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Marina State Beach

Dune Nature Trail

Nature trail with return via beach is 0.6 mile round trip

Providing a dramatic backdrop to Marina State Beach are some of the central coast’s tallest dunes, handsomely shaped sand mounds that are habitat for a number of plants and animals. Rare native flowers such as Monterey paintbrush and the coast wallflower brighten the dunes, where the black legless lizard and the ornate shrew skitter about. These dune creatures and their habitat are threatened by the encroachment of nonnative iceplant and, of course, human developments.

Marina State Beach is popular with hanglider enthusiasts and with locals who flock to the shore at day’s end to watch the often colorful sunsets.

Dune Nature Trail, a 0.3 mile interpretive pathway, explores the dune ecosystem. The trail is mostly a wooden boardwalk linked with “sand ladders.” Signs identifying the flora and a great view of the Monterey Peninsula add to the walk’s enjoyment.

Ambitious walkers can walk the shoreline 3.5 miles north to Salinas River Wildlife Refuge.

Directions to trailhead: From Highway 1 in Marina, exit on Reservation Road and drive west 0.25 mile to the Marina State Beach parking lot.

© 2012 The Trailmaster, Inc.
From John McKinney’s
Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author.  To learn more about The Trailmaster and other related publications please visit their website at