This chunk of chaparral and oak woodland is enormous (though half of it is closed for munitions cleanup). Even though it’s surrounded by CSU Monterey Bay, Highway 68, Marina, Salinas and Laguna Seca, there is real wilderness in there. It’s criss-crossed with 80 miles of trails, and things can get easily confusing. Don’t panic. Phone GPS might work (but don’t count on it). There are electrical power lines you can follow back to civilization, and generally, enough people roaming about to help. Start online, with the Bureau of Land Management’s page on the monument where you can download or print maps, then check out to see their entry “Best trails in Fort Ord National Monument” and download their app. Then find a trailhead and go for it. There’s plenty of room for everyone.

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