HIKING THE BLUE TRAIL
Blue is the color for this month’s hike in the Del Monte Forest. This hike will take you from the Equestrian Center, along Spyglass golf course, up to and beside Forest Lake, along the crest of Poppy Hills, and back down to Stevenson Drive and the Equestrian Center. I found it a very nice and well maintained trail that was fairly easy to find. There are spots where you need to look where you are going or you will end up on a connector trail and off of the blue trail. This happened to me a couple of times as I tend to be a fast walker. However, I had my map in hand and soon realized my mistake and got back on the blue trail. This is not to say that the connector trails are bad, but my goal was to hike the blue trail and only the blue trail.
The trail head starts at the Equestrian Center or you can do what I did and park just past Bristol Curve on the way towards Carmel. There is a dirt road with a locked gate and right at that point is a blue trail marker. If you start at the Equestrian Center the trail will lead you to this spot as the blue trail borders Stevenson Drive going towards Bristol Curve. At Bristol Curve the trail will head up the hill a bit, bordering Bristol Curve, until you get to a point where you will see the blue trail marker across the street, which leads up towards Spyglass golf course. This can be an easy trail marker to miss if you aren’t looking across Bristol Curve. Once across the street, the trail will take you behind Stevenson School for a short distance before dropping you out beside the 17th Fairway on Spyglass.
The trail is shaded here and the view of the golf course is quite nice. If you are near golfers, please wait until they are done hitting the ball before proceeding with your hike so as not to disturb them. Follow the trail along the golf course as it slowly veers towards Forest Lake Road. The trail does get a bit narrower here and watch for poison oak. If you stray off the trail you will be itching later. Remember “leaves of three let it be”. Ultimately you will come to the intersection of Forest Lake Road and Lopez Road where the fire station is located. Cross over Lopez Road to access the blue trail as it gently wraps around the east side of Forest Lake.
You will get some nice views of the lake, albeit it is surrounded by a chain link fence which does interfere if you want to take pictures. The trail will then cross Congress Road and lead you into Poppy Hills golf course. This is where it pays to keep one eye on our map and one eye on the trail as it can be easy to find yourself off the blue trail and on a connector trail. Once you get to Poppy Hills you really won’t see a blue trail marker for quite a while. Stay on the path, off the fairways, veering left along the crest heading towards Poppy Hills Clubhouse. You will walk by lots for sale on your left and on the right will be a restroom. The map will come in handy here. The day I hiked there were some beautiful wild flowers, iris I think, blooming and quite a few hawks in the air.
As you get by the clubhouse, you will once again find the blue trail markers as the trail starts to head back down towards the Stevenson School track field. There was a small meadow called the Lost Boys Meadow on the map that was dotted with blooming wild flowers when I did the hike. Once you reach the track, the trail will take you along Viscaino Road to Forest Lake Road, which you want to cross on your way back to Spyglass. This time the trail will lead you past the church at Stevenson as it heads back to the 17th Fairway. Once here you will recognize the trail and it will be a short downhill jaunt back to where you started.
All in all, this is a pretty easy hike with no major elevation climbs. Give yourself about an hour from start to finish. Take a map of the trails in the Del Monte Forest or you will go off trail. Take some water, a hat, and some sunglasses. I would always suggest a jacket just in case of wind and fog. There is a good ocean views up at Poppy Hills, the golf course views are nice and the wild flowers were very pretty. Make sure you are healthy enough to hike and if unsure, please check with your doctor. I am a Realtor and spend most of my time driving around Pebble Beach, but there really is no better way to get to know the Del Monte Forest than on foot. Until next time….