Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail


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Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Monterey
Length: 19 miles
Trail end points: Haro St. (Castroville) and Lover's Point Beach, Ocean View Blvd. (Monterey Bay)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015269

Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail Description


Winding along the Pacific coast, the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and a great way to tour Monterey and adjacent communities while enjoying the outdoors. This wonderful coastal rail-trail extends 19 miles from Pacific Grove to Castroville and is regarded as one of the most scenic long trails in California.

About the Route

The northern end of this trail begins in Castroville. While arguably the less scenic portion of the trail, Castroville comes with its own unique town identity, being famous for artichokes and its Artichoke Festival.

It's about 8 miles through flat farmlands before the trail reaches the city of Marina and the Fort Ord Dunes State Park, which protects and preserves this coastal region once home to the Fort Ord Army Post. 

Leaving Fort Ord, the scenery begins to change dramatically as the route begins to hug the coast and passes Monterey State Beach. This beach, a picturesque spot, features impressive sand dunes and a eucalyptus forest that separates the trail from the busy road.

2 miles from the southern endpoint, the trail reaches Fisherman's Wharf which offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and scenic ocean views. The wharf is arguably the most scenic section of the trail, with impressive scenery, historical displays, and ties to seven generations of fishing craft.

The southernmost 1.5 miles of the trail are packed full of scenery and other pitstops. Just after Fisherman's wharf, the trail passes San Carlos Beach, a popular diving spot and then shortly after, Monterey Bay Aquarium which is often recognized as one of the best in the world, the aquarium exhibits a wide array of sea creatures, from a giant octopus to nearly two dozen species of shark.

Just before reaching the southern end of the trail, the trail passes Cannery Row, an area made famous by John Steinbeck, and features numerous restaurants, shopping, lodging and entertainment.

At the southern endpoint at Lover's Point Park, there is a picturesque rocky shoreline to the west, a nice treat to round out one's trip along the trail.


The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational trail connects with the Beach Range Road Multi-Use Trail in two spots along Fort Ord Dunes State Park.

Trail History

The trail follows the former Southern Pacific Railroad line, which was once used to transfer goods between the historic fishing town of Monterey and the rest of northern California.

Parking and Trail Access

The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail Haro St. (Castroville) and Lover's Point Beach, Ocean View Blvd. (Monterey), with parking available at the southern end.

Parking is also available at:

  • 101-106 Washington St (Monterey)
  • 100-136 Cannery Row (Monterey)

Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions. 

Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail Reviews

Great trail. Start at Marina State Beach

We didn't like the thought of leaving our car at the Castroville end loaded with stuff for a weekend trip, so we drove a short ways to Marina State Beach and started there. It's a short ride on not-too-busy streets to meet up with the trail just north of the Fort Ord section.
Loved the wide, uncrowded Fort Ord area and enjoyed the ocean views in the Sand City area, though some of that sand on the trail was pretty thick. The trail gets fairly crowded as you get into Monterey so we only took it as far as the wharf, about 10 miles from Marina Beach.
A beautiful ride, on our list of places to go again.

This is a fantastic, scenic trail that is very protected for bikes. Can't wait to ride it again.

This is a fantastic, scenic trail that is very protected for bikes. Can't wait to ride it again.

Excellent for a daylong outing

I have ridden this trail many times and would recommend it to just about any level of rider. From Castroville to Carmel, it just keeps getting better. I would recommend to return from Carmel by going over the hill into Monterey on any number of routes. Veterans Memorial Park at the top of the hill gives riders the opportunity to ride into Historic Monterey. Also, there's great restaurants and brew pubs to be found. The Monterey-Salinas Transit hub is there for those that want to take mass transit rather than continue pedaling.
A alternative route going "over the hill" to Monterey would be going up (north) from Carmel Village, to Highway 1 then making a left turn to continue north for less than a mile, then exiting Highway 1 at Aguajito Road. Continue past Aguajito back toward a bridge crossing of Highway 1 and you'll see a bike trail just before you cross the bridge. Take that trail downhill to enter Monterey from the east.
I just noticed another post lamenting that the rider had to drive to the start in Castroville. No, it's not necessary to drive to the start as Monterey-Salinas Transit has excellent routes and will take your bikes onboard if the racks are already taken. Also, same reviewer criticized a area that's not on the trail at all when mentioning Highway 1 north of Moss Landing and the road construction there. That construction was for PG&E gas lines and was completed as of 9/23/21. The road shoulder of Highway 1 is returned, and it's not necessary to "share the lane" with motor vehicles along that section any longer.

