Great hiking & wildflower viewing in Carmel Valley, California
A docent at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History told us about Garland Ranch after we asked him about a good place to view wildflowers. Since it was springtime, we knew there would be some good wildflower viewing in the area and Garland Ranch did not disappoint! We saw fiesta flower, shooting star (pictured), golden yarrow, monkeyflower, California buttercup, crimson sage, woolly Indian paintbrush, fuscia flowered gooseberry, wood mint, pacific pea, Douglas iris, blue nightshade, star lily, Chinesehouses and California poppy. I'm sure there were even more varieties, but we only hiked a couple of the trails in the park.
The trails were well maintained and the maps they handed out at the little information center were drawn well and easy to read. There were at least a dozen different trails spanning over 400 acres on this former ranch that is now a public park.
From the top of the 1900 ft ridge we could see Monterey and across Monterey Bay, Carmel, the Monterey Aquarium, Elkhorn Slough and the Carmel Valley. The views were incredible and worth the hike.
Since this park is only about 20 minutes from Carmel, there is plenty of other things to do in the area. Monterey Aquarium, shopping in Carmel or just strolling along the beautiful coastline of Central California.
Tip: I would imagine it gets really hot and dry here, so winter and spring are probably the best times to hike. Spring is definitely the best time to come check out the wildflowers!