Palo Corona to San Jose Creek Trail (9mi)

(Note: This option includes both your adventure course and the virtual Community Trail Mile Challenge. You do not need to register separately for the trail mile challenge. Additional courses are not included and adding on other courses to this Adventure Course will not discount them.)

This course is a sneak peek of what will soon become a publicly-accessible hiking trail, offering varied terrain, sweeping panoramic views, many different ecosystems, and a journey across pristine conserved lands. This course boasts an estimated 1,800 feet of elevational gain over the 9 miles and includes some steep ascents and descents. Parking and the trailhead begin at the Palo Corona Regional Park Discovery Center, with portalets and an aid station. The course passes through the Palo Corona back country to the Whisler Wilson Loop trail where it connects to the San Jose Creek Trail. Participants turn around after the last bridge on the San Jose Creek Trail and complete the opposite side of the Whisler Wilson Loop before returning back to the Discovery Center. These lands are not open to the public, so this is a unique opportunity to explore these conserved areas.

This is a live, socially-distanced, self-timed, and self-supported event. It is expected that participants will carry their own aid (i.e., at least 0.5L hydration and adequate nutrition) while on the course, although a limited-supply aid station will be offered at the Discovery Center. Runners and hikers are most likely to successfully complete this course if they have previously completed a similar-length event on trail or a half marathon event on road. You will be required to select a date (4/17, 4/18, 4/24) and starting time slot for this course between 8am and 10:20am. You may begin anytime within your 20-minute slot and should aim to finish the course within 6 hours. The cut-off time for reaching the turnaround checkpoint is 1:20pm, after which participants will be held at the San Jose Creek turnaround and not permitted to complete the course. The Race Team may elect to alter the course or limit the participation of individuals should safety concerns arise due to weather or otherwise.

About Palo Corona Regional Park

Palo Corona Regional Park is one of the Central Coast’s most significant undeveloped open spaces. In the largest land conservation project in Monterey County history, Big Sur Land Trust, the State of California, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD), and The Nature Conservancy partnered to acquire the 10,000-acre Palo Corona Ranch. The acquisition was finalized in 2004. The 10,000-acre ranch was then divided between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and MPRPD to be protected in perpetuity. MPRPD created the new Palo Corona Regional Park with the northern 4,350 acres of the former ranch. In 2018, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, California Wildlife Conservation Board, CDFW, California State Coastal Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency and Santa Lucia Conservancy, an additional 190 acres of the former Rancho Cañada Golf Course was added to the park. Beginning at near sea level and rising to over 3,400 feet in elevation, Palo Corona is home to over 500 species of plants as well as several federally-endangered and threatened species including steelhead trout, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, Smith’s blue butterfly, golden eagle, and California condor. Palo Corona also provides habitat connectivity for several previously-protected conservation properties, including Garrapata State Park, Joshua Creek Ecological Preserve, Mitteldorf Preserve, Glen Deven Ranch, Point Lobos State Reserve, Santa Lucia Conservancy lands, and the Ventana Wilderness.

About Whisler Wilson Ranch and the San Jose Creek Trail

The San Jose Creek Trail is a 1.5-mile trail that connects California State Parks’s Point Lobos Ranch to Palo Corona Regional Park. This land was nearly converted into a 1,000-home neighborhood by a coal company in 1898, but a private landowner swooped in with the hope of preventing the land from ever being developed. While the coastal portion of this landowner’s holdings was sold to the State of California in 1933 to become Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the mountain portion remained private until Big Sur Land Trust acquired it. The acquisition was conducted in two parts: the first in 1993 (transferred to State Parks to become Point Lobos Ranch) and the second in 2010 (known as Whisler Wilson Ranch and transferred to MPRPD). The hike from Whisler Wilson to the end of the San Jose Creek Trail offers a stunning panoramic view of Point Lobos and the ocean, wildflower-speckled meadows, a redwood-filled canyon, and three beautiful pedestrian bridges crossing San Jose Creek.

Race Fee

Registration for this 9-mile course is $50 and closes on April 10. Your fee includes both the Palo Corona to San Jose Creek course and the Community Trail Mile Challenge. During your initial registration, you can add on additional courses at their regular rate ($30 for your first course and $10 for each course thereafter, or $50 for Palo Corona to Mitteldorf Preserve).

Course Map

Click here to view this route in Strava, including the elevational profile. Note that this Strava course as well as the above elevation map from Strava are not entirely accurate, as due to the landscape it is difficult to obtain GPS signal in a few areas of this course, specifically Inspiration Point and the bottom of the San Jose Creek canyon.

Below is a georeferenced and printable PDF version of this course map. If you use the Avenza app on your phone, you can upload this map to display your GPS location on the course.

Click the icon below to download the attached PDF.


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