Skip to main content

The Best Hikes in Monterey to Trek Year-Round
Health & Fitness

The Best Hikes in Monterey to Trek Year-Round

Embark on the best trails to go hiking in Monterey to discover magical forests, graceful waterfalls, and old-growth redwood groves.

Share

6 min read

October 16, 2022

Home to magical forests, graceful waterfalls, and old-growth redwood groves, Monterey Bay is a Golden State gem just waiting to be explored. Adventurous souls and nature lovers call this place heaven on earth — scenic drives complement the area’s natural wonders and captivate the curious minds of Californians. It’s undeniable that the best way to see Monterey is on foot.

As one of the best Central Coast getaways in California, Monterey has an abundance of trails that take you to dramatic points with unparalleled views of the coast. Whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter, gear up with your outdoor workout clothes and get ready to go hiking in Monterey. 

The Awe-Inspiring Monterey Hikes To Take Next

Trek the Skyline Trail through majestic Jacks Peak Park and be rewarded with breathtaking views.

Skyline Trail

Location: 25020 Jacks Peak Park Road, Monterey
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 0.8 mile
Time: 25 minutes
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: Yes, on a leash

Jacks Peak Park is one of the coolest places to hike in Monterey. The Skyline Trail is the most rewarding hike here—the self-guided path features impressive views and is primarily used for nature trips and bird watching. This short hiking trail in Monterey County leads you to the park’s main feature: Jacks Peak, which rises 1,068 feet above Monterey and Carmel. The peak is the highest point on the Monterey Peninsula and reaching it is one of the most incredible things to do in Monterey.

Garland Ranch Waterfall Trail

Location: 700 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.1 miles
Time: 1 hour
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: Yes

Looking for an unforgettable thing to do on the Central Coast? Hiking the Garland Ranch Waterfall Trail is a memorable experience that’s just enough of a climb to feel like a workout. The path takes you through an oak forest and up a mountain towards a waterfall that’s best viewed after rainfall. This is one of the best hiking trails in Monterey because it’s accessible year-round and your four-legged friend is welcome to join you. 

The Best Hikes Near Monterey

If there's ever a trail you must traverse, it's the McWay Falls Trail. The view of the gorgeous waterfall makes the hike more than worthwhile.

McWay Falls Trail

Location: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur 
Difficulty: Easy 
Distance: 1.1 miles
Time: 30 minutes
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: No

There are only two tide falls in the Golden State: McWay Falls and Alamere Falls, and you can see the former by trekking the McWay Falls Trail. This path to the famed waterfall is one of the best hiking trails in Monterey. Who wouldn’t want to feast their eyes on one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in California? The short and easy trail guides you to the breathtaking sight — different hues of blue vibrantly explode before your eyes. As the 80-foot-tall waterfall drops straight into the ocean, this can’t-miss Central Coast spot rejuvenates your mind, body, and soul.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is all about the gorgeous vistas. Lace up your hiking boots, because it's time to go exploring.

Point Lobos Loop Trail

Location: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Carmel-by-the-Sea 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.7 miles
Time: 2–3 hours
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: No

If you’re looking for an outdoor experience where you’ll get to see the best parts of the California coastline, hiking in Monterey, CA, will do the job for you. For an unforgettable coastal hiking trail, head to the breathtaking Point Lobos Loop Trail. Stroll along this wonderful path within the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to observe barking sea lions, chattering shorebirds, resting sea otters, and breathtaking geological formations.

If you spot tide pools with crabs along your way, don’t hesitate to explore the pockets of water and discover the magic of the ocean. Trekking this hiking trail in Monterey, C.A. is one of the most fun things to do in Point Lobos.

As you traverse this exciting trail, admire the unique rock formations found throughout Pinnacles National Park.

Condor Gulch Trail to High Peaks Trail Loop

Location: Pinnacles National Park, Soledad
Difficulty: Challenging
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 3–4 hours
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: No

Looking for a challenging yet rewarding hiking trail in Monterey, C.A.? The Condor Gulch Trail to High Peaks Trail Loop has you covered. The rock formations surrounding the path are unlike any other geological structures you’ll ever see. With caves and treacherous stairs along the way, this hiking trail is full of surprises and adventures. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the rare California condors, which will make your experience all the more memorable. 

Dog-Friendly Hikes In Monterey

Spend your day right and go for a hike in beautiful Pebble Beach with your best friend.

Pebble Beach Cruise

Location: 1700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 2–3 hours
Route: Point to point
Dogs allowed: Yes

Pebble Beach Cruise is a panoramic Monterey Bay hike with dramatic views of Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive. Accessible to hikers year-round, the point-to-point trail is generally used for birding, road biking, and (naturally) scenic drives. This dog-friendly hike along California’s Central Coast is an unforgettable experience and we guarantee that your furry little friend will be just as excited as you are when exploring the route. 

Huckleberry Hill Loop Trail

Location: 1200 Veterans Drive, Monterey
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.9 miles
Time: 1 hour
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: Yes

The forested hills of Monterey provide numerous hiking opportunities, but it’s hard to beat Veteran’s Memorial Park. This expansive Monterey park is home to the Huckleberry Hill Loop Trail, a wonderful day hike for nature lovers. Surrounded by gorgeous wildflowers, the path has moderately steep parts to challenge hikers every now and then. With scenic routes that boast incredible views, you’ll experience the best hiking in Monterey. 

Earl Moser Trail Loop

Location: 25020 Jacks Peak Park Road, Monterey
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.8 miles
Time: 45–55 minutes
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: Yes

Earl Moser Trail Loop is yet another Jacks Peak Park hike that allows you to spend quality time in nature with your four-legged friend. Shared by hikers, dog walkers, and joggers, the well-maintained trail is perfect for a quick stroll; the crisp coastal air will reinvigorate your soul. Spring is the perfect season to hike this trail—vibrant wildflowers emerge from the soil and complement the park’s natural beauty. As one of the best wildflower hikes in California, Earl Moser Trail Loop definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list.  

Beautiful Monterey Bay Hikes

Hike the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail to marvel at the beauty of the coast and breathe in the crisp air.

Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Location: 631 Ocean View Boulevard, Pacific Grove
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 2–3 hours
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: On leash

When looking for an especially picturesque hiking trail in Monterey County the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is perhaps the most scenic hike you’ll ever go on. The crystal-clear waters reflect the beauty of the coast as you inhale the crisp air—the experience is as refreshing as it gets. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail meanders back and forth through the rugged landscape and offers several side trails that are just waiting to be explored. As one of the most unique things to do in Monterey, hiking here is basically meditating; your body and soul will thank you.

Unwind to the melodic sound of the waves crashing against the shoreline as you hike this majestic trail.

Spanish Bay Trail

Location: Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.8 miles
Time: 40 minutes–1 hour
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: No

Hiking in Monterey means getting to stroll beside the beach while listening to the waves race to the shore. Californians are fortunate enough to have that kind of magical experience while trekking the Spanish Bay Trail. While the turquoise waters of the ocean transform to seafoam at the shoreline, the fresh air breathes new life into your body. As you progress along the path, gorgeous wildflowers harmonize with the surrounding rocks and the sands below. This memorable hiking trail in Monterey is precisely what’s missing from your life.

Recomended businesses

Show me California.com
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.



RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
LEARN MORE ABOUT US
Purpose section
Purpose section