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California Central Coast
Carmel Hiking


Nearly all of Carmel Bay, formed by Point Lobos (left) to the south, and Cypress Point (right) to the north in Pebble Beach, can be hiked.

 

Carmel is good, and it is not good for hiking.

Outside of the central town shopping district, there are no sidewalks. The streets are only pavedto the point necessary for vehicles, and the gulliesand ditches along the sides are in a para natural state.

The reason is not just aesthetics, as it helps rain water seep into the aquifers. After all, Carmel is a forest, and the trees need water. Ecologically, it's better for the ground water to hold its own so subsidence doesn't weaken the forest floor. Besides, pipe drained water carries manufactured substances that harm the bay's natural composition.

However, walking around theshopping area is a lot of fun.

There is a path along the whole ocean front, and it is a fine walkwith delightful views.

The great hiking event in Carmel is south of the village on the Point Lobos side of the River.

A trail on the south side of the river lagoon leads up a bluff once visited by the Portola Spanish expedition in 1769.


A cross was erected here so they could be spotted from sea, as they were suffering from deprivations, as their diarist claimed. This trail winds around and over the bluff, lending great views of the picturesque setting. It then merges with a service road that runs close to Monastery Beach in front of a sedate residential area, Carmel Meadows.

Sand of the Carmel beaches is composed of sparkling light and clear particles of granite and limestone. It is unbelievably delightful to the eye, wondrous to the touch. This is the product of complex geology and meshing of very disparate rocks from wildly different times and places. The waters here are mesmerizing turquoise and inviting.

This trail from the river lagoon, around Monastery Beach to Point Lobos has been treked by lumaries: Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Austin, Jack London, and John Steinbeck.

The same rocks that gave the sand, cleanse the waters to give them this dreamlike effect. The water here, however, is treacherous for swimming. Because of the deep offshore canyons, strong currents and upwells from the deep causeerratic tides and strong undertows are customary.

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