Palo Corona

Pointing It Out

Hike to Inspiration Point in Carmel's Palo Corona Regional Park

Wanna hike where the locals do? Visit the new Palo Corona Regional Park in Carmel for a 4.5-mile (round-trip) journey through a beautiful oak forest and up to Inspiration Point. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a cooling breeze courtesy of the nearby ocean, as well as vast views of Carmel Valley and Carmel Bay.

Palo Corona is the result of a major land conservation initiative that culminated in 4,500 acres of protected land and ecosystems, including wildlife like the California condor. Starting from the Discovery Center parking area, you’ll have to detour a bit (it’s marked) before following the trail across a bridge, along a fenced path, and through a gate (where no dogs are allowed, sorry!) to begin hiking among grasses and the tranquility of coast live oaks that provide refreshing shade on hot days.

Now you climb! It’s 850 feet of elevation but early on there’s a nice break in the trees with views of the coast, so you have a good reason to stop and catch your breath. As you keep going up, Carmel Valley expands below.

Inspiration Point is marked by a picnic bench and a lovely vantage of the coastline and Carmel. Also inspiring? It’s all downhill from here, in a good way!

For this hike, start at the Discovery Center (park headquarters), follow the trail southwest crossing the Carmel River. Pass through a gate (no dogs are allowed after this point). There's a large map to view at the gate entrance. Follow the trails and signage up to Inspiration Point. No dogs on the trails to Inspiration Point.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Bikers checking out the view of the reservoir from a bench in El Sereno Open Space Preserve on the Bay Area Ridge Trail

    Serenity in El Sereno

    This one’s for solitude seekers. The El Sereno Open Space Preserve leg of the Bay Area Ridge Trail is a new 7-mile (out-and-back) adventure for hikers and cyclists, winding through the chaparral with 1,000 feet of elevation gain and gorgeous views as payoff.

    View
  2. Eat, Sleep, Beach, Repeat

    If you’re looking for one of those ultra-relaxing getaways where you can sit back and soak in some nature and nurture, head to Mendocino and follow this eat, beach, sleep, repeat itinerary ...

    View
  3. Going Deep

    Mesmerized, educated, and inspired are just a few of things you can’t help but feel while visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its spellbinding new exhibition, Into the Deep.

    View
  4. woman riding a bike in North Lake Tahoe
    Sponsored

    Just in Time for Tahoe!

    Shorter days, cooler nights, and plenty of room to roam: Fall is amazing in North Lake Tahoe! You’re just in time to enjoy North Lake Tahoe’s autumn splendor among trails less crowded.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Historic Hidden Gem

    Smack in the middle of Monterey, and featuring a phenomenal view of the bay and the harbor, Lower Presidio Historic Park is truly an undiscovered gem. In fact, some historians have called it “the most historically significant site on the West Coast of America.”

    View
  2. Two people walking towards Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point Orange County

    Getting Salty

    Long walks on the beach are great, but what about long walks to the beach? This 7.7-mile (round-trip) to the beautiful Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of the best in Orange County.

    View
  3. Beauty and the Beach

    Sweeping, romantic, and vast, Garrapata State Park has all the stuff of swoon-worthy scenery. There’s a magical beach backed by hulking cliffs with a hiking trail we like best in the later afternoon, when the beach can be blissfully deserted.

    View
  4. Pointing It Out

    Wanna hike where the locals do? Visit the new Palo Corona Regional Park in Carmel for a 4.5-mile (round-trip) journey through a beautiful oak forest and up to Inspiration Point for beautiful coastal vistas.

    View