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A Coastal Walk at Asilomar

Asilomar State Beach, California

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  Locals and tourists flock to Asilomar State Beach! It's it close proximity to Monterey's Cannery Row, in the heart of Pacific Grove,... more »

Tips:  Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds is adjacent to Sunset Drive and Asilomar Avenue in the city of Pacific Grove.

... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trail Head

A quick note:
Asilomar has a well developed interpretive library. Some of the key pamphlets can be downloaded from the Park's main web site. Several that will be especially helpful focus on coastal vegetation including trees, flowering plants, and sea life. These and more are available at the Park's HQ located in the south east corner of the Park ... More

2. Junction

Interpretive Signage and 4-way Junction.

Follow the North Trail up and around the dunes to two vistas. It's a short walk with benches on the way.

3. Dunes Vista

Follow the boardwalk up into the dunes, it's a very short walk.

There are two benched overlooks to stop at and enjoy a broad dune vista out to the coast.

Return to the Junction.

4. Southeast Boardwalk Trail and view spots.

Follow the Southeast Trail that will parallel the Conference Grounds. About 1/3 and 2/3 of the way to the trail end will be benches.

Along the way a wide flowering variety of dune vegetation is on display that includes:
Seaside Daisy, Menzie's Wallflower, Pacific Gum Plant, Tidestrom's Lupin, Blue-eyed Grass, Lizard Tail, Beach Aster, Tree Lupine... More

5. Junction and Benches

Boardwalk intersection, benches, and a place to chat.

6. Trail Head

Trail Head within the Conference Grounds.

This Trail Head has easy access to a number of residences including Spindrift, Whitecaps, the Chapel, Breakers, and Marlin. All are within the heart of the Conference Grounds complex.

Of architectural interest, the Conference Grounds structures are the work of several notable North American designers... More

7. Junction

Returning to this intersection, proceed on the westerly trail into the dunes. Gentle grades and a smooth boardwalk.

8. Meandering trail, benches, and dunes.

Continuing down the meandering trail, benches, and local viewpoints.

9. "Anatomy of the Dunes" Interpretive Signage

"Anatomy of the Dunes" Zones within the dunes: Fore Dunes, Back Dunes, and Forest.

10. Junction/Bench/Information

"How are the Dunes Formed?" Interpretive signage. Where the sand comes from and how winds form the dunes.

11. Bench and Bridge

The path to the Conference Grounds and a Trail Head as it crosses lowland drainage and seasonal wetlands.

12. Pacific Grove Clover-Endangered Species

Plot of the endanger plant, the Pacific Grove Clover. Seasonal vegetation in the midst of a picnic ground. The clover population varies subject to the season's rainfall and fog. It's not uncommon to see it fenced, protecting the plant from both humans and grazing animals. This is the park's only plot of the rare clover.

The Pacific Grove Clover... More

13. Trail Head and Picnic Area

Meadow and Picnic area trail head adjacent to the Hearst Social Hall.

Historically this low area formerly between dunes was called "The Circle" and was once a pine forested meeting place. Today, it's called "The Meadow". Monterey Pines and Cyprus provide shade and break the sea winds.

Deer and other local animals use the space as a corridor... More

14. Trail Head-Dunes, Sunset Drive

Sunset Drive Entrance to the Dunes.

15. Trail Head-Coastal Trail, Sunset Drive

The Coastal Trail is a fairly level path along the bluffs that allows easy access to a number of points, tide pools, beaches, and coves. The trail lies on a narrow shelf between the ocean and the coastal road, Sunset Drive. This trail is very popular locally for walks, jogging, and school trips.

There are quite a few access points and roadside... More

16. Rocks

The beach walk transitions to a bolder field and climb onto the bluffs.

17. Tide Pools

Tide Pool access.

Keep an eye on the waves and tides and never turn your back to the sea. Periodically "sleeper waves" can catch the unwary and sweep them out to sea.

The points and bluffs along this coastline provide very good viewing of marine mammals and sea life. The kelp beds are home to the recovering Sea Otter and several seal species.

18. Bluffs

Rocky shore bluff access.

19. Road Access-Junction

Access point to Sunset Drive.

20. Welcome to Asilomar State Marine Preserve

About the Marine Preserve, it's plants, animals, and resources.

21. Junction-Tide Pool Access

Access to tide pools and a rocky point area and Sunset Drive.

22. Tide Pools-Point

End of point and tide pools.

23. Junction-Road Access

Trail junction with access to tide pools and Sunset Drive.

24. Junction-Road Access

Trail junction with access to a point and Sunset Drive.

25. Leave Trail

Leave the trail for a scenic walk along the bluffs and a chance to explore the rocky coastline.

26. Beach Access

Trail down to a beach cove.

27. Junction-Point and Road Access

Trail junction with access to a point and Sunset Drive.

28. Beach Access

A trail down to a beach cove.

29. Beach and Tide Pool Access

Beach and tide pool access from trail.

30. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

31. Beach Access

A trail down to a beach cove.

32. Junction-Point Access

This junction provides access to one of the best points on the walk.

33. Point Access and Rocky Playground

One of the more interesting and fun points on the walk! The trail starts in a bluff/meadow/dune area alive with flowers. The trail wraps around some rock outcroppings and cobble bench. Visitors have been stacking the cobbles into benches, wind shelters, and small sculptures.

34. Steps

Steps and shoreline shelf access.

35. Rejoining the Trail

Junction and Sunset Drive Access.

36. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

37. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

38. Tide Pool Access

A trail down to tide pools.

39. Shoreline Access

A trail down to a beach cove.

40. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

41. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

42. Junction-Beach and Road Access

Trail junction with access to beach and Sunset Drive.

43. Boardwalk

Boardwalk over a shallow ravine and shore access.

44. Gazebo-Vista Point

A gazebo with some of the best shoreline views in the Park.

45. Beach and Point Access

Beach, Point, and Trail junction.

46. Junction

Several side trails provide access to Sunset Drive and a loop around the dune meadow area.

47. Trail Head

Trail Head at Lighthouse Drive and northern end of the State Park.

Head north on Sunset Drive around the adjoining property to access County and City Trails to continue to Cannery Row and more shoreline access trails. 3.5 to 4 miles of trail and pathways.

Or backtrack to return to the starting point.

48. Pico Avenue

Pico Avenue Intersection for reference.

49. End

Return to trail head and starting point.