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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
25 thoughts on “Hiking The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail”
Great photos! Looks like you had fun 🙂
Loved this one…took me back to our year in Monterey. LOVE THAT PLACE!
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!
Sounds like a great trip! Sequoia and Kings are great parks. This trail makes for a nice morning walk if you’re only in town for a short while.
This is awesome, beautiful pictures!
wow my mom will not let me outside when it is raining.
You live in a beautiful part of the world. Gorgeous even in the fog. I agree, fantastic aquarium. I love the jellies…could stare at them for hours
California is a special place with so many hidden gems 🙂
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!
It’s definitely a trip worth taking if you ever make out to CA!
Visiting California again is most definitely on my plans for the future, especially with great hikes like these.
I’ll be in Monterey at the end of the month. I’m looking forward to going on this little hike. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Kimberly! Have fun!
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Looks like a great hike. Love the jellyfish shots.
Love the photos! I need to visit one day.