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Soberanes Canyon Trail

HARD 512 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Soberanes Canyon Trail is a 5.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,788 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

running

beach

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

no dogs

As of November 2019, the Rocky Ridge Trail portion of this trail is closed, making it an out-and-back. You can find updates here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29841 The most spectacular part of the hike is through the Soberanes Canyon where the trail is flanked on both sides by impressive redwoods. Once you leave the redwoods and get above treeline, it isn't the immediate scenery that captivates, but rather the panoramic views. These views are typically obscured facing west due to the blanket of fog and mist that unfolds over the coast. Turn your back 180 degrees and you are likely greeted by sunlit views of Carmel valley.

hiking
no shade
scramble
17 days ago

Incredible views at the top! We started from the left of the trail closest to the ocean and did the steep ascent up. No shade. Bring water! Then we went down on the backside and there were parts that were somewhat slippery given the loose gravel, so wear proper hiking shoes. It goes into the shaded forest then which was nice. Great hike.

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

Didn’t realize main portion of this trail was closed until I was finishing up. I went clockwise knocking out the main ascent first. I struggled to keep my footing on the way down multiple times (falling pretty hard once). The summit is extraordinary with beautiful 360 degree views. I was sore for two days, so believe it when it says “hard” and bring some water.

hiking
closed
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
23 days ago

Technically this trail is closed after the first 1.2 miles of the Sobranes Canyon Trail (counter clockwise) but it’s still doable. Depending on the time you start, keep in mind after that first 1.2 miles it is all exposed. If you go in the morning I recommend coming through Sobranes canyon at the end (take the loop clockwise) because you will have more shade once the sun starts beating down on you.

hiking
1 month ago

Diverse from cactus to redwoods. Easy stream crossings. Fun

hiking
bridge out
bugs
closed
no shade
rocky
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Hiked 11.2.19 - It takes quite a bit to elicit a "wow" response from me anymore, but wowed I was! This trail has it all - incredible views of the canyon (it goes from cactus-y to Lord of the Rings pretty quickly) to majestic vistas along the way. Sure, Rocky Ridge is "closed" but after a short, but steep, stretch of uphill climbing through some washed out trail, it is absolutely doable. If you are going later in the day, definitely go counter-clockwise or you may end up descending through the canyon forest in the dark as opposed to exposed prairie. This is not a trail for the inexperienced - above treeline, it is a tough, fully exposed, straight up incline that rewards with magnificent views from the top. Good hiking shoes are a must as both the incline and decline are quite steep. Saw several lizards, a deer, and black widow spiders (after dark). Buggy during the day, so be sure to bring spray! This was my favorite trail of everything I did during my 5 day stay in the Big Sur/Monterey area - highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

Only open for 1.25 miles along the canyon, but very pleasant and shaded walk along creek.

hiking
1 month ago

What was open was beautiful, but Rocky Ridge Trail (the majority of this hike) was closed.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in the area. You get a little bit of everything. A step ~1,800ft climb, ocean views, a beautiful ridge-line portion where you can see Santa Cruz on a clear day, and a decent into a valley with a small creek surrounded by redwood trees. Can’t get more West Coast than this! Though the sign says it’s mostly closed, the trail is in decent enough condition (lately) to be used. Use your best judgement and attempt at your own risk. A couple things to note is the decent is quite steep so make sure you have decent trail shoes. Also, this hike should not be attempted after a heavy rain. Unless you start early, I recommend going clockwise and do the climb first, otherwise you’ll be baking in the sun on a clear day towards the end of your hike going counterclockwise. Just my opinion tho. Enjoy!!

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Excellent trail for running. Amazing scenic portion going up the valley along the creek. Huge redwoods tower into the sky while several creek crossings with log bridges provide the path below. Signs say the ridge trail is closed but that isn’t stopping anyone from doing it. Climbing out of the canyon, it’s a steep climb and lasts till you get to the top ridge. The views from above are worth the effort though. If you add on the peak trail, it gives you a view into the Monterrey/Carmel valley. Just don’t do the peak loop. The northern part of the trail disappears and is overgrown with burrs. Next time I would just go to the peak and back. Clockwise is the way to go as most people mention. Coming down you are greeted with non stop views of the coastline but watch the trail it’s steep and a bit slippery with loose dirt & gravel. I’ll be back again for this one! A hiker told me they did it in 2 hours. Running it was about 1 hr including walking the steep parts.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Had a nice variation of redwood trees, ravines, cactuses and dry pathways. Varying levels of difficulty, some steep spots, some slippery areas, built in stairs and leisure stretches.

running
over grown
2 months ago

Awesome trail. October is prime time for no marine layer so go for it. Highly recommend tick check post run as well as poison oak scrub as trail is overgrown in most places.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail

hiking
2 months ago

I followed a recommendation from someone that left a review to go counter clockwise and definitely yes . I did not feel that this was a hard trail at all actually I thought it was pretty easy . Bring a hat and lots of water the views are gorgeous.

hiking
2 months ago

Forest, climb, views—amazing climb.

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