At Garrapata State Park, spectacular rocky shorelines play counterpoint with an inland area of steep mountains and deep redwood canyons. The park has two miles of beach front, with coastal hiking and a 50-foot climb to a beautiful view of the Pacific. The park offers diverse coastal vegetation with trails running from ocean beaches into dense redwood groves. The park also features outstanding coastal headlands at Soberanes Point. Sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters frequent the coastal waters and California gray whales pass close by during their yearly migration. The park is located on Highway 1, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel (18 miles north of Big Sur). The climate is moderate, with a mean average of 50-65 degrees year-round. Variable weather includes cool, foggy mornings, strong onshore winds, and hot summer days in the backcountry. Layered clothing is advised. Dogs are only allowed on Garrapata Beach and must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. Bicycles are permitted only on Rocky Ridge Trail.
This is my favorite trail in the whole world. It's challenging but well worth it. Make sure you have great shoes with good threads or be prepared to slide down the mountain. It can also get cold and windy any time of the year. Dogs are NOT allowed -- please respect the signs.
The northern side of the trail is very washed out, we went counter clockwise around the trail and came down on that side. It may be easier to go up that direct as it was hard to get a good foothold while coming down. Over half of the trail is in the sun so be prepared. There was also an almost vertical climb down in the redwoods.
Great mix of red wood trees, open barren hills and nice little streams. It can be strenuous hike for a non experienced hiker. The view from the highest point which is close to 1880 feet is amazing. Do carry a lot of water as during summer days you will get dehydrated really fast during the climb. You will also find tons of lizards, cactus and poison ivy, so be careful.
Hard hike for an East coast hiker who's use to shade the whole time. I recommend going clockwise for the loop so you are in the forest and shade at the end of the hike vs getting blasted with sun when you go clockwise and are tired. Decent will be steep either way.
Poison oak was pretty prevalent in the lower area and my wife and I missed the right off the main road to start the loop so we hiked and extra 1/2 mile through it
I really like this trail because there are spots in it where there are separate trails that branch off of the main one that are a little harder and they're a lot of fun if you're up for it! it gets kinda sketchy at parts but as long as you're careful it's all good. and the view is really awesome!!!
I'm not sure how the others did it, but my attempt at the trail today (5/25/16) was impassible due to poison oak. It had encroached on either side of the trail, I went through it for about a quarter of a mile but it looked like it was getting worse and more overgrown. The trail was somewhat distinguished, but I did not want to risk getting poision oak by wading through the stuff. Note: there are currently no trail closures or advisories out for the current state of Rocky Ridge Trail. If you want to avoid getting poison oak, I would avoid taking Rocky Ridge Trail at the moment.
This is a great hike, and it makes your want to put on your best shoes for it. The entrance at the hike says the mid section of the hike is closed - but we still went through it.
The hike is worn out, and eroded in the canyons - but nothing that good shoes and good legs can't get you through. The mid sections is open to the sun and we did it during the noon and go scorched. Carry a lot of water and keep an eyes out for the geckos, lest you should squash em under your feet (read: many geckos darting like arrows here and there). We also saw a snake on our way up.
The view from the top is spectacular, and makes the hike worth it. The descent is a bit too steep and you can run down it - but being careful about where you step while running down. Overall a solid sub 5 mi hike, with a difficult which makes it feel like a 7 mi one.
Would I do it again? Hell yes!