Ft. Ord National Monument is a biking, hiking Mecca, two hours from San Joaquin County!

Typical view of the Ft. Ord backcountry!

If you are a hiker, bicyclist or mountain biker, one of your best destinations within two hours of San Joaquin County is the Ft. Ord National Monument, located between Salinas and Monterey, CA. See the monument’s web site, http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/Fort_Ord_NM/recreation.html.

The national monument offers world-class recreation for residents and visitors to the Central California Coast. Lands of the former Fort Ord offer 86 miles of trail on approximately 7,200 acres – open every day from dawn to dusk for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, wildlife/wildflower photographers and nature enthusiasts. Visitors can choose to walk or ride the narrow single track trails atop the grassland hills or the generous winding trails through oak woodlands and maritime chaparral.

Cyclists will find single-track trails roving through plenty of shady Ft. Ord groves of trees covered with CA Lace Lichen!

And, if you are a cyclist (the monument offers both paved roads, lots of fire roads and single track, for any type cyclist), and want to immerse yourself in the USA’s largest bicycling event, this Thursday through Sunday, April 14-17 is the huge and very cool Sea Otter Bike Classic, at Laguna Seca Raceway, adjoining the national monument (see www.seaotterclassic.com for all the details).

This weekend, you can cycle the trails in Ft. Ord’s stunning backcountry and see several thousand cyclists – from world-class pros to serious amateurs – race on some of these scenic trails.  The Ft. Ord trails remain open to casual hikers and cyclists – merely watch for traffic.

I have attached a few photos I took on Sunday, as I was there scouting for course marshal and first-aid points (I work the Sea Otter event as part of a 50+ member National Ski Patrol first-aid contingent).  Believe me, some of the best scenery for hiking and cycling, just two hours from Stockton!

Click here for a cycling/hiking trails map: Ft. Ord 2014 Map 508

How to get there: Go south on Interstate 5 to Santa Nella, take Hwy 33 south, then go west on Hwy 152, then Hwy 156 to connect with Hwy 101.  Go south on Hwy 101 to Salinas, then take Hwy 68 to the Ft. Ord National Monument (the Badger Hills trailhead is on Hwy 68; and across the street is a fine breakfast or lunch option, the Toro Place Café).  It’s about 2.4 hours and 140 miles from Stockton.

Read more from Tim Viall’s travel blog, follow him on Facebook or Twitter; or, email him at tviall@msn.com. Happy travels in your world!


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