For unique and diverse views of Carmel Valley, Garland Ranch Regional Park is your go-to spot! The 4,462 acre park is loaded with multiple trails for every hiking skill level with vistas of Carmel Valley's rolling hills, vineyards and oak savannahs. This is also a fantastic place for biking, horseback riding and letting your furry friend burn off some energy, since dog leashes are optional.
Garland Ranch in Carmel Valley is the perfect sunny escape when the Monterey Peninsula is experiencing its typically foggy weather. It's not uncommon for the temperature to be well above 10 degrees warmer than it's coastal neighbors just 10 minutes away.
The outdoor playground is easily accessible and located just off of Carmel Valley Road, about 8 miles down from Highway 1. Cars are often lined up along the gate but there is always plenty of parking near the entrance.
First time visitors to the park will appreciate all of the well placed signage that makes it easy to find trailheads and the helpful visitor center. The visitor center has tons of printed materials on the trails but friendly volunteers are also available to answer any questions. Did we also mention that access to this park is entirely free?
Garland Ranch has so many trails that it's hard to pick just one but the Sycamore Trail, Waterfall Trail and Mesa Trail are among the most popular.
The Sycamore Trail is a flat and well maintained pathway, perfect for dog lovers and those with young kids.
The Sycamore Trail eventually leads to the Waterfall Trail which is where you can find some steep inclines.
This trail also gazes out into a wooded tree canopy offering a crystal clear window of Carmel Valley. Its easy to point out Carmel Valley landmarks like the Los Laureles Grade, Bernardus Lodge and the colorful vineyards below. These random openings also offer the perfect excuse to stop and catch your breath.
After a few more turns you will arrive at the Mesa. It's obvious how this area received its name; the flat tabletop terrain reveals breathtaking views of the Garzas Canyon, which are much different than the sights along the trail. Dense chaparral, lush oak trees and weeping willows covered the green rolling hills in the distance.
From here you can take the Mesa Trail back down where you will pass a grinding rock used by the Rumsen Indians that once inhabited the area.
If you go:
From Highway 1, head east on Carmel Valley Road for 8.6 miles. Garland Ranch Regional Park's main entrance will be on your right.
From Highway 101, take Route 68 east to Laureles Grade. Take Laureles Grade to Carmel Valley Road and turn right. Garland Ranch Regional Park's main entrance will be on your left.