Pebble Beach
California Central Coast 

Pebble Beach is nestled in the Del Monte Forest next to the ocean between Pacific Grove and Carmel. It is where all the elegance that money could buy plays second fiddle to nature.

Botanically, Pebble Beach is a wizard’s garden. Cypress trees, rare to begin with, grow here in wondrous concoctions and spin out enchanting scenes.

The branches reach out into the fog for life. Streaming west, they weave mysteries into the atmosphere. Ichobod Crane would be quite at home. Ghost trees, bleached by ages of sea spray dance up to thickets of Bishop Pines in a strange and haunting mix with wild flora.

Hotel Del Monte was a mystical forest hideaway

a story

This is the only town in America where an outsider has to pay to get in. To be among such an exquisite mating of sea and land, is a very uncommon experience, and considered worth a price.

The folks who live here have paid a lot to dwell in a natural setting. And, they’ve vowed, legislated, and put up gates to keep it that way.

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Then, again, this is a forest, not a town. And, some of California’s biggest moguls built castles here.

By this exclusivity they may not have put a price on nature, but they put a value on not destroying it.


Charlie Chaplin frequented Pebble Beach in the early days. He would hang out with Robinson Jeffers and John Steinbeck. According to biographer Jackson Benson, Charles, Jr said his father was fascinated by Steinbeck’s books and used to drive around the countryside where his stories were liad, trying to place the characters in the book in their proper locations.” For Chaplin, Pebble Beach was a center of the Steinbeck literary world, and made a bood base camp for these explorations.

Pebble Beach looks like a wilderness forest because a man named Samuel Finley Brown Morse determined it would. As president of the Del Monte Company, Morse said, “Profits, are incidental to the orderly projection of subdivisions that will not mar the rare beauty of this place. Pebble Beach is one spot on 1,100 miles of gorgeous coastline which will remain completely unspoiled.”

An enchanting two mile hike through the 86-acre S.F.B. Morse Botanical Reserve allows close encounters with a rare association of Gowen cypress (which grow only here and at Point Lobos), Monterey pine, Bishop pine, and Monterey cypress.

Because Morse was so passionate about these marvelous trees, and so effective in his ecological foresight, this Reserve is a fine tribute.

Pebble Beach Hikes

There are 30 miles of hiking trails in the 86 acre forest.

A two mile loop trail into the SFB Morse Botanical Reserve starts at Congress Road near Seal Rock. Gingerbread mansion, rare meetings of flora, interesting geology.

Also beginning at Seal Rock, a loop trail through flowery dunes to an ancient Indian village site.

Two short loop trails near Asilomar begin at Spanish Bay resort.

A five mile loop trail to the Indian Village begins at the Lodge, 17 Mile Drive near Pescadero Point.

Note: These trails are maintained by the Pebble Beach Company as a courtesy to the public. Help keep them open by not disturbing the setting.

Pebble Beach is a delightful place for seeing wildlife. Cormorants judiciously preside over the sea’s precocity, deer daintily graze en mass on a fairway. Otters loll and gambol in the coves, each of which is more intriguing than the last. Whales puff and spout in a parade of pods not far from shore. Many kinds of gulls, seals and pods of pelicans take up quarters on a myriad of islands and rock outcroppings.

There’s plenty to see. There are many mansions, but the bigger attraction is nature. 17 Mile Drive has six miles of scenic ocean front. Sand dunes and forest buffer intricate, delicate habitats.

Bird Rock off Pebble Beach is home to three kinds of cormorants and California sea lions


Accommodations for Pebble Beach? Consider

the Big Sur Lodge

Popular Pfeiffer Beach (left) is fabled, fantastic and fun.

Reserve a Big Sur Lodge cottage at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park online with Pelican Network.

Go to Big Sur Lodge

Guests receive the Pelican Network Guide to Big Sur

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