I’ve run in a lot of pretty places, but the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail has worked its way into the top spot with its jagged coastline and almost-tropical fauna that had me saying, “Wow,” every 10 seconds.
I mean, does it get any better than this?
Oh, it does.
Because there are seals, too.
While visiting my best friend (also a runner!) in San Francisco last month, I had a 7-mile training run on my plan the day we were driving from Monterey to Big Sur. We didn’t have a ton of time to spend in Monterey, so I thought the run would let us get in additional sightseeing before we hopped in the car.
Before trips, I normally check out Map My Run and Trail Link to see if there are any routes to inspire me. I also like browsing Trip Advisor forums for ideas, and occasionally get lucky with a Google search for “running blog route + location name.”
From our lovely Airbnb (try Airbnb using my link & get $20 in credit here!), we only had to run about half a mile downhill, past the cutest house EVER, before reaching the trail.
And, this was the view of the sunrise we were greeted with:
At that point, we knew were in for a great run that would be filled with photo stops. Luckily neither of us were training for any sort of time goal because this “run” would have been a wash.
There was a stretch of trail so captivating that we stopped every 90 seconds to simply stare out at the violent sea, mesmerized as sea kayakers and sea birds darted around the mist cascading from the crashing waves.
For our 7 mile run, we did a figure-eight from our Airbnb: We headed north toward downtown Monterey before looping back south to Point Pinos Lighthouse, backtracking to where we started. Even with some out-and-backs, I wouldn’t have changed anything about our route. We got to see so much in an hour (sunrise! seals! beaches! cliffs! lighthouses!), and I could have stayed on that trail all day.
It almost made me wish I’d had a longer run on my schedule. Almost.
- Location: Monterey Bay, CA
- Distance: 29 miles of trail, and you could easily get more mileage with neighborhood loops
- Terrain: Mostly paved, some hard-packed dirt track
- Traffic: No cars! Pedestrian & bike traffic is quiet in the mornings, but it gets busy near Monterey later in the day
- Water: Limited – advise you to bring your own if you’re running long
- Bathrooms: Limited
- Gear Required: A camera!
- Run The World Rating: 5 Running Shoes out of 5 Running Shoes
Have you ever run the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail? What’s been your favorite place to run?