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Carmel River Trail [CLOSED] is a 28 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Carmel Valley Village, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 28.0 miles Elevation Gain: 6,105 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

running

river

views

washed out

closed

Note: The trail is currently closed at the Los Padres Dam due to landslide.

hiking
9 months ago

Closed

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bugs
closed
off trail
over grown
10 months ago

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closed
11 months ago

7/21/19 - Still fenced off and closed due to landslide.

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closed
Sat Apr 20 2019

WARNING - Attempted this hike 4/20/2019 and the trail was closed at the Los Padres damn due to land slides along the road. Ran into a couple of hikers that had come at it from the south side and the trail was not marked as closed and completely impassable. Great trail, have done several day hikes a few miles in to the river crossings. Also done a few single overnights on the carmel river, one of the most serene campsites I've ever stayed at. Never gone more than 5 miles down the trail through, would like to do this whole loop one day.

Tue Jan 01 2019

Great trail for a quick hike with stunning views. Super knowledgeable forest station team at trailhead.

Wed Sep 12 2018

I love this trail for a quick jaunt into the wilderness or to follow it all the way up past hiding camp to the camp with no name near the top of a huge waterfall that's on the way to round rock camp. We refer to that camp as cobra camp. #cobrahikingclub

hiking
Tue Jul 03 2018

We did a 5 mile out and back trip to Carmel River Camp. Awesome views and campsites and swimming holes too. I would recommend looking at the Ventana Wilderness website for recent trail conditions. Originally I wanted to another loop but after looking at the website I was deterred.

hiking
Tue Jul 03 2018

This was our first official backpacking trip...We started at the Las Padres damn and hiked in about 7 miles to a nice river side setting. We set up camp and tested out all of our gear. The trail is well traveled and easy in the since that you would have a hard time getting lost. We came across a lot of poison oak but were able to avoid coming into contact with it. It was a beautiful hike and I highly recommend it. I will go again but this time we will go much farther knowing that all our gear works.

hiking
Fri Jun 22 2018

Really good time, moderate difficulty I'd say. Plenty of good views and a nice variety of ecosystems. Lots of fresh clean water to pump as you will be along the river. Highly recommend.

hiking
Fri Nov 27 2015

Did a 20-mile roundtripper from Los Padres dam up the Carmel River trail, to the apparently now-defunct Puerto Suello trail (it's on my Trails Illustrated but not on Alltrails!), then down the Ventana and Big Pines Trails. Really beautiful area. The trails can be tough to follow at time, as they're really overgrown in places, but the views make up for it. From the Ventana Trail you can see the ocean! The Carmel River is really beautiful, also, so lush it reminded me of being home back East!

hiking
Tue May 05 2015

5/3/15 - My 12 yr old daughter and myself just completed a 3 day/2 night from China Camp at Tassahara Rd through Pine Valley to Los Padres Dam. Great trip but a very tough through the stretch from Pine Valley to Hidding Camp. We made it to Buckskin Flat camp in 7 hours with a couple of long breaks in between. The trail through this section was severely overgrown with probably 15 fallen trees. If I had know it was this bad I would not have tried and instead opted for the Carmel river trail in and out. I would not recommend this stretch until maintenance is done as the growth will only get worse. Ton's of poison oak as well. If you go, don't attempt without good trail pants, long sleeves, gloves and a face net (bugs). Getting to the river trail was a great reward and this trail, while also a bit overgrown in places, was beautiful. I'm in really good shape as is my daughter and the 2nd leg was pretty grueling so I would consider the overall trip moderate.

hiking
Sat Mar 29 2014

3/15/14 - From Los Padres Dam to Carmel River Camp - 11 miles r/t. Stayed one night with my 10 yr old daughter. She loved the trail and playing in the river. Great hike with a few Difficult spots but I mostly consider this as a Moderate hike. Reservoir was full as opposed to a few weeks ago when it looked 30' lower than tree line. The river crossings were all rock hoppers and the poison oak is a bit encroaching onto some sections. Overall really nice and the no fire order had been lifted about a week before we went so a nice small evening fire was nice.

hiking
Sun Feb 23 2014

Great hike to recon some overnight spots for the near future. Started at 9a with my daughter and headed out to see the Bluff campsite and Carmel River campsite. Easy trail to follow, one creek crossing over a log and one rock-hopping river crossing. Doable now but most rocks we used would be covered with some rain. If so, wading knee deep would be possible. Two trails leave the Bluff area (clean and empty and a total of 4 sites, all empty today) across the river but one ends upstream 100 yds (just a water access trail). The other trail heads up over a small pass and you enter the Ventana Wilderness/Los Padres National Forest (sign post). The Carmel River campsite has 2 large camp areas and was empty today. Will definitely come back for a 2 night trip. Was 11 miles r/t from dam parking area.

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Sat Jun 08 2019

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Thu Nov 22 2018

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Sat Nov 17 2018

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Sun Oct 07 2018

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Sat Sep 29 2018

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Sat Feb 17 2018