0.7 mile between the Lace Lichen Trail and the South Plateau Trail, this trail crosses the Mound Meadow Trail. Provides access to/from the Piney Woods parking and picnic area. Accessibility: does not meet ADA standards, but is generally level and easy to walk.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Pine Ridge Trail. Photo credit: Fred Brown.

Pine Ridge Trail. Photo credit: Fred Brown.

This is one of the interior trails at the Reserve, offering solitude and quiet – although there are occasional views to the sea, the walker is usually immersed in deep forest. Monterey pine is dominant here. These trees have adapted to fire, and on particularly hot autumn days, you may hear a crackling overhead, which is the sound of their cones opening to disseminate their seeds. In winter storms their crowns toss in the seawind. And in late winter they shed their pollen, and the rainpools near the trail are rimmed with golden yellow. Walk quietly – you may surprise a black-tailed deer. Western gray squirrels are often at work overhead – watch for the signs underfoot: pine cones stripped of their scales and dropped to the ground. Birdlife abounds in the treetops, more easily heard than seen: pygmy nuthatches, Pacific-slope flycatchers, and chestnut-backed chickadees. Along the trail edges, look for bright yellow-orange monkey flower, and fragrant blueblossom ceanothus.