Cómo aprovechar al máximo la unidad de 17 millas de Carmel

Carmel, la unidad de 17 millas de California

El 17-Mile Drive es una de esas cosas que todos quieren hacer cuando visitan Carmel y Pebble Beach, pero ¿alguna vez te has preguntado por qué? ¿Qué hizo que este camino sinuoso en particular obtuviera una reputación tan grande?

Aquí está la parte mundana primero: 17-Mile Drive es una carretera que pasa por un vecindario exclusivo. Y tienes que pagar una tarifa de entrada solo para conducir. 

¡Pero qué vecindario te atraviesa! No solo está lleno de hermosas casas, sino que las vistas al océano son estelares. No es de extrañar que sea uno de los recuerdos favoritos de muchos visitantes. Si quieres ver el Ciprés solitario o visitar Pebble Beach, es la única forma de llegar allí.

Sin embargo, a pesar de su gran reputación, para muchos el 17-Mile Drive es una atracción turística de rango medio . El disco alternativo a continuación ofrece vistas igualmente agradables, y no tiene que pagar un centavo por ello. 

Cosas que debe saber sobre la unidad de 17 millas

Pagará una tarifa (por automóvil) para conducir y no se permiten motocicletas. La tarifa por automóvil lo lleva a usted, y obtendrá una guía de manejo que lo acompañará. Las bicicletas pueden entrar gratis si entran por la puerta de Pacific Grove .

Una vez que ingrese a las puertas, encontrará letreros y líneas discontinuas pintadas de rojo en el pavimento para ayudarlo a seguir la ruta. El 17-Mile Drive atraviesa un área boscosa y a lo largo de la costa, pasando por ocho campos de golf, tres hoteles de lujo y el famoso árbol Lone Cypress.

El mapa guía de 17-Mile Drive que obtienes en la puerta te dará una breve descripción de cada punto de interés, o puedes consultar el Mapa de 17-Mile Drive en línea.

Espere tres horas o más durante todo el viaje, especialmente si se detiene para comer o tomar muchas fotografías.

Puede ingresar a 17-Mile Drive a través de cualquiera de las cuatro puertas, donde se detendrá para pagar la tarifa de entrada y recoger un mapa. Los tres puntos de entrada más comunes son la Autopista 1 en la Autopista 68, que es la entrada más conveniente si viene de Monterrey o ya está en la Autopista 1. Para usar la Puerta Pacific Grove, tome Sunset Drive. Desde Carmel, la cabina de peaje está en la avenida San Antonio.

Aprovechar al máximo la unidad de 17 millas

Vista costera en la unidad de 17 millas

The best time to take the 17-Mile Drive is fall or spring. Winter can be rainy and summer morning fog can linger until the afternoon, or even worse, all day. For the best chance of clear skies, go in mid- to late afternoon.

If your plans are flexible and you only want to go if it's a nice day, check the Pebble Beach webcams or call The Inn at Spanish Bay (831-647-7500) and ask.

The Pebble Beach golf course hosts some big golf tournaments, and when they're going on, it's impossible to get in. The U.S. Open Golf Tournament is held at Pebble Beach every year in June and the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is held every February.

The Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival happens in April. The Concours d'Elegance classic auto show in August also draws big crowds, and closes the drive for Concours Sunday (third weekend in August).

The CA Highway 1 entrance is the most frequently used, but there's little to see between it and other entrances. The best way to go is through Pacific Grove entrance and out through Carmel (or vice versa).

Even though it's written on the bottom of the 17-Mile Drive entry fee receipt, no one looks, so it's a little-known fact that you can get a ticket refund if you spend a minimum amount (printed on the receipt) at any of the Pebble Beach Company restaurants along the 17-Mile Drive; they'll deduct the fee from your bill.

Of course, you'll take your camera, but also bring binoculars, especially if you want to get a good look at the birds, sea lions, and sea otters.

Be prepared for the weather. At the same time, it can be 80°F in Monterey and only 65°F at Spanish Bay.

If you want to picnic along the 17-Mile Drive, you'll find a Safeway store at the intersection of CA Highway 1 and Rio Road in Carmel, or try the 5th Avenue Deli (between San Carlos & Dolores) in downtown Carmel. You can also buy picnic goodies along the drive at the Pebble Beach Market next to The Lodge at Pebble Beach.

The best picnic spots are between Point Joe and Seal Rock, and you'll find picnic tables at many stops. Local seagulls roost on the tables when no one is around, so you may want to bring something to spread over the table before you eat.

The 17-Mile Drive is beautiful, but the Pebble Beach Company doesn't have a monopoly on Monterey Peninsula scenery.

If you're just looking for great scenery, try this: Start at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and follow Ocean View Boulevard and Sunset Drive along the water's edge past Asilomar State Beach to CA Highway 68 (which will take you to CA Highway 1).

For a less expensive golf course with views that rival Pebble Beach, try the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course. Here non-residents can play a round for less.

Mejor momento para ir

Inn at Spanish Bay
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If you compare the stops in this guide to the official 17-Mile Drive map, you'll end up confused, so don't even try.

Because there's little of interest to see between the CA Highway 1 gate and Spanish Bay, enter the 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove instead. Follow the directions for the alternative drive above past Asilomar State Beach. Shortly after the road turns inland, you'll see a sign for the 17-Mile Drive entrance.

