read Soberanes Canyon Trail in Garrapata State Park has beautiful views, but we're definitely open to others' opinions of this trail or any other.

3 replies to this topic
Marina, California
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1. Re: Best Hiking Trails with Ocean Views

Soberanes Canyon Trail just reopened after being closed for almost 2 years due to fire. It's not fully open either, and the part that is open, IIRC, does not have very good ocean views. The majority of the interior of the Santa Lucias is still closed. There are some trails on the west side of the highway there that have remained open and have good views, but they're not much for hiking.

How far do you want to hike?

One place that's out of the way and not really frequented by the hordes that will be here on Memorial Day weekend is Jack's Peak. $5 to park for the day, but the trail is nice and you get spectacular views, both of the ocean and the bay.

San Jose, California
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2. Re: Best Hiking Trails with Ocean Views

Andrew Molera State park is another good choice.

Carmel, California
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3. Re: Best Hiking Trails with Ocean Views

Yes, Andrew Molera would have the most extensive hiking trails with ocean views right now.

Garrapata has very short but dramatic ocean view trails on the west side of Hwy 1. Soberanes Canyon Trail on the east side doesn't have much in terms of ocean views but is a nice hike through a cactus covered canyon and then redwood forest. It's an out and back right now as Rocky Ridge hasn't reopened.

Jack's Peak is nice but the ocean views are distant views as the park is more inland.

Carmel River State Beach has panoramic ocean views stretching from Pebble Beach to Point Lobos from the bluff trails above the beaches but the trails are relatively short. You can park in the small lot at the south end of Carmel and walk across the beach to get to the trail head (by Memorial Day weekend the river should have closed up) or there are a few trail head parking spaces at the end of Ribera Rd.

Palo Corona has nice but more distant (but closer than Jack's Peak) ocean views going up to Inspiration Point. You have to apply for a parking permit in advance which will also give you the gate code but you're guaranteed relative peace since only a total of 21 parking permits a day are issued for both east and west gates https:/…palo-corona-regional-park

Point Lobos and Big Sur will be very crowded over Memorial Day weekend and there's road construction at Hwy 1 and Rio Rd that started this month and will last through August that has been causing lengthy northbound delays on busy days.

Edited: 5:59 pm, April 17, 2018
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