The Toro Regional Park, with its over 20 miles of trails, lies in the Salinas Mountains just a few miles east of Monterey Bay and north of downtown Salinas. Its convenient location makes it a popular destination for nearby residents for day hikes, as well as for its recreational area and playground. Most of its 9 trails are considered moderate to hard and they range from 1.7 to 6 miles each. Divided 50/50 between loop and out-and-back type, they are all leashed pup-friendly. The park, where all the trails begin and connect, features restrooms and drinking water, along with picnic areas complete with tables and grills. Other picnic sites are scattered among the trails, too. Free parking is available at Quail Meadows near the entrance to the park.
Many wildlife species live in the park and along the trails, and you and Fido will likely spy deer, and sometimes the elusive coyote. Mountain lions and eagles live here too, but you're not as likely to be treated to a view of them. Many birds, including songbirds and others, either inhabit the area or visit during migratory periods, so you will notice them around you as you walk.
Wildflowers are abundant along several of the trails in the spring including the 5-mile Ollason Loop, which has a climb of about 1,000 feet. Another trail named Ollason is an out-and-back of about 2 miles with an elevation gain of only about 350 feet, so is quite easy. The Toyon Ridge Trail is a loop with furtastic views of the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay, but it's quite steep. Cougar Ridge Trail stretches along a ridge between pastoral, grassy cow pastures, and the 1800 Trail, which rises 1,800 feet, claims the best scenic views. Forests, both dense and sparse, accompany you on your hike, and you will often break out into hilly meadows and sections where trailside sage perfumes the air.
Toro Regional Park's Trails offers vastly different hiking experiences, and you and your fur-bud will surely find just what you're looking for!
The trails in Toro Regional Park are mostly dirt, both packed and loose, and include some very steep elevation changes and rocky areas. Wear good, broken-in hiking boots to avoid ankle-twisting or slipping.