Explore the most popular forest 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.

1 month ago

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

3 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.

on Buckeye Nature Trail

4 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.

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

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.

6 months ago

Pretty nice hike. The viewpoint is really nice

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

7 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.

7 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.

good trail.

great way to relax and challenge yourself.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Diverse hike on the way up with some great view points and challenging climbs. Hiking down was a little mundane but very peaceful.

Didn't see much wildlife. A lot of other people hiking the trails. Several different paths to take. I tried taking the longest loop I could and recorded it.

Dog friendly

Hear the cars from every spot of the hike
No major wildlife seen
Lots of other people hiking the trail.
Also a school bus full of children hiking the bottom portion of the trail.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Garland Ranch is a beautiful place to go hiking. There's plenty of parking. There are many options for trails to hike and the rain this season has resulted in so many wildflowers. Very dog friendly and they even have dog water fountains. My dogs brought home a few ticks so be on the lookout for them. The majority of trails have shade so even on a hot day the trails should still be enjoyable.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Was hoping to get up on top of the ridge more for views. Lots of shaded hiking and a few spots along a narrow trail with big cliffs. Didn't realize that I'd have to go into the raging creek about 2-3' 4x to follow trail. Lucky it was warm out.

Nice easy trail. Rushing river with a bridge to cross as soon as you begin. Beautiful hidden pond in the mountains and moss covered trees. Stairs for a good workout. Wild turkeys! The waterfall is indeed more of a trickle but is so easy to get to that there was no disappointment at all!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Okay I'm writing this from the view point of a dad with four kids. Parking was ample (Weekend around 1200). The visitors center was located at the hub of several trails and had bathrooms with running water. Make sure you check out the 3d model of Garland Ranch. The trails themselves were well maintained and provided amazing views of the valley. There were so many there that it seemed there was always an option to customize the route to make it easier or more difficult. This was great with the kids as they can be unpredictable.
The route we took actually included waterfall trail and parts of Lupine Loop, Hawk Trail, and Mesa Trail. The waterfall was only a trickle but was still pretty cool. It was also not that far of of walk from the visitor's center. All in all I highly recommend Garland Ranch for families. You really can't beat this for hiking with kids.

Friday, February 10, 2017

ALL TRAILS EAST IF HWY 1 ARE CLOSED! $5000 fines for trespassing. The trails are impassable and mostly destroyed due to the 2016 wildfires.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Great views, went a little off trail onto mesa trail to add a couple miles. Nice trails with cool info marks, stairs and markings. Will be coming back again!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Great, leisurely hike with young children. Gather acorns along the way and mash them up with a rock at the big stone they have that the Native Americans used. My kids loooooved this. See photos. Look for the buckeye seeds and acorns. My 6 year old was thrilled. Really interesting signs that educate about the plants and the brilliant methods employed by the native Americans to use the plants. Watch out for poison oak. Also, half way through the trail you have to walk for a few hundred yards on the Mesa trail to continue on to the buckeye trail.

Monday, September 05, 2016

We took our three kids on a hike weaving through the buckeye nature trail to the waterfall. Things are dry right now because of the drought and therefore, no waterfall. However, the dry basin under the area where the water usually falls was very interesting for my children. The nature trail was interesting and gave really cool facts about Native American acorn and buckeye uses. Lots of people with dogs. Great place to hike with dogs and kids. Getting to the waterfall is QUiCK! Not 3 miles. However, you can keep hiking up beyond it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Good beginner trail. No water , so not as spectacular as it could have been. A few spots got your heart going.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Went solo hiking. Gorgeous views.

Sunday, June 05, 2016


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Great trail, beautiful view

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lupine to Waterfall to Mesa back to Lupine= 4.5 miles with the family! 6yr old fared well considering. 12 and 16 yr olds semi jogged and hiked and dragged. Was nice to run downhill Mesa Trail. Caught just a trickle from the Waterfall but scenic nonetheless! Highly recommended: (with a couple pocketfuls of almonds and 40 oz water at least).

It was a nice trail, but we lost it during the creek crossing. We must have crossed both creeks when we were only supposed to cross one? Sort of hard to follow the map there. Other than that, it was an easy ten miles

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