Thursday, October 20, 2016

Point Lobos, Scenic Drive, and the 17 Mile Drive

Today was a big driving day, as well as a little walking.  Our first stop was Point Lobos.  We got off to one of our usual early starts (not) and by the time we arrived the parking lots were full.  We parked on Hwy 1 and walked in.  It's a nice walk through the woods until you come to the ocean and see this.   The place has an interesting history.  At one point developers had purchased much of the land and were platting it off for neighborhoods.  Fortunately Alexander Allen had the wherewithal to buy back previously sold lots.  He and his wife set about preserving the area for future generations.

The rock in the middle of the photo is covered in seals.

The rock here is covered in Cormorants.

Since we were south of Pebble Beach and the 17 mile drive, we thought we could reach it via Scenic Drive.  Nice try, no cigar.  It's one way.  However, if you're ever in the area, it's worth doing.  It's an old, wealthy part of California.  Your best bet is to park at the Carmel River State Beach and walk back along the road.  We didn't know that until we were on our way out.  Anyway, it's worth doing to gawk at the houses and the beaches.

We want to live here.  Look at that house.

Look at what they look at from their porch.  The guy that lives there drives a red Ferrari.  I think that tells us everything we need to know about costs.

The gardeners have ruthlessly trimmed these trees.

So then it was on to the 17 Mile Drive.  In 1880 the "big four" railroad barons bought the area now known as Pebble Beach.  They built a hotel and other amenities for tourists, and drove out the local Chinese population.  The drive was developed in 1892 for the pleasure of the guests staying at the Hotel Del Monte.  The area is cut off from the surrounding area by gates, if you are not a guest you must pay $10 for the privilege of doing the drive.

Much of it is through the Del Monte Forest, and was very uninteresting.  The area is covered in very expensive housing.  Had it not been for Alexander Allen, the Point Lobos area would have suffered the same fate.

We eventually took a neighborhood road to get out of the woods and down to the beach.  I was getting carsick from the lumpy winding roads.
We saw a shore bird

More ocean.

Interesting trees.

One of the eight golf courses.

This is Point Joe, where ships used to founder on those rocks.  In the dark and the fog, they would mistake this for Monterey Bay.

See the smooth brown area in the rocks?  That's a path to a tee that is out of frame on the right.

 It's worth doing the drive if you're in the area.  What would be better is to rent a bike in Carmel or Monterey and cycle it.
On the way out we had a fortuitous sighting of a Trader Joe's. We stopped and provisioned.  This is a terrible picture, but you can see more of the succulents that are in the area.


  1. The hike in Point Lobos was one of the best we did along the coast. We skipped the scenic drive since it aggravated Jim they charged $10.

    1. It aggravated us, as well. But since we were there, we paid it. It's not worth the price. Lots of pine trees, more ocean.