Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
1.70 mi (2.74 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Monarch Trail gets it's name from the annual migration of monarch butterflies that seek winter refuge in the towering eucalyptus trees of Natural Bridges State Park. The usual arrival of these beautiful insects is mid-October, and the population peaks all through the month of November. For protection, the butterflies clump together on branches where the lackluster underside of their wings gives the illusion of dead leaves. This strategy also helps the butterflies keep warm when the temperature drops below 60 degrees. A viewing platform has been constructed just short distance from the trailhead. A wheelchair ramp has been constructed to this platform, but the rest of Monarch Trail is not ADA-accessible. 

From the viewing platform, the trail turns to dirt and leads through more eucalyptus trees until it opens into a meadow of various wildflowers and Cypress trees. The trail will soon take you through a wetland sanctuary that is home to animals such as the snowy egret, California quail, and brush rabbits. Wooden walking platforms that cut through the brush and tall grasses have been constructed through most of the wetland. The trail ends when it hits the Natural Bridges Beach. From here, you can walk the beach to the parking lot, or return the way you came. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Diverse environment. Easy hike. Picnic area.

Cons

Big crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

50.00 ft (15.24 m)

Net Elevation Gain

50.00 ft (15.24 m)

Features

Wildflowers
ADA accessible

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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