2. Once You Start: BIKE MAPS and Other Tools for Finding Your Way
The Harrison family, AKA Pedouins, appreciate the many car-free miles of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. (Photo courtesy of Steve E. Anderson.)
Along with related tips,
this page features links to bicycle maps for:
- Monterey County: Besides Monterey County’s countywide bike map, you’ll find bike maps on this page for Salinas, our Monterey County seat; California State University-Monterey Bay; and Fort Ord National Monument. There are also Velo Club Monterey ride maps, and a general representation map of the new 1.5 mile South Bank Trail along the Carmel River.
- Monterey Bay region neighbors, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties.
- Central Coast counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
- San Francisco Bay area.
- Other California bike maps.
Spanish language versions are often included.
Related tips on this page include:
- Bike-and-ride and transit connections.
- Definitions of bikeways (Class I, II, III, paths, lanes, routes).
- HER Helmet Thursdays route tips.
- Route help websites.
That’s a Monterey County freeway–a dedicated bike and pedestrian freeway!
You may be familiar with pedestrian-heavy sections of our Class I bike-pedestrian/multiuse paths near popular areas like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the wharfs. But did you know about the wide open spaces, like this section near Fort Ord Dunes State Park?
On former Fort Ord land, there are also many miles of paved roads where cars are not allowed. See “Fort Ord National Monument” heading below for links to maps and related resources.
Pretty nice, eh? Two lanes for bikes and a separate paved lane for pedestrians.
Once you start biking here…
You may not want to stop. So, here are maps and other info to help keep you going!
For additional help, refer to Monterey County Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources.
Bike-and-ride to expand your territory
Not so sure how far you want to go? Making use of the Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) buses, Amtrak train, and other transportation for you and your bike can make it easier to experience Monterey County.
You’ll also find in the “Bike-and-Ride” section some tips for Amtrak, Monterey Airbus, and other transportation helpers.
Bike-and-ride options that go out of the county, like Amtrak and these MST transit connections, mean you can use Monterey County as a homebase as you bike throughout the region too. Some tips on doing that are also found in the “Bike-and-Ride” section.
Traveling to Monterey County cities of Castroville, Marina, Seaside, Sand City, Monterey, and Pacific Grove? Make use of Monterey County’s coastal trail system, part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network.
Monterey County’s bike maps
You may be aware of the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, from Castroville to Pacific Grove. It’s popular because of overall freedom from motor vehicles as well as beautiful views along the coast.
Where are the other Monterey County bikeways–and the most accurate, reliable bike maps?
Monterey County’s countywide bike map
The main/countywide Monterey County Bike Map [refer to TAMC’s 2011 existing bike conditions; TAMC’s 2008 paper map will be updated by TAMC asap] was created by the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC). Free paper copies of the map, as well as low-cost water- and tear-resistant copies, are available at various locations. Here are some FAQs about the Monterey County bike map.
TAMC’s map includes riding tips that will help you bike safely. For lots more on safety, see “CA Bike Laws and Personal Bike Safety” on this site.
City of Salinas bike map
CSUMB bike map
California State University Monterey Bay has a CSUMB-specific bikeways map, and it now includes both Spanish and English text. It also has a “Hot Destinations” guide, to help guide you to 33 popular points of interest.
Check out CSUMB Tripwise on the web.
Fort Ord National Monument
As the site says, The Fort Ord National Monument has some of the last undeveloped wild lands on the Monterey Peninsula. There are three trail access points to 86 miles of trail for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Download the new (as of June 2012) map, Fort Ord National Monument Trail Map and Fort Ord National Monument Brochure.
Click here for how to reach the trailheads.
You may also access the Fort Ord map via the Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA) website: MORCAmtb.org. http://www.morcamtb.org/trails/fortordtrailmap0712.pdf
Velo Club Monterey Ride Maps
Routes regularly taken on Velo Monterey’s group rides may be accessed via the “Ride Maps” section of their website: vcmonterey.org. You’ll find maps for the popular “Monterey Loop” (100 miles), their Saturday Morning ride, and their No Real Job ride. (For the latest Fort Ord trails map, refer above or to MORCAmtb.org.)
South Bank Trail – Carmel River
Here is a PDF of the South Bank Trail map, a general representation of the new (as of October 2011) South Bank Trail along the Carmel River. Visit the Big Sur Land Trust webpage, “Big Sur Land Trust Opens New Public Trail in Carmel Valley” for more information; also read Kera Abraham’s Monterey County Weekly 12/15/11 story, “Trail to Heaven.”
A link will be added here asap with my photos and tips for cyclists. (Want to see that happen sooner? Your help makes a difference!) Meanwhile, know that this 1.5 mile Class I trail, because of its brevity, is best suited for those who will appreciate its positive features in spite of its short length.
Have little ones who like to veer off other Class I trails? No problem for you here; there are fences on each side.
Do be aware that first you must travel the stretch of road between the (6-vehicle) parking lot and the trailhead. Most often you will not come upon a single vehicle on this quiet road.
Map tip: Bikeways defined
On this site, as discussed in “Where to Bike in Monterey County,” three types of bikeways are referred to: bike paths, lanes, and routes.