Scenic but some unsafe sections and need to go by car to get to it

There is a very short section of bike path from Castroville going to the first highway at which point one is on country roads with heavy trucks and speeding vehicles until one gets to the edge of the city of Marina. From there one crosses multiple intersections until out of the city.

Lots of pedestrians and small children loosely supervised if at all so need to be cautious where sight distances are reduced. Worst once on gets into the city of Monterey. It is not difficult to continue to Pebble Beach and with all the ultra rich having multiple home in this community, road traffic is largely non existant if not on the marked 17-mile drive section.

Getting to Castroville safely requires the use of a personal car. Caltrans periodically sets up construction on Highway 1 from north of Moss Landing and through to Castroville. Often there is only a single lane for bicyclists and cars and heavy trucks with trailers to use and the odds of being hit and killed is very very high as this is the busiest two lane highway in the United States. The section of Hwy 1 through Moss Landing has been very dangerous thanks to the state road work for the past 45 years and nothing has changed and it is as dangerous now as ever.


Scenic Ride with hills & flat sections

We are a couple in our late 50s with road bikes. Scenic ride on paved bike trail separated from traffic. Variety of hills and level areas, windy cool weather, glad to have several layers, full gloves and headband to cover ears. We parked at Fort Ord Dunes State Park, Marina, CA. It has free parking and port-a-potty. Start on the Beach Range Road toward Monterey (a no vehicle road that runs next to bike trail). It ends and turns into the bike trail. Good trail signage, just know to make a Right hairpin turn under the freeway interchange. Good public restroom stop on right near London Bridge Pub, just past Monterey Kayaks. Beaches and picnic spots along the route. Continue to Lovers Point. The return trip is hilly towards the end, but great cardio training. Out and back was 20.5 miles and took about 3 hours of riding (Note: I averaged 7 mph with loaded panniers, my ultra fit husband could ride it much faster). We took a total of 4 hours with stops for snacks.

Great ride with variety

Enjoyed this ride and chose to go back through the state park which has some challenging hills. The ocean views were amazing!!!

fun getaway for the wknd

Went this past weekend and it was amazing . Loved the cannery and fisherman’s wharf area and the whole ride was amazing. Will definitely do again .

Not Exactly The Aesthetic I Was Hoping For

I rode part of this trail last week, from Pacific Grove up to the town of Seaside. It is quite scenic, in spots, but you also ride through some urban congestion and cross a number of busy intersections. It's also not very well marked. I got some advice from Adventures By the Sea, an outfitter located at the beginning of the trail, that was very helpful given the relative lack of signage. Maybe this trail gets quieter and more protected from traffic as you get further from Monterey, but I decided to turn around and ride part of the 17 Mile Drive instead when I hit the busy intersection at Seaside. If I try it again, I think I'd rather start in Castroville, at the northern end, and ride south.

Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Whenever we visit the Monterey Peninsula, we always make sure to ride our bikes or walk multiple times on the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Very few places in the world can match the beauty and splendor of this trail, especially between Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove to the Wharf in Monterey. This portion of the trail is most certainly perfect for visitors and walking enthusiasts.
Beyond the wharf up to Castroville (the Artichoke Capital of the World) is for individuals looking for a much more intense workout.
If I lived on the peninsula, I'd be somewhere on that trail every day!

