nature trips



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.

Absolutely love this hike! One of my favorites.

Just did this hike yesterday. Very easy, but the views of the ocean and cliffs is stunning! The winds were very strong, so dress accordingly! I also loved that I could have my dog alongside. Make sure to head up to the peak to get a full view of the coastline. Afterwards, make sure to stop by the California Market for a delicious drink/snack! 120 Highlands Dr, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

I love this hike. I’ve probably done it 100 times over the years. I noticed a couple of the reviews mentioned shoes, specifically wearing hiking shoes, which I wholeheartedly agree with for both safety and comfort. Also, the weather can vary greatly from the back side to the front rocky ridge.

alas... every good trail has a proposal point... this one trumps all else on coastal views... just like in marriage things start kinda..well..peaceful & easy.. then begins the climb... sometimes you pass where you one should not go (I'm talking about heading past the trail closed sign)... but..let's all agree the effort is worth the climb... summiting affords a reward of panoramic views of the world class rocky cliffs... God himself carved out this trail in all its glory... dream of the perfect love...the kind that bows its knee and offers eternal-like love at a perfectly placed bench on the edge of the world..should this world be flat I would certainly fall off... please some share your proposal moment... and after the mountain high life will no doubt circle you back on the challenging path... you will follow a trail that was crafted by the harshness of wind and water.. (quite literally you will follow a wash) cared for by only mother nature herself... but worth the challenge in every way...ending where the beginning began... peaceful & easy...

Awesome sunset very easy to park along the highway and walk down to the water

23 days ago

Great loop. It is a good climb, but anyone that actually looks at the map before they go can figure that out. Part of the loop is ‘closed’ because it simply hasn’t been maintained for a while, unfortunately. The trailhead is usually a little crowded, but very few of those cars are actually on the trail, most are on the west side of the highway looking at the water. As far as the trail being dangerous, the most dangerous part of the hike is parking and crossing Highway 1!!

Enjoyed this hiked. Started on the canyon side and enjoyed the ocean view on the way down. I recommend walking sticks on the way down because the incline is hard on your knees. This trail is beautiful!

1 month ago

Parking: Easy parking on both sides of hwy 1. We started early but I imagine it gets quite busy during the spring and summer.

Bathrooms: 2 porta pottys near the trailhead. Both were very clean.

Hike: Great hike. Headed counterclockwise through a pretty diverse landscape including cacti and then redwoods and a nicely flowing creek. Ignored the closed sign as many people were.. a bit of an uphill right after the closure sign but smooth sailing after that. Uphill and pretty tough but great views of the surrounding mountains and ocean await you at the top. Descending down rocky ridge wasn't too bad with poles but might be a little tough for some. Watch your footing and be careful of ticks, found one crawling up my shirt!

Love this trail and my kids have grown up hiking this trail.

This is a super easy hike with a breathtaking view of the beautiful coastline of Carmel and Big Sur, California.

on Soberanes Canyon Trail

1 month ago

Stunning views from the peak. Not sure why the trail is marked as closed, I would encourage you to continue onwards as long as you are in shape and stable on your feet, you will be just fine!

Hard work up and down but the views from the top totally worth it. Stunning views up and down the coast.

This hike is NOT dangerous unless your wearing sandals like some people do. If you start into the canyon and hike to the posted sign at 1.25 m. that says to not continue, you will have a immediate -.1 incline, and it’s very doable. After that it’s smooth sailing.

Amazing views and actually saw whales from this vista!

Beautiful hike, a great workout with awesome views. We hiked it backwards and it was nice to get the sea breeze on the way down. Hiking it never felt dangerous.

2 months ago

After doing the entire loop today I find some of these reviews to be pretty funny. Yes there are dangerous parts to this hike as one would expect hiking through a canyon and then up to the top of a mountain. We honestly don’t know why the trail is closed though. This is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done especially once you reach the summit and over look the beautiful coastline.

Beautiful views! Short hike, very worth it. Accessible from turnouts...not marked.

Great hike and amazing view, next time I'm thinking about trying it counterclockwise so the last part of the hike wouldn't be in direct sun!

My favorite Big Sur hike.

3 months ago

Hiked October 4th. Crossed paths with other Day hikers doing the entire 5.4 mi loop. Trail conditions were as described, similar to my hike in spring 2015.

3 months ago

Scenery: 4
Views: 4
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 2
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Soberanes is a gorgeous hike and an easy trail through the canyon, however... Do not attempt to do the entire “loop” to Rocky Ridge from the end of Soberanes Canyon Trail unless you’re used to climbing - extreme - terrain and vertical inclines. Once you start up, it’s too dangerous to go back down and it’s not a switchback trail, but a straight shot vertical incline on sandy, rocky ground (easy to slip) that’s the equivalent of 158 “floors” on the iPhone app. Not for the faint of heart, or people looking to go for an easy scenic hike on their vacation. Hiking boots with tread are required and walking sticks also help. There is a reason the trail is closed and that’s because it’s dangerous. That said, the “safest” option for those who want to see the view from the top is to take the Rocky Ridge trail (instead of the Canyon trail) to the top, enjoy the view, then turn around and descend the same way. Do NOT attempt to continue on and descent into the Canyon via Rocky Ridge trail - the ground is not suitable for descending and there’s no cell reception back there (and no patrol), so if anything happens to you, you’re in the wind. Nonetheless, if you are an extreme climber and want to do the entire loop, start with Soberanes Canyon Trail and when you see the “end/closure” sign, the trail is to the left (yes, it’s unmarked, you have to scale the side of the hill and climb up rocks a bit - again, I don’t recommend that route unless you’re an extreme climber/hiker).

3 months ago

Great for views. Easy trail.

Scenic views everywhere!

Trail starts off feeling all desert like and quickly changes to forest. Many small streams you'll have to cross. 2nd half of trail is currently closed to hazardous conditions, but still saw some people hiking it.

Beautiful hike! The steep section to get up to the ridge was a little difficult but so worth it! The views are amazing! Nice bench to sit on at the top and see the view!

Beautiful hike! A little of everything, redwoods, I’ve caught some great wild flowers, gorgeous views and a great workout!!

5 months ago

We hiked this trail last week (7/15). We accidentally went the reverse way around - take the yellow trail first for the 1.5 miles before it turns into the red or “closed” trail. We packed very lightly from east coast and didn’t have hiking boots - for about 1.5 miles we had to slide down on our hands and butts so we didn’t slip since it was all loose sand on the way down. You can avoid this by starting yellow to red, sandy part up, ocean view on the way down. Bring shoes with tread for safety. Thought I couldn’t do it but when we got to the top it was worth it! You get ocean, desert and forest landscapes all in one.

Load More