Birding · Views · Wildlife
Easy terrain with plenty of shade in between the sunny spots.
This is very accessible for kids and families. The terrain is kind enough that a toddler in a backpack carrier is a great option for the littlest of hikers, but it is not suitable for a stroller. In the warmer months, parts of this trail will be brutally hot with fields void of shade. Don't worry, although the heat may seem too much, there are plenty of shady spots to stop rest and relax with snacks and views.
Need to Know
There is an admission fee at the gate. If you don't mind the extra hike, park outside the gate and hike in to avoid the fee. There are some stretches without shade that can get pretty hot on a clear day. Poison oak is common especially on the Ollason Trail
This hike travels up Ollason Trail
through a couple of passes between the hills, thick with vegetation. For the truly fit and those able to climb steep grades, there is a grand view of the canyon at the end of the Ranch Trail
. Look to your left at the end of the Ranch Trail
and head up the steep slopes.
After returning to the main loop, the Gilson Gap Trail
offers a more open hike with spectacular views of the Salinas Valley. From this trail stop in any clearing, or in the shade in the summer months, and take in the 360-degree views. There are birds and mice and insects around.
These trails are great for trail running or hiking, and many are also open to mountain biking; be sure to adhere to the posted signage, and be sure to alert other trail users before overtaking them.
Flora & Fauna
I have seen turkey vultures, horned lizards, western whiptale, lots of wildflowers, coastal live oak, and lots of field mice.
Shared By: Zaki Rucker