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Redwoods, Surf & Sea Lions on California's Central Coast
Edward Weston famously photographed it. John Steinbeck found inspiration in it. Landscape artist Francis McComas rapturously praised it. Yes, even the local elephant seals and pelicans seem to know they're thriving amid the "greatest meeting of land and water in the world." And you'll happily discover it on foot and two wheels. The awe-inspiring coast redwoods and sinuous cliff-edged roads. The wind-scoured beaches and primordial kelp forests. Monterey Bay, deep as the Grand Canyon. A brilliant reminder of nature's grandeur. You just might fall in love with it.
Day 1 Walk among giants in a grove of coast redwoods, the world's tallest trees Pedal through a lush canyon to the farming town of Pescadero, where Harley Farms Goat Dairy awaits to tempt you with freshly made artisanal cheeses Spin to Pigeon Point Light Station, home to a 115-foot tall lighthouse that has been guiding mariners since the 1800s.
Day 2 Explore a beautifully undeveloped stretch of California coastline Wildlife thrives here, so keep your eyes peeled - you may be lucky enough to spot sea otters frolicking just off shore Taste pinot noir at one of the region's oldest wineries Towering redwoods shade your descent to seaside Santa Cruz.
Days 3-4 The splendor of Monterey Bay spreads out before you on a hike through meadows and forest high above Santa Cruz A local expert shares insider knowledge of estuary life at the Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve Pedal into historic Monterey, following a bike path through oceanfront sand dunes.
Days 5-6 Views of rocky headlands, wind-battered cypresses and azure ocean are yours to enjoy on undulating 17-Mile Drive Hansel and Gretel-style meets the unabashedly posh - you must be in Carmel-by-the-Sea! Linger in Carmel's chic galleries, boutiques and tasting rooms, hike in a dense Monterey pine forest in the hills above town or stroll on the beach Ever peered into a kelp forest or looked an octopus in the eye? Now's your chance at the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium With its ruggedly stunning landscape and lively chorus of barking sea lions, Point Lobos State Reserve is sure to leave a lasting impression.
- Savor freshly made artisan cheeses at Harley Farms Goat Dairy
- Sea otters, harbor seals and birds abound in the estuary at Elkhorn Slough
- Witness an amazing world beneath the waves at Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Point Lobos State Reserve, one of California's most iconic and stunning landscapes
- Settle in at view-tiful hotels perched right above the ocean
Costanoa Lodge (1 night): A stylish yet comfortable "eco-adventure resort" set amid acres of pristine coastal hills and secluded beaches. (spa)
Dream Inn (2 nights): Soak up views of Monterey Bay from this sleek resort situated on Cowell's Beach near the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. (pool)
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (2 nights): European sophistication blends with superb only-in-California vistas at this elegant hotel perched just above Monterey Bay. (spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
* Includes a shuttle
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Guest Trip Reviews
This trip offers a fantastic blend of hiking and biking in some of California's most spectacular scenery. You and your family will not only discover the region's beaches, impressive redwood forests and wealth of marine wildlife, you'll also have the chance to explore some of our favorite towns, including Carmel and Santa Cruz. We look forward to seeing you out there!- Regional Manager, California