Carmel River Trail is a 28 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Carmel Valley, California that features a river. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail 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

trail running

river

views

1 month ago

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
3 months ago

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
3 months ago

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
3 months ago

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
Friday, November 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
Tuesday, 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
Saturday, March 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
Sunday, February 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.

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
8 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago