Explore the most popular trails near Carmel Valley with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Carmel Valley, California Map
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Poison oak. Lots of it. Brought the dog and I wish I hadn’t. Trail disappears after first crossing. Not for beginners and even though it is “dog-friendly” I highly DO NOT recommend bringing Fido.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

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

Beautiful trails and views. I love that the dog can be under voice control only in this park!

beautiful hike. pretty easy with some moderate inclines.

Did the out and back today. Trail disappears about 2 miles in when the trail drops down to meet the creek for the first time. Stay to the right of the main creek and look behind a small camp clearing. The trail resumes right behind a large tree and is hard to find. Once found the rest of the trail is very easy to follow and I got right to the river camp. Trail is mostly exposed to full sun so bring sunscreen. Second half of the trail is very narrow with steep drops at times. Would not recommend trail running or small children. Camps looked great and I took a long swim. Totally worth it.

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.

Although shaded throughout, the sunny spots are intense. Bring lots of water.

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.

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.

on Lupine Loop Trail

4 months ago

Beautiful in the spring.

Pretty nice trip overall. Lots of poison oak, but mostly avoidable. Some ticks of course also in spring, so do periodic tick checks. Lots of overgrown weeds into the trail as you get farther in also. The 1st camp is around 5 miles from the trailhead, easily visible from the main trail. There are 2 or 3 others right across the creek. To go father than that 1st site, you will have to cross fairly shallow sections of the creek quite a few times so bring some water shoes to change into at that point. After the 1st camp there are sites every mile or so as you continue onto Carmel river trail. 1st come 1st serve sites, all u need is to take a quick quiz online and print out a fire permit. All the sites were right next to the river with nice fire rings. Went on Memorial Day weekend and still wasn’t too crowded. Lots of nice swimming holes along the river too once you get about 4 miles in.

We went all the way to the top! It was definitely a great workout. A lot of Incline . Best of all PET FRIENDLY

6 months ago

I did this hike with my boyfriend for the first time this last Sunday. I would say the hike is a challenge due to the steady incline for 4 miles straight. We got some beautiful shots on our way up but I was disappointed in the view once we reached the top. I expected more. I won’t be putting in the effort to do this hike twice.

hiking
6 months ago

We took Lupine Loop - Mesa - past Mesa Pond up (when I say up...there was a lot of up) to Snively's Ridge. An awesome overlook once you reach the Ridge all the way to the ocean. Took Sky - Fern - Buckeye back down. Don't let the stairs at Buckeye throw you off its not more climbing. The Buckeye levels off pretty quickly. This will get you back to the visitors center. The gps said this loop was 7.4 miles. The miles were mostly uphill or downhill not a lot of level ground.

on Buckeye Nature Trail

7 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months ago

Very steep at some points but totally doable. I definitely recommend climbing the 1/4 mile or so up Snively’s ridge trail once you get to the top of the sky trail, the view from there is as good as any in the area.

Haven't gone on this trail, but just an FYI in response to Paul: on PublicLands.org it doesn't list any of the land as private

hiking
8 months ago

Nice hike.

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.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Pretty nice hike. The viewpoint is really nice

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is not moderate, it's straight up hard. Bring 1 bottle water for every 3 miles or so, large hat, good traction shoes (or sticks), and some snacks.

This is my family’s go to trail. We love this hike.

hiking
10 months ago

A beautiful hike, I loved passing the different topologies found while doing this easy to moderate short trail. We started going to the left and uphill, we passed a beautiful trail with a lot of autumn colors and a very beautiful view from above, then walking the redwood canyon is like walking on a small piece of autumn colorful heaven all the way to a stony beautiful small river.

Some unfriendly man told us the middle section was private property and even had to turn back and climb up through the national forest park of Los Padres. It ended up being great anyway, but overall not an advisable experience. Better climbing up directly from Tassajara Rd.

hiking
10 months ago

Very pleasant short hike with a changing environment. With plenty of rocks in the creek unless I'd seen the sign at the start I wouldn't have even realised there were seasonal foot bridges normally.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful views of the Monterey Bay once you get to the top of the ridge. And if you take the fern trail nonstop straight up the middle, you'll get a nice leg pump! It's about 3 miles from the visitor center to the top of the ridge taking that route.
When you get to the top of the Fern trail where it meets the ridge you"ll spot the sign that says Snively's ridge (with arrows pointing both ways), Take a right (west) and continue up along the top of the ridge another half mile and that's where you'll find the views of the entire Monterey bay and Carmel Valley.

On your return back down from that Vista point I recommend NOT taking a left down that same Fern Trail but instead continuing straight ahead (East,passing the sign on your left) and on past Snively's ancient Corral and stay on that trail which will take you down to the Mesa pond.
Just below the pond (200 feet) you will find three separate fresh clean water stations-for dogs, horses and people. And: then continue on down via choosing the scenic Waterfall Trail which will take you back down to the main meadow and on to the visitor center and out to the parking lot.
That's approximately a 7 mile loop and a little over 1,800 feet in elevation gain that can easily be done in four hours while including stopping for lunch, plus water breaks and photo opportunities.

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