Friday, January 30, 2015

Gabilan Trail: a hikers-only trail in Garland Ranch Regional Park

Mossy wood next to Gabilan Trail

Gabilan Trail in the southeastern pocket of Garland Ranch Regional Park is a hiking trail through oak forest and patches of chaparral. This single-track trail descends—or ascends, depending on your hiking direction—a northwest-facing slope of the Santa Lucia Range.

Gabilan Trail may be included in a three to four miles long loop hike including Laureles Trail, a few steps on Vasquez Trail and Spring Trail, the lower section of Saddle Trail and the River Trail alongside Carmel River. Gabilian Trail shortcuts the descend from Spring Trail to the River Trail by a fifth of a mile—by comparison with proceeding via the Spring Trail/Saddle Trail junction. Spring Trail and Saddle Trail are open for hiking and equestrian use.

Doing the loop
Once you have climbed the steep Laureles Trail and arrived at the bench overlooking Vasquez Ridge, you want to take Vasquez Trail. At the Y-junction where Vasquez Trail forks left continue on Spring Trail for about hal a mile to its junction with Gabilan Trail. The descend on Gabilan Trail is less than a mile long. Half-way downhill, you will find another bench with magnificent vistas of western Carmel Valley, including the fields of the Carmel Valley Trail & Saddle Club. Continuing downhill, turn right at the junction of Gabilan Trail with Saddle Trail to get to the River Trail.

Larger loops
The topographic park map will help you plan longer loop hikes that may include the upper Vasquez Trail or East Ridge Trail and Veeder Trail. 

Getting to the River Trail 
See the directions for Laureles Trail or take Paso Hondo Road from Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley Village. Find parking near the baseball fields and cross the foot bridge over the Carmel River to access the River Trail.

Western Carmel Valley seen from Gabilan Trail

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