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Soberanes Canyon Trail

HARD 474 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 October 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
6 days ago

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

hiking
rocky
8 days 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! 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
14 days 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
15 days 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
17 days 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
26 days ago

Great trail

hiking
26 days 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
30 days ago

Forest, climb, views—amazing climb.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked the loop counterclockwise starting with the rocky ridge trail. This was based on the suggestions from other hikers. I would do the same the next time. It is a beautiful climb, but it is a lot of climbing. The views are incredible and definitely worth the effort. Coming back through the shaded canyon was great for the last portion of the hike. If you have kids or do not want to/cannot do the climb I would recommend going straight into the canyon for an out and back. There is a small stream you may have to help the kids over and I would hold their hand for some of the hills with steeper sides. The stream running through the canyon surrounded by redwood trees is beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail has just about everything you could hope for. Spectacular views of the coast from the top. Strenuous and great elevation gain. Good workout for those looking to sweat.

hiking
1 month ago

It’s one of the best ones which makes my mind filled with pleasure. The ocean, colored wild flowers, waving mountain ridges and the clean creek water are bound with the natural piety. There is no shade from the place where the slop begins but the foggy weather frequently makes it cooler to hike.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

A really great hike if you are in decent shape. this 58 year old found it hard but definitely do-able. We did it counterclockwise and after you climb out of the canyon there is no more shade. We felt lucky to have good views going West back down. Using a pole on the way down was definitely helpful. Lastly the coolest things for me were all the cactus at the beginning of the hike, the bridges over the creek and the purple clover covering the hills - and the views of course!

hiking
closed
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Nice while near the creek. Very hot when on the ridge with panoramic views.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

The trail is great!! Signs everywhere say it’s closed after 1.5 miles but we did the entire 5.7 miles. We saw people throughout the entire hike so I’m not sure how serious the closure is. Going down is a bit steep so i wouldn’t recommend if you have bad knees. We started at 8am and by the time we got to the top the fog layer was still covering the view. About 3/4 of the way down you could start seeing the ocean. I recommend going when there isn’t fog because i assume that view is spectacular. Overall, had a good time and I feel like I got some great exercise.

hiking
closed
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Stayed to the right of the loop that was open (despite the sign). Good mix of covered canyon with a river running through it, followed by an exposed climb to a beautiful view. Bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen!

hiking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

Great trail, it has a little bit of everything: redwoods, creek, uphill, coastal views, wildflowers on the way down.

hiking
2 months ago

Whole loop is accessible! I went counterclockwise - would recommend as I think this direction is steeper going up, and would be slippery and unnerving trying to descend in the opposite direction. There’s a spot on the Soberanes Canyon Trail where you reach a pile of down trees, no clear path, and a sign with an x. If you climb over the trees, there’s a path that winds up the canyon wall — that’s your trail to Rocky Ridge. Lots of sticky monkey flower and Indian paint brush. Little spooky at dusk

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Like the other reviews say, the Rocky Ridge Trail is marked as closed, but other than a little overgrowth, it’s definitely passable and seems safe. We came up this way and then back down the Soberanes Canyon Trail, which is what I’d recommend unless you’d rather do steep, washed out climbs instead of descents.

hiking
no shade
rocky
washed out
2 months ago

The closed area is actually open. Highly recommend going up the rocky ridge and down the other way. I’d also suggest bringing poles. It’s steep and slippery! Such an incredible hike! No cell service.

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