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a bird sitting on top of a grass covered field

Whether you’re a nature buff, a seasoned hiker, or you’re just looking for a pleasant day outdoors, Garrapata State Park is sure to please. An often overlooked Big Sur gem, the park languishes along two miles of beach front, and when you’re tired of relaxing on the sand, you can enjoy a coastal hike, which is well worth the 50-foot climb to see the breathtaking view of the Pacific. As well as a diverse range of coastal flora, along the trail you will encounter glimpses of harbor seals, sea lion, and sea otters.

From Highway 1, the 4.7 mile Rocky Ridge Trail presents a grand view of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the ocean. You can loop around the state park and make the most of the impressive Redwoods by heading back to the trailhead via Soberanes Canyon. The trail ascends very steeply as it climbs Rocky Ridge and has a very steep descent to Soberanes Canyon, so it may be more suited to seasoned hikers than novices. If you’re looking for a less challenging walk, you can avoid the Rocky Ridge Trail and take a stroll through the redwoods at Soberanes Canyon where the horsetail and watercress line the gently flowing Soberanes Creek.

As well as rugged hiking, unspoiled Garrapata Park is also a perfect spot for ocean fishing. While you’re casting your line, you may also witness gray whales pass by the State Park’s shoreline during their winter migration season. The park is also a must for photography enthusiasts particularly on clear days when a spectacular view of the mountain ranges can be seen. Cycling is permitted, but only on the Rocky Ridge hiking trail. You may walk your dog on Garrapata Beach providing you keep her on a leash at all times. Garrapata State Park is just one of the many delights Carmel-By-The Sea has to offer.

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