Beautifully sited next to rolling dunes and in the middle of a Scottish-style links golf course, The Inn at Spanish Bay is a top-notch hotel.

If you enter the 17-Mile Drive through the Pacific Grove gate, the hotel is a good place for a lunch stop. Or even better, reverse this tour and go in through Carmel, ending here just in time to enjoy the bagpiper who signals the close of the golf course every evening, passing right by their outdoor patio.

Cómo aprovechar al máximo su viaje en la unidad de 17 millas

En la playa de la bahía española
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It's called Spanish Bay to honor explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who camped here with his ship's crew in 1769 while exploring the coastline and trying to find the Monterey Bay.

Spanish Bay is the first stop that many visitors make along the 17-Mile Drive, with a big parking lot and a pretty beach. You'll find quite a few picnic tables there, but if you resist the urge to plop down at the first one you see and drive a bit further past China Rock, you'll find some quieter spots.

Alternativas a la unidad de 17 millas

Mar inquieto en la unidad de 17 millas
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Between the sandy beach at Spanish Bay and Point Joe (which is just up the road), the ocean always seems restless. Some say it's because of ocean currents coming close to shore or submerged rocks, but you don't have to know the 'why' to enjoy the result. The ocean's constant motion brings food to the local marine life, and a large kelp forest grows in calmer waters near the shore.

Parada # 1 : The Inn at Spanish Bay

Point Joe en la unidad de 17 millas
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When European explorers first came to this part of the California coast, they often mistook Spanish Bay for the Monterey Bay, its bigger counterpart to the north, and many of them met disaster on the rocks as they tried to make their way to shore.

Ships that wrecked here include the iron-hulled St. Paul which crashed on a foggy night in 1896, then hung onto the rocks for three months before sinking, and the steamer Celia which got lost in the fog and wrecked in 1906. Both crews and the St. Paul's livestock cargo were rescued, but the Celia's load of lumber was lost.

Stop # 2: Spanish Bay

 Bird Rock en el 17-Mile Drive
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It's pretty obvious which rock along the coast is bird rock because of all the white stuff they deposit on it. On a typical day, you'll see Brandt's cormorants, pelicans, and California sea lions sharing the rock, and a harbor seal or two hanging out near the waterline. Sea otters float in the kelp beds and you might spot a sea lion having a noisy territorial dispute with a cormorant.

In case you wonder why the cormorants sit in such awkward-looking positions, there's a simple explanation. Unlike other seabirds that have waterproof feathers, the cormorant has to dry out between dives, stretching its wings in odd-looking directions to catch the sun.

The only restroom along the 17-Mile Drive is at Bird Rock.

Stop # 3: Mar inquieto

Harbor Seals at Cypress Point Lookout
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Fanshell Overlook and Cypress Point Lookout are favored spots for mother harbor seals to deliver their babies. During pupping season (April 1 to June 1), both overlooks are closed to give the little ones and their mothers some much-needed quiet.

Stop # 4: Point Joe

Vista desde el Cypress Point Lookout
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The Monterey Cypress is a rare tree that grows only here and at Point Lobos just south of Carmel. The largest can grow to be 70 feet tall, and the oldest live about 300 years.

Just past Fanshell Overlook, the 17-Mile Drive enters the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees, which you can see in the distance from this favorite vista point.

Nearby in Crocker Grove is the largest of all Monterey cypress trees, named for Charles Crocker, who established the 17-Mile Drive in 1881. 

Stop # 5: Bird Rock

The Lone Cypress en el 17-Mile Drive
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The so-called Lone Cypress isn't entirely alone, but it is very prettily situated. Its outline is so iconic that the Pebble Beach Company adopted it as their logo. To protect the more than 250-year-old tree from overzealous visitors, access to the point it sits on is prohibited. With all of that care, they hope it will live to be 300 years old. 

Oddly, the most popular stop on the 17-Mile Drive also has the fewest places to park. You may need to exercise some patience while waiting for a space to open up.

Stop # 6: Harbor Seals

Ghost Tree en el 17-Mile Drive
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This Monterey cypress tree gave up the ghost (pun intended) some time ago, and the elements have bleached its trunk white over time. People like the way it looks so much that they've built a wall around its roots to keep it in place. The orange-colored stuff on the rocks is called lichen.

Stop # 7: Cypress Point Lookout

Vista desde el lobby, Lodge en Pebble Beach
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The Lodge at Pebble Beach is home to the Pebble Beach Golf Links and is a fine place to stay if it fits into your budget. Even if you don't plan to spend the night, its public areas are open to everyone, and you'll find a few charming shops to putter around in.

Shortly after you pass the Lodge, you'll see signs for the Carmel exit. Take that and not only will you avoid any backups at Highway 1, but you'll end up in scenic downtown Carmel.

Stop # 8: The Lone Cypress

Mapa de la unidad de 17 millas
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The map above shows the 17-Mile Drive route, entrances, and points of interest - and where it is located with respect to the area towns. Click on it to see a slightly larger version or more details and directions go to the interactive 17-Mile Drive Map.

Stop # 9: Ghost Tree

Stop # 10: Lodge at Pebble Beach

17-Mile Drive Map