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Cottonwood to Maple Canyon to Lupine Loop

MODERATE 73 reviews

Buckeye Nature Trail is a 4.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Carmel Valley Village, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 718 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching






Buckeye Nature Trail is an informative trail that describes the landscape, flora, and history of the site you are hiking. There was plenty of wildlife, especially birds, with an abundance of Red Shouldered Hawks flying about. There were a LOT of dogs running around on the trail as well, none of them leashed so be careful if you bring your dog! There was also a LOT of poison oak which is there year round. The trail also has stairs where it is steep. It is covered by a thick canopy of trees, so if it rains you are not likely to get wet.

5 days ago

Beautiful trail! It was hard to stay on the right path because there are so many options but overall really nice, beautiful views, not too heavily trafficked. Good incline to get your heart rate up. Visitor center has a small museum and 3D map of the surrounding area.

2 months ago

Visitor center has loaner maps so that’s great. There’s usually signs along the way so the trails are well marked. Really nice views and I went along sky trail where I also stopped at siesta point and inspiration point. Good places to take short breaks and enjoy the view on a wooden bench. Lots of fall colors happening now. Nice stroll!

This trail has some great views and some sweat inducing climbs. the waterfall like most have said, is just a trickle but still a sight to be seen. I'll definitely come back and try some of the longer and more difficult trails. (also had my first tick land on me so be weary)

Wed Jan 02 2019

Just the right amount of climbs and descents to keep me going

Fri Oct 26 2018

Very pretty trail. Went counter clockwise. Would suggest using the map, as well. We also took a detour to Siesta Point, which was kind of fun. There's a nice bench and a great view.

Sun Sep 16 2018

Really loved this area and hike. Started at visitor center and ascended the climb counter clockwise. Nothing too crazy and it's a steady incline all the way to the highest point. Nice views of the Carmel Valley and all the trails were well maintained and fairly wide. Agreed with the last comment that it's a good idea to load the map onto your app or use a map. Waterfall area is currently dry but I imagine it'll be quite a sight after the rains.

Sat Jul 21 2018

This was a relatively easy hike but with some ascending on the front end. The trail is wide and well-maintained. It follows the creek for a short while, then ascends. It is very easy to get onto another trail because these crisscross all over the place. The signage is not always clear or is absent. You'll need the app up to stay on the intended route and you'll need it zoomed. But overall this is a very pleasant hike and a decent workout.

Mon Feb 26 2018

So I’m gonna be honest, I followed the trail outlined on the app verses taking the designated trails around the park and whoever thought that this trail was easy is crazy. Don’t get me wrong I throughly enjoyed the views and the hike itself but the first part of this trail was almost straight up and my knees were not having it, but once we were on the top it leveled out and we went down again and there was another climb. On the way down the trail was so narrow and it was literally steps along the side of a cliff the come back down the mountain, and again my knees were screaming at me. But we survived, we being my dog and I. I think once my fitness level is up I will be doing the trail outlined on the map here again. 4.5 miles not 3.5 like it says.

Tue Jan 30 2018

We really enjoyed this park because there are so many trails. It is very well maintained and we did not see any trash! One thing we laughed about was that how the residents have made this state park their own personal dog park! We had our dog leashed but almost every dog we encountered was accompanied by a seemingly indifferent owner walking either way behind one another along the trails and in the parking area.

Wed Jan 10 2018

Pretty nice hike. The viewpoint is really nice

Mon Sep 05 2016

Great, leisurely hike with young children. Gather acorns along the way and mash them up with a rock at the big stone they have that the Native Americans used. My kids loooooved this. See photos. Look for the buckeye seeds and acorns. My 6 year old was thrilled. Really interesting signs that educate about the plants and the brilliant methods employed by the native Americans to use the plants. Watch out for poison oak. Also, half way through the trail you have to walk for a few hundred yards on the Mesa trail to continue on to the buckeye trail.

Mon Jan 16 2012

This trail takes you through beautiful forest. If you keep going then get on Sky trail take it to the top. it is intense hike but once you make it to Snively's Ridge, it was worth the hard work to get there.

Wed Dec 29 2010

I was rushed in walking it, but I had pulled off the highway looking for a scenic trail. While it doesn't look like much in the beginning, it definitely gains its beauty as you walk. I went out in the rain and it was very soothing to listen to the rain hit the trees, which are so thick I was able to stay dry. It has a lot of informative plaques around as well. There were also a LOT of Red Shouldered Hawks flying around and calling. Beautiful! CAUTION: There is an abundance of Poison Oak around all year round.

18 days ago

5 months ago

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