Fort Ord National Monument: Hiking from the Creekside Terrace Trailhead

When I went to explore Pinnacles National Park a few weeks ago, I wanted to spend a little time in Fort Ord National Monument as well. There was almost no information about it online when I was researching though so I just drove to the Creekside Terrace Trailhead, grabbed a map and set out to see what I could find. I will say that this short hike was beautiful, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. I am sure there are a bunch of other great trails here so let me know if you have a recommendation in the comments.

fort ord national monument hiking-1

Details

  • About 2 miles round trip
  • 400 feet of elevation gain
  • Location: Creekside Terrace, Salinas, CA 93908

Getting There

I started this hike from the Creekside Terrace Trailhead, which is off Highway 68 south of Salinas. You will see the sign for the monument when you arrive, and you will proceed into the large parking lot.

The Trail

fort ord national monument hiking-2

There are tons of trails here, and it is relatively easy to follow them so if you want to do something different than me that is fine as well. I recommend grabbing a map near the bathroom, which will show you the trails and help you wind around and get back to your car.

fort ord national monument hiking-3

To follow my specific trail, set out on Old Reservation road for about a tenth of a mile. You will see a single track (trail 31) that leads off to the left, and that is the one I took.

fort ord national monument hiking-4

After a short walk uphill, you will start going in and out of shaded areas. These trees (oak I believe) are nice, and each new covered area provides another photo opportunity.

fort ord national monument hiking-5

This section of the trail is uphill so take your time, some parts are steeper than others but overall it is very manageable.

fort ord national monument hiking-6

As you start to gain elevation, you will get excellent views back towards the parking lot and the farming area out in the distance.

fort ord national monument hiking-8

When the trail crests over the hill, you will reach a three-way split. I went on Trail 34 to the right as I saw a unique rock formation on the hill in the distance, so I wanted to check it out.

fort ord national monument hiking-11

This section is short as well, and it proceeds uphill on a single track until you get to the aforementioned rock / cliff face.

fort ord national monument hiking-12

I explored this a little bit as it seemed to have either wind caves or animal dug caves, not sure which.

fort ord national monument hiking-14

When you reach the top of the hill, you will have a fantastic view down the valley and back into the monument.

fort ord national monument hiking-13

This area is beautiful, and you can see all of the trails cutting through it, so I am sure there are a bunch of good ones.

fort ord national monument hiking-15

From here I went on Trail 26 as this took you along the ridgeline for about a tenth of a mile. It was a charming section as well, and I just enjoyed being able to see down into the valley for a little bit longer.

fort ord national monument hiking-16

When Trail 26 ends I took a hard right on Sandy Ridge Road which took me back in the direction that I started.

fort ord national monument hiking-17

This part of the trail is on an old dirt fire road, and it is much less exciting than the single track. This trail goes for about a half mile as you continue downhill and can see the parking lot down to the right.

fort ord national monument hiking-18

Eventually, the trail winds around the mountain, and you will see a paved road that you will want to cross and continue on trail 30.

fort ord national monument hiking-19

Stay right at the fork and proceed around the mountain and back along the other side which is directly above the parking lot.

fort ord national monument hiking-20

This section will take you past the cliff you no doubt saw when you parked your car.

fort ord national monument hiking-21

It is sheer cliff face with the same type of coastal rock formations you would see at a place like Torrey Pines. It is a cool end to the hike.

fort ord national monument hiking-22

After checking out the cliff face, you will proceed for another 5-7 minutes before the trail dumps you back down into the parking lot.

fort ord national monument hiking-23

All in all, this was an excellent introduction into the beautiful Fort Ord National Monument. While it is no Pinnacles National Park, I still want to make my way back up to it again to explore more of the trails. Let me know if you have any recommendations for this area in the comments.

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly posts recap!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.