Lacks Good Directional Signage

We rode this in two sections.
First section started at Casa Verde Way and rode North to the intersection of Lapis Road and Hwy 1. Missed the first left turn to go over dunes (no directional signage) and after a short distance realized we needed to back track. Then at Lapis Road & Hwy 1 the trail appeared to end at this intersection (no directional signage), could have explored down the highway at little to find remainder of trail but by then had ridden about 15 miles, so called it at that point. We did divert off of this trail to ride the parallel Beach Range Road trail in Fort Ord Dunes State Park. That road is much wider and nicer to ride. Depending how long of ride you want but recommend ending at the North end of Beach Range Road and then return.
Second Section: Started again at Casa Verde Way heading south to end of trail at Lovers Point and return. This portion of trail has many more walkers and bikers but trail is wide enough for all and in very good condition. This portion has some great scenery, a number of interpretive signs along the way, stopped to watch the Harbor Seals at a number of stops. Highly recommend this portion of trail.

Camping on the coast

I was traveling north on Highway 1 when my artist's eye led me down to the beach. The beauty of the white sand beach and wind swept trees prompted me to pitch my tent and make a painting. It is truly a beautiful place and urge people to come see this place themselves.

Very Crowded but Beautiful

I parked in Sand City to start my ride, I used the Costco parking lot, I wouldn't do that again. Instead I would start near Lovers Point, there is lots of free parking either along the road or various pullouts just past it, then head back towards monterey. The most spectacular part of the ride was heading south along the road with a great bike lane all the way to Pebble beach and 17 mile drive. The Ocean views are breathtaking!!

Better than anything SoCal has....

This bike ride blows away anything down in SoCal, by a long shot. The views are simply stunning, from end to end. My ride began in Marina, CA at Reservation Road. Once you cross the fence just under Highway 1....the fun begins. Heading south through rolling sand dunes, I saw very little to no mid-morning foot or bike traffic, until I reached the Seaside/Monterey boundary, at Dennis the Menace Park. Lots of shade and room to stop and take-in the fresh coastal breeze. The trail continues just behind crowded Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. The wide, double-lanes makes it easy to pass and avoid the obvious foot tourists. The trail technically "ends" in Pacific Grove, at Lover's Point - but I continued on the road, via Ocean View Blvd, to Asilomar(Sunset Drive).

Outstanding Ocean Views!! Great for most riders.

My wife is a beginning rider and other than a little apprehension with the slight inclines and declines she did great!!

The trail is very well kept with slight inclines here and there surrounded by great restaurants and shops (The Old Wharf and Cannery Row) with one of the most beautiful views of the ocean that you'll ever see. I had a hard time figuring out how to find parking from THIS site, but once I MapQuested "Monterey Bay Coastal Trail" I was able to stumble across some parking while following the MapQuest's navigation. It's a little over an hour drive for us and we can't wait to go back...tomorrow in fact!! :)

Difficulty - Easy to Moderate.
Scenery - OUTSTANDING!!!
Amenities (food/restaurants/shops) - Great
Trail Condition - Great (asphalt and concrete)

Parking - You just have to MapQuest like I say and find it. Some is free, others you pay. Once you find a great parking location store it in your navigation.

Have's great!!

Awesome part of the world

Can't beat riding along the pacific and Monterrey bay

Nice trail from Lover's point to Seaside.

Even though there are many street crossings, the trail surface is excellent and the scenery is beautiful until you get to Seaside. I turned around at Seaside because I got tired of the traffic noise, hilly terrain, and exhaust fumes. This trail is classed as a "rail trail" but it's much too winding and hilly to have followed the actual rail bed.

Pacific Grove Update

One of the best rides around. Bikes are allowed from the start at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove and are available at many points in Pacific Grove and Cannery Row. You can continue south around Ocean View Blvd and Sunset Drive past the Asilomar Beach on to the 17 mile drive which allows bikes at no charge.

Treacherous Stretch of Monterey Bike Trail

I have enjoyed this trail many times over the past 20 years, but I recently was thrown off my bike and suffered a concussion because part of the trail is very treacherous due to large underlying tree roots. If you are biking from Monterey through Seaside and Marina to the northern terminus at Highway #1 and Del Monte Blvd. do not proceed past Beach Road in Marina. The next 1/2 mile stretch is very treacherous. I have urged Monterey County to either fix this section of the trail it or close it. I have received no response from them.

