Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos
While my home town of Chicago is recovering that wallop of a snow storm, coastal California is in the midst of a long sunny dry spell. To take advantage of the fine weather, we quickly pulled together a 3 day hike along the coast of Monterey Bay, from Santa Cruz to Point Pinos (in Pacific Grove). February 3-5, 2011.
This is our fourth Public-Transit backpacking trip in the past 18 months. It’s emotionally gratifying to go backpacking without using a car, and the San Francisco Bay Area has great options.
Link to more information about using public transit to access trailheads.
The core of the hike is a 38-mile stretch of beach, interrupted only by one harbor (Moss Landing) and one un-fordable river (which required about two miles of walking through artichioke fields and a 100 yard walk on highway 1 across the bridge). We spent two nights camping in the dunes. Although the highway is less than two miles away, the beach is functionally fairly isolated.
Weather was sunny and calm, classic “between storms” San Francisco Bay Area Winter weather. 40 at night and ~60 during the day. Seals, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, lots of birds, surf and surfers, fishermen, and a scattering of people walking their dogs. All in all a very easy and relaxing trip.
Link to full annotated SmugMug photo show
Link to Google Map (gmap-pedometer) allowing you to zoom in on details of the route, satellite images, etc. (If you double click in gmap it will extend the route, which will make you quite confused.)
Home to San Jose Diridon Station via CalTrain.
San Jose to Santa Cruz Transit Center via Santa Cruz express bus.
Walk to Monterey, with a round-trip extension to Point Pinos in Pacific Grove.
Express bus from Monterey Transit Center to San Jose CalTrain station.
The first 8 miles was a mix of beaches and quiet residential streets in Santa Cruz and Capitola. Then 38 miles of beach walking to downtown Monterey.
Then a 9 mile round trip extension to Point Pinos in Pacific Grove.
To make the trip a little shorter, one could take a city bus from Santa Cruz to Capitola or Aptos and eliminate the first 8 miles of town walking.
MAKING IT LONGER???
There are many ways to combine long walks in the Bay Area into a walk of over 300 miles. One could start by combining any of the adjacent walks we’ve taken in the past couple years. Information about each of these trips is included in our SmugMug gallery.
Amy L, Palo Alto
P.S. We are indeed in love with the Bay Area and we thank our lucky stars daily. We have our share of weather troubles, just not right now.