Garland Ranch Regional Park is the “granddaddy”’ of the MPRPD properties, representing the District’s first parkland acquisition. The park was purchased in 1975 from William Garland II, who generously gifted a portion of the cost by reducing the purchase price to below fair market value. An eminent southern California community leader, Mr. Garland spent many summers with his family on the “ranch”.
This park is home to a variety of landscapes that occur at elevations from 200 to 2,000 feet. From the willow covered banks of the Carmel River through the cottonwood-sycamore stands of the old floodplain, the trails ascend steeply. Atop the northern crest of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the trails encounter open oak savannas and spectacular vistas. Along the way, you will travel through maple-filled canyons, dense oak woodlands, and thick stands of chaparral. Garzas Creek gently bisects the park and provides a peaceful, shaded trail that reaches a secluded side canyon of redwoods.
The park is also home to a wide variety of insects, birds, plants and animals, descendants of the first residents. Species lists of common birds, mammals, and plants are available at the Visitor Center or the District Museum, both located in the park.
Throughout the park there are reminders of Carmel Valley’s past: Rumsen Indian habitation sites; homestead, hunting and logging remains; livestock trails, ponds and springs; and Rancho Don Juan.
There is a ranger/volunteer staff to help you enjoy your visit. The District provides both in-class environmental education programs and outdoor interpretive hikes and other events for all ages.
Day use activities include hiking, photography, horseback riding, jogging, walking, bird watching, painting and simple solitude, and limited mountain bike riding in the Cooper Ranch area.
A small visitor center is located at Garland and staffed by volunteers.