One of the Best

Fantastic trail for running, walking, cycling, sightseeing, or anything pedestrian! Monterey is an extremely pedestrian friendly place and the views and wildlife on this trail are second to none!

Great Trail

We stayed on Cannery Row in Monterey right across from the trail. We rode to the trails Northern end-point just shy of Castroville. We had drinks from a food truck that was parked there and then headed back.It is a really nice trail that takes you through the dunes with nice views of Monterey Bay.
The trail follows a railroad but is not actually on the railroad bed so there is some climbing.
We rode this in mid October and the weather was great.

More info on this ride and others we've done at

Stunning views of Pacific Coast

Definitely do this ride on a clear day -- which can be a challenge in the summertime. Stunning views of the coast. I have ridden this from Monterey north, don't know about the southern rout from Monterey to Pacific Grove.

Fairly easy ride, with a few hills.

Great Casual Ride

My wife and I have taken this trail several times, the first being about 15 years ago with 6 children in tow and the last being this month. We have only ridden the southernmost part of the trail. This last time we started from a large shopping center in Sand City and turned around at Lovers Point, making the ride about 10 miles round trip. This part of the trail is relatively flat and is extremely scenic, with stunning views of sand dunes, rocky coast lines, marinas, and Monterrey's tourist areas including Fisherman's Warf and Cannery Row. Restaurants with outdoor seating abound for meals, snacks, and cold beverages. Do not be in a hurry on this one; frequent stops for taking in the views and snapping pictures of the bay, sailboats, seals, sea otters, and the like are a must and will turn your ride into the relaxing casual event you'll never forget. It is no wonder that it is near the top of Rails-to-Trails top 100 trails list.

Resources for bicycling Monterey Bay Coastal Trail (and all of Monterey County)

Thank you for all your good work, including helping people to access local information sources. Our Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, from Castroville to parts of Pebble Beach, is 29 miles long. For tips prepared by a 30-year resident and local cyclist--including information from and links to the best Monterey County bicycle shops, services, clubs, and other resources--you may refer to - Welcome!

Great Views but Very Windy at Times

I did this trail from south to north and back again. This is really a very diverse trail with the urban area thru Monterey in the south, the ocean views in the middle and then road views up north. Just south of Roberts Ave, take the turn up and over the dunes instead of going straight and then having to use the road to continure on the trail. North of the ocean views is a gap in the trail, but it is well signed on the road. Lots of hills and wind to give you a workout. The northern terminus is at Del Monte Blvd and Lapis Road on the north side of Marina. I would surely go out of my way to ride this trail again.

"This really is a great long-distance trail---with a few exceptions. If you're rollerblading, the section from the Naval Post-Graduate School down to the wharf can be kinda rough, as the asphalt isn't in the greatest condition. This is also the area where you start having to cross busy intersections and dodge tourists--avoid it like the plague on weekends. However, as of Feb. 2001, the section from Seaside Beach all the way to Marina has been repaved, is unbelievably smooth, and best of all, completely uncongested. (You do run into a number of formidable hills, though.) "

Monterey Bay Recreational Trail

"This trail is actually LONGER than what is posted on this site. The trail continues north from Seaside along Highway 1 through the former Fort Ord to Marina where it then follows the old Sothern Pacific Rail line along Delmonte Blvd. till its terminus north of Marina at Del Monte Blvd. and Higway 1. Adventurous bikers can follow a rural route that parallels Hwy 1 north towards a rec. trail in Castroville. I estimate the total additional trail to be about 10 miles from Seaside to its terminus north of Marina. There are great views of the coast along Monterey Bay and the trail keeps you well separated from the traffic of Hwy. 1.

This is an excellent trail for beginners and those who enjoy distance sports. Its condition and quality is excellent with the following editorial comments. It is a little on the narrow side, so those on foot need to keep an eye out for bikers as there isn't much room. It is very busy in Monterey, I would not recommend bicycling that portion if you want to go fast. Big downside, the Pacific Grove portion of the trail does not allow bicycles :( however, a road runs parallel with it."

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