Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This run features some challenging climbs rewarded with great views of the nearby mountains and farms. Wildflowers are plentiful in the spring and make the trail smell amazing. At the 1.2 mile mark there is a nice pond. From this point to about the 2.5 mile mark, there is no shade and can be extremely hot in the summer.
Need to Know
Plenty of free parking and two bathrooms in the parking lot. Watch out for mountain bikers.
There are two sections that are steep enough that slips and falls are common. One is where Engineer Canyon Road and Sandy Ridge Road
meet. The other is along Station One Road
. Running the loop starting at Station One (south) will put you uphill on both of these sections.
Start the trail by heading south, the trailhead is behind the restrooms. It starts off a little steep, but it is great for a stretch. This area is shaded, but can contain some poison oak.
When you near the top of this first hill, you'll get a view of some of the local farmland and coastal mountains. The trail in this area is hard-pan and can get quite slick in some areas. A couple more climbs and some fun downhill areas, and you'll make it to Oil Well Rd.
Make a right, and you'll shortly see a pond on your left (might be dry during the summer). This section is mostly gravel and will continue to be gravel for the rest of the run. In 0.25 miles, you'll come to a fork, take a right. This will begin the biggest uphill challenge for the run.
Once you crest the hill, there will be another fork. Go straight (you can take a right here if you want even more uphill) for a long relieving downhill section with lots of trees. You'll reach another uphill section (with a great view of some farmland) followed by a paved road. Follow the paved road back to the parking lot.
Large sections of the trail are shaded with trees, but most of the trail is still exposed to the sun. There are a lot of side trails and roads that can be used to shorten or lengthen the trail, just be sure to pick up a map from the info boards at the parking lot so you don't get lost. Can get very hot and dry during the summer, so bring plenty of water. There are marked sections of the trail where dogs can be off leash.
Flora & Fauna
Wildflowers, coyotes, lizards, beetles, gray foxes, frogs near the lake, and plenty of birds. Poison ivy is kept in check, but can sometimes be a problem.
History & Background
This trail is located in the Fort Ord National Monument. Fort Ord was closed in 1994 and much of the land was made a National Monument by President Barack Obama on April 20, 2012. There are over 83 miles of multi-use trails in the area.
Shared By: Joshuah Brock