North Single-Track Loop, Fort Ord National Monument
Intermediate. The north single-track loop is one of the most popular Fort Ord National Monument trails. There’s a parking area at Creekside Terrace just off Reservation Road. Take either Trail 02 or Trail 31 to Oil Well Road, which, while challenging your thighs, will see you cycle several miles uphill to Skyline Road. From here, you’ll rake a right, and after 0.5 miles, you will see Trail 44 on your right. Ride this trail to Trail 41 before heading back to Oil Well Road. Take a left, a right on Station One Road, and, finally, Trail 01 to go back to your vehicle.
Monterey to Marina along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
Beginner to Intermediate. This trail gives you a different outlook on the Monterey coastline. You can opt to take the flat cut-off winding its way around Laguna Del Rey or for a bigger challenge, take on the steep hill at the Seaside/Monterey border, with its rewarding view of Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz. Both trails end up at the Seaside car park for Monterey State Beach, continuing for miles along the bluffs and dunes. Once you’ve made your way past Sand City, you’ll come to several miles of trail up to Marina, with pedestrians, fellow cyclists, and the odd hawk or gull as your only company.
Ollason Trail, Toro Park
Intermediate to Advanced. To see Monterey Bay in all its sweeping glory, pay a visit to Toro park and ride the Ollason Trail. You can cycle 1800 feet above sea level to reach Ollason Park. The entrance itself is around 200 feet above sea level so you’re looking at around a mile’s climb. Cyclists begin the challenging but ultimately satisfying 9-mile loop at the park’s entrance. There are semi-hardpacked dirt roads along the side, with a number of sandy and soft dirt patches. You’ll also come across roller-coaster hills during the climb. Between the entrance and the Environmental Centre, both cyclists and hikers take parallel paths but share a trail when past the Centre. If you’re up for an even bigger challenge, feel free to carry on the trail between Ollason Peak and Simas Peak, with stunning views of Monterey Bay and Salinas Valley.
Monterey Loop, Carmel Valley/Salinas Valley
Intermediate to Advanced. The Monterey loop though Carmel and Salinas Valleys is among the most frequently taken long routes by local cyclists. The route, which is approximately 100 miles, begins at River Road in Salinas where you’ll cycle pass up to 50 miles of prime farmland in Salinas Valley. You’ll then follow Arroyo Seco Road, which you’ll follow to Carmel Valley Road.
As you pass through Carmel Valley and Arroyo Seco, you’ll come across various cattle ranches and vineyards. From here, you can choose to ride over the Laureles Grade back to your starting point or cycle straight into Carmel. The route has become so popular that it was chosen as the Sea Otter Classic’s Gran Fondo Long Ride.