Hiking The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

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This weekend I took a drive up to Monterey for a work conference. The nice thing about business trips in California is that I can drive with Julia, Isla, and Lilly. I booked a nice cottage in Pacific Grove that was right next to a golf course and the Point Pinos Lighthouse. The Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast, having been built in 1855. To stay on track for the 52 Hike Challenge this year, I knew I needed to find a hike I could try in the area. Luckily, there is a trail that follows the coast from Pacific Grove to Monterey.

This hike was 6.5 miles round-trip with virtually no change in elevation. The weather in Monterey was foggy for this hike, but that beat the rain we experienced during most of our stay.

Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
Starting In Pacific Grove

Starting at the Point Pinos lighthouse, we walked down Asilomar Ave to Ocean View Blvd. The trail parallels Ocean View Blvd. all the way to Monterey. The first stretch of trail includes the John Denver memorial as part of the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Park.

Isla and Lilly Are Ready
Isla and Lilly Are Ready

There was a huge storm moving into California over the weekend and we could see it’s power. There were 15 foot swells powering in from the deep to crash hard on the rocky shores of the peninsula. We get a lot of year-round sun in Southern California, so I was really enjoying the foggy cool weather. Isla and Lilly were having the most fun though. It only took them a few minutes to coat their little legs in mud.

Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk

Our first stop for the day came at Lover’s Point. This is a very popular spot for visitor of Monterey, and there were a lot of people in the area to enjoy it. There is also a nice little beach shack restaurant with a standard fare menu.

Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
The Break At Lover’s Point
Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
Lover’s Point
Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
Lover’s Point Grill

The trail is paved with asphalt from Lover’s Point to Monterey, which was nice, as it gave Isla and Lilly a chance to dry off. The beautiful views continued to unfold before us. There were beautiful Monterey Cyprus trees that reminded me of my time living in San Luis Obispo. If you’ve never seen Monterey Cyprus in person, make sure to take a trip to Montana de Oro, and then head up the coast through Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey.

Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
Paved Trail

Just before reaching the city of Monterey we passed the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford. Hopkins Station was founded in 1892, making it the oldest marine laboratory on the US Pacific Coast. It’s beaches offer a protected area for harbor seals, and there were quite a few of them out enjoying the morning.

Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk
Harbor Seals
Monterey Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail Hike Walk

The Monterey Recreation trail continues on once you reach the city of Monterey, but we decided to stop at the aquarium, and enjoy a quick lunch. We didn’t go into the aquarium, as they don’t allow dogs, but I’ll post some pictures below from a previous trip. If you’ve never been before, this is a “must see” aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
My Favorite Colors
Monterey Bay Aquarium
More Jellyfish

The outside of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is just as beautiful as the inside. Isla and Lilly were getting a little anxious at this point though, as they didn’t like the feeling of being out over the water. That was a good cue to turn back, so we hiked back on the same trail that delivered us to the city of Monterey.

At The Aquarium

Even though I had to work the rest of the weekend, this little hike put me in a great frame of mind. It also helped that it was foggy or raining while I was working, so I didn’t feel like I was missing to much. On the way home, we stopped by old old stompin’ ground of San Luis Obipso. Like always, we hit up Firestones for some tritip sandwiches and french fries, then finished the day with a stop by Pismo Beach.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Pismo Beach
Monterey Bay Aquarium


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25 thoughts on “Hiking The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail”

  1. I’m heading here in September for a day before driving to Sequoia and Kings Canyon. I didn’t know about the trail, so thanks for the write up!

  2. Quite a lovely hike! Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the sun (though here in the Midwest, I could stand to have a little more of it). I’ve never made it out to Monterey Bay, but maybe in the future!

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