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Purple Carpet of Pacific Grove

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Location : Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA.

Parking : Free, roadside

Trail type : Out and Back

Trail Length : 2 miles rt

Elevation Gain : 26 ft

Difficulty : Easy

Trails traversed : Monterey Peninsula Recreation Trail

Dogs Allowed ? Yes

Post Hike Grub Stop : Pavel Backerei, Pacific Grove, CA.

The "Purple Carpet" of Pacific Grove gets its name from the pink and purple ice plants that bloom along Ocean View Avenue from Lovers Point, all the way up to Asilomar State Beach. This "flower show" usually starts in mid April and reaches its peak by mid May, just in time for Mothers Day. So if you are looking for ideas on how to spend Mothers Day, this will be a great trip for the memory books.

Parking : There is plenty of roadside parking near Lovers Point and all along Ocean View Blvd.

When To Go : The best time to see the Purple carpet is in the first and second week of May, when the ice plants bloom is at its peak. Sunset is a great time to capture great photographs of the purple carpet of Ice Plants against a beautiful landscape. However, the flowers open up under the daytime sun and the colors are different and more vibrant then.

History of the flowers : Prior to the 1940s, this area was a poison oak covered ocean bluff. In 1943, an avid gardener and self-styled adventurer, Hayes Perkins, made it his mission to convert this neglected strip of public land into one of the most distinctive horticultural features of the Pacific Coast. The city dedicated Perkins Park, a small area in the midst of the trail, to Hayes Perkins. 80 years later, there are volunteers who regularly maintain the trail to keep Perkins legend alive.

All of this beauty does come at a cost. The ice plant is considered invasive and spreads easily, and has become invasive in coastal California from north of Humboldt County to as far south as Baja California. When it establishes in a location, it forms a large, thick mat that chokes out all other native plants and alters the soil composition of the environment.

The Trail : The Monterey Peninsula Recreation Trail is a 4 mile loop that starts at Lovers Point and goes all the way to Asilomar State Beach. The Purple Carpet is seen only in the first half mile of the trail. The trail itself is pretty flat and runs parallel to Ocean View Blvd. The ice plants growing on either side of the trail, provide a stark contrast to the views of the rugged Monterey Peninsula coastline.

The trial itself is flat and sandy, with benches placed at many vantage points. The path is perfect for walkers, runners and strollers.

The "Pride of Madeira", in shades of blue and magenta, blooms everywhere in Pacific Grove during this time. Along with the purple carpet and the blue ocean, they add to the romance of the area.

A low level "fence" runs around the perimeter of the "purple Carpet" preventing folks, especially selfie seekers from trampling over the ice plants.

I would so love to live in that house.

Purple carpet with the lights of the city of Monterey in the distance.

The ice plants are growing everywhere, even on rocks and cliffs with little or no soil to hold on to.

The rugged Monterey Peninsula coastline at sunset

Post-walk grub stop: I highly recommend the Russian bakery, Pavel's Backerei, in Pacific Grove, for scrumptious, giant-size pastries and coffee or hot chocolate, before or after your walk. Dont be disheartened if you see a long line in front of the store. Each bite of the buttery, flaky pastry is worth the wait. But be warned this bakery is so popular amongst the locals, that they run out of their popular items by noon on weekends. And they take cash only!

If you, like me, decide to check out the "Purple Carpet" at sunset, long after Pavel's is closed, then do check out the numerous small restaurants lining Lighthouse Ave in Pacific Grove.

Here are more pictures of this breathtaking area.

1 commentaire

05 juin 2023

The plants are a non-native succulent with hairy stems and vibrant pinkish-purple flowers that grow about six inches high. They’re part of the ice plant family. It shouldn’t be confused with the invasive ice plant seen throughout much of California.

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