In 1890, the Southern Pacific Railroad began rumbling down the railroad tracks from the north along Monterey Bay, through Cannery Row and along the seaside bluffs of Pacific Grove. Rail service ended in 1971 and the tracks were eventually converted into the Rec Trail. It appears to end at Lovers Point but there’s more to the story, according to the book, Pacific Grove at Your Feet: Walks, Hikes & Rambles in Butterfly Town, USA, by Pacific Grove author Joyce Krieg.
Just on the other side of a mobile home park the former railroad picks up again, running all the way to the Spanish Bay Golf Course in Pebble Beach. There’s no good place to park at either end of the trail, however, so the best place to start is at the intersection of Sinex and Crocker avenues, which is mid-trail, Krieg advises. Look for the replica of the original passenger shelter used long ago by visitors to Asilomar.
It’s roughly 1.5 miles from that point to the Pacific Grove Gate into Pebble Beach and back. It’s 2.5 miles roundtrip from Sinex/Crocker to the mobile home park near Lovers Point. That section of the trail is mostly flat and runs through forested neighborhoods before crossing Lighthouse Avenue and hugging the back of El Carmelo Cemetery, then running through the P.G. Municipal Golf Course.
This is a good time of year to spend an afternoon strolling the trail since you might catch a glimpse of overwintering monarchs in the forest, especially along the back of the cemetery. The trail gets a little muddled along that section; follow the curve of the cemetery boundary to reach the golf course where you’ll pick up an asphalt path that leads to Del Monte Boulevard. To reach the very end, cross the street and walk the dirt path to the fence. [PM]