San Clemente Open Space is located approximately 7 miles southeast of Carmel Valley Village in the Northern edge of the Santa Lucia Range above Carmel River. The landscape is rugged mixed evergreen and chaparral mountain slopes with upland grassland meadows, lowland live oak stands, and riparian terraces. There is approximately 1 mile of Carmel River frontage along the park’s southwest boundary. There are views of the Los Padres National Forest to the South and of San Clemente Reservoir to the north. The park represents pristine interior valley land that is unchanged since before native Esselen people first inhabited the area several thousands of years ago.
There is a single dirt access road behind a locked Park District gate that connects Cachagua County Road with the interior of the park. There are currently no internal trails but there are opportunities to construct internal trails that could provide expansive views of the surrounding Santa Lucia Range and access to a sandy beach area along the Carmel River. The park surrounds a private 18-acre in-holding cabin site retained by the sellers that will be closed to public access when the park is eventually opened.
The 1,050-acre park was acquired by The Park District in 2003. The 80-acre Miller property was purchased with funding assistance from the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation. The larger 970-acre Los Compadres property was acquired through a generous donation from a group of conservation-minded individuals. This property was once part of a larger land-holding of the Pebble Beach Company that had acquired the land around San Clemente Reservoir as a secure source of water for its peninsula developments.
The acquisition of San Clemente Open Space represents another milestone in the 30-year ongoing vision of The Park District to create a greenbelt parkway along the southern Carmel Valley from Mid-Valley to Cachagua with connecting access corridors to the Ventana Wilderness.