The definitions below are provided courtesy of the Monterey County Planning Department glossary: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/planning/major/eastgarrison/SP/1440SP_07_Glossary.pdf
Class 1 Bikeway (Bike Path): Provides a completely separated right-of-way for the exclusive use of bicyclists and pedestrians.
Class 2 Bikeway (Bike Lane): Provides a striped lane for one-way bike travel on a street or highway.
Class 3 Bikeway (Bike Route): Provides connections to either Class 1 or Class 2 facilities/bikeways. Class 3 facilities have no special lane markings, and bicycles share the roadway with motor vehicles.
What about Class 4 Bikeways? The California Department of Transportation scheduled a summit about Class 4 bikeways in Sacramento in May 2015. Click here to learn more.
Below: Class I bikeways include the majority of the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.
Ah, the magnificent bikeways of Monterey County. Let’s keep ’em coming!
Photo below courtesy of Leo Kodl.
Monterey Bay Tri-County Region
( Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties)
- Monterey County maps are provided above.
- San Benito County maps (click here to download PDF) – The Council of Governments is San Benito County’s regional transportation planning agency. For Council of Governments bike projects, click here.
- San Benito County also has, in English and Spanish, Safe Routes to Schools brochures featuring maps of suggested bicycling and walking routes to each individual school.
- Santa Cruz County maps (click here, then refer to RTC Bicycle Maps) – For the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission bike projects, click here.
- Santa Cruz County – Also refer to People Power Santa Cruz resources – provided by the organization now known as Bike Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Transportation projects, Bike Shack in Watsonville, Bicycle Planning, Programs, and Services at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), Ecology Action of Santa Cruz transportation resources, and Santa Cruz County Cycling Club.
has a video on how to use their map:
Additional Central Coast bike maps
- Santa Barbara County – South – Also refer to the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
- Santa Barbara County – North – Also refer to the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
- San Luis Obispo County – Also refer to the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition
Visit the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) District 5 Bicycling page for a downloadable version of their Bicycle Touring Guide. The CalTrans site has other bike maps and resources; click here to start exploring their site.
Headed north of the Monterey Bay area?
Maps en espanol–
including additional California cities and counties
Refer to the Spanish language resources on this site, found under the “Resources/Los Recursos” tab.
Other California bike maps
Pacific Coast Bike Route
If you purchase a Pacific Coast Bike Route map or guide book from a resource such as Adventure Cycling Association, be aware that mistakes may sometimes appear. (Example: See camping section of this site.) Ask a local.
California Bicycle Coalition
See the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike.org) Maps page. Disclaimer: With regard to Monterey County, please note that CalBike.org may include a couple maps from mtycounty.com that are not recommended by some of our most reliable local sources, including our Transportation Agency bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. For example, as of 12/12/11, CalBike links to the following maps. While these maps may be helpful to refer to for other reasons (and perhaps reflect ways that the map-maker personally traveled), these maps include some inaccurate information:
- Aromas, Castroville, Prunedale-Moss Landing (For example, Crazy Horse Canyon is not an existing bike route, and at present, construction can make it a hazardous situation. Instead of referring to that 2002 map, refer to info from TAMC instead.)
- Marina-Fort Ord (For example, Blanco Road is not an existing bike route, although construction of bike lanes will begin in 2012. Instead of using that 2004 map, refer to info from TAMC instead.)
Contact me, or contact Monterey Velo Club Answer Man Jan Valencia, local League of American Bicyclists instructor Frank Henderson (both shown below), or one of the knowledgeable people found on the Monterey County Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page.
Monterey Institute of International Studies student Sue Kim is already quite at home on the bike/multi-use path.
is backed up by her friends the Besse family of Scotts Valley, California, as she makes her first exploration of the bikeways of Monterey.
More tips for finding your way
Most of the HER Helmet Thursdays participating locations (by early 2011, nearly 200 places throughout Monterey County) have “bike-there tips”/route tips. These are reliable directions tips prepared by Mari Lynch or by another local cyclist.
Some of these bike-there tips are very basic. Others–e.g., Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing–are detailed. If you are biking to or near any of the HER Helmet Thursdays participants’ locations, check out the tips.
Route help websites
As noted in the Where to Bike in Monterey County section on this site, you may want to make use of the following:
Be aware there are sometimes errors in these computer-generated direx. These can be made better by knowledgeable cyclists taking time to contribute corrections and offer alternate routes.
Sharing the road in Monterey County
Related tips, including combining bike use with planes, trains, and automobiles, are in the bike-and-ride section of this site.
Motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists alike can become better informed about how to share the road more safely; refer to tips in California Bike Laws and Personal Safety. You’ll also find links there to resources like tips for commercial drivers around bicycles and tips for bicyclists around big trucks and buses.
The American Automobile Association acknowledges that bicycling is another way people travel. Check out the photo on the front of their Monterey Peninsula-Salinas Valley map. Thanks to AAA for reminding drivers of the presence of bicyclists on our roads.
If you’re a AAA member, let them know you want bicyclists roadside service in California too, as is offered in Oregon, Washington, and southern Idaho.