Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way

California

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Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way Facts

States: California
Counties: Monterey
Length: 1.9 miles
Trail end points: Del Monte Blvd. at Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course and 17 Mile Drive at the Links at Spanish Bay
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Woodchips
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6378186
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking

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Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way Description

The Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way passes through residential neighborhoods on the west side of Pacific Grove, providing a nice walking and biking spot for residents and visiting tourists to the area. The trail is still owned by Union Pacific—successor to the Southern Pacific Railroad—and is an unimproved dirt path with wood chips in some locations.

The trail passes through the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course, crosses Lighthouse Boulevard and then runs through forested neighborhoods before crossing Sunset Drive. The final stretch of trail leads to 17 Mile Drive along the Links at Spanish Bay golf course.

Along its route, the trail provides access to the Asilomar Conference Grounds and other trails that lead to the beach. From the trail's northern endpoint, take Jewell Avenue to reach the paved Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which continues northeast on the same former Southern Pacific corridor through Monterey to Castroville.

Parking and Trail Access

There are no facilities along the trail and parking is limited to street parking, which is plentiful in the area. Be sure to obey any posted parking restrictions.

Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way Reviews

A friend and I parked one car on Del Monte near Egan, then drove the other car to a spot just outside the PG gate on 17 Mile Drive. We parked next to the fire road gate leading into the Rip Van Winkle Open Space. We then crossed the street and found the (unmarked) beginning of the trail. We made our way between the back sides of some businesses along Sunset Drive and the edge of the Spanish Bay golf course, crossed Sunset Drive at Crocker, and picked up the trail heading north.

Just after we crossed Sinex Avenue, we arrived at the site of the Asilomar station (such as it was) with a rebuilt replica of the tiny passenger shelter and an explanatory sign. Continuing north, the trail eventually turns into a narrow street, appropriately named Railroad Way, which terminates at Lighthouse Avenue. After crossing Lighthouse, we skirted the edges of the El Carmelo Cemetery and came out on the golf course, now heading east. We followed the path, crossed 17 Mile Drive and finally came out on Del Monte, close to where we had parked the first car. We followed the former track bed as far as a fence with a locked gate, on the other side of which is the mobile home park whose apparently-unnamed driveway (private property, no trespassing, as the sign says) continues the former train route to Lovers Point.

We picked up the car we had left on Del Monte, and drove it back over to where we had left the other car.

My step counter told me we had walked 1.7 miles total.

Although none of the trail is marked, it was not at all difficult to follow.

For anyone interested in historical information (and photographs) of all the railroads around the Monterey Bay, santacruztrains.com has a wealth of information.

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