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.

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