“PARK RULES: Stay on designated trails-walk softly, take only memories and leave only footprints.”
Travel eight miles east from Highway One along Carmel Valley Road with lovely views and you’ll discover a great place to spend a few hours in nature. Garland Ranch Regional Park is Carmel Valley’s premier hiking destination. It has easy free parking and the entrance is right off Carmel Valley Road.
Bring a snack lunch and your ‘furry-four-legged’ friends. Garland Park is ‘dog-friendly’ and you will encounter many friendly dogs and pretty horses along the way. Wear tennis shoes and sunscreen, and donate $1 at the visitor center for one of the trail maps. The miles of various hiking trails, from easy to strenuous, and a variety of landscapes with beautiful views and elevations from 200 to 2,000 feet make Garland, this 4,462-acre park, a most popular destination for hikers of all levels.
There are also other wonderful day use activities at the park including horseback riding (on most trails), picnicking, bird-watching, photography, ‘plein air’ painting and just ’unplugging yourself’ and tuning into nature.
TRAILS: Begin your adventure by picking up a trail map at the Visitor Center. Walk or jog on easy trails, like the Buckeye Nature Trail that runs along the Garzas Creek; follow the Willow covered banks of the Carmel River past preserved Rumsien Indian habitation sites and nineteenth-century homesteading and logging settlements. Popular moderately steep trails for families to explore are: the La Mesa Trail up to the pond, the Oak View Trail, the Waterfall Trail (note* waterfall is seasonal, but there is a fern pond and a great vista for photos!) and the Garza Canyon Trail.
Continue your hike through the cottonwood-sycamore heading up the Santa Lucia Mountains. Following your map or signs, you’ll wind your way through mountainous and scenic terrain on more difficult trails along the East Ridge or Snively’s Ridge. After about an hour of hiking, you will reach your prize ~ a beautiful look-out point with views of both Carmel Valley and the Ventana Wilderness. Spectacular!