The 17 Mile Drive, which winds its way beside one of California’s most stunning stretches of coastline, from Pacific Grove to Carmel-by-the-Sea, has to be one of the most breathtakingly spectacular natural spots in the world. The foaming Pacific Ocean sweeps in its curling breakers, in a seemingly endless stream of white crested rollers which crash onto the sandy outcrops or swirl up against the rocks. The air is heavily perfumed with sea water and the fragrance of pines and cypress. Overhead a symphony of screeching bird life hovers in the thermals. The yellows, greens and pinks of the coastal foliage splash their colour along the shoreline and on a day when the world is dazzled by the sun’s brilliance under a periwinkle sky, I doubt there could there be a more beautifully dramatic spot.

17 Mile Drive near Carmel California

We explored this piece of heaven on earth on our bicycles, soaking in its beguiling atmosphere as we furiously pedaled up and over the slopes gasping on every corner, not for breath but in wonder at nature’s magnificence.
Cycling 17 Mile Drive Carmel, California

There is a mesmerizing allure about watching the waves as they rise up out of the ocean seemingly growing in stature and power as they curl forward in a never ending powerful procession.
Foaming ocean of 17 Mile Drive, near Carmel California
The Pacific Ocean, 17 Mile Drive CaliforniaThe Pacific Ocean, 17 Mile Drive California

Some how you can never quite be prepared for the view of the 200 year old world famous Lone Cypress Tree which steals your breath away so swiftly you have to stop and simply marvel. The curving headland fades behind in the background as puffs of low cloud hang to it mysteriously. From when this spot was first discovered in 1542, by the exploreer Cabrillo, people have wondered at different times of the year whether they were seeing clouds or snow. Cabrillo called this point Cabo de Nieve, Cape of Snow to describe the mostly white landscape he saw before him.
View of the Lone Cypress on 17 Mile Drive, California

In 1774, Tomas de Pena, the founder of many of California’s beautiful Missions, renamed this most westerly point on the Monterey Peninsular ‘La Punta de Cipreses’, Cypress Point, as it is still named today.
The Lone Cypress on 17 Mile Drive, California

Looking out beyond the Lone Cypress at the vastness of the Pacific Ocean the endless rolling blue of water stretches far into the horizon until it seems to meet up with the sky.
Pacific Ocean by the Lone Cypress on 17 Mile Drive, California

The wonders of the micro climates of this area never fail to surprise. On our return merely 30 minutes later the very same stretch of coastline is now shrouded in a blanket of fog.
Fog on 17 Mile Drive, California

A ghostly quality has descended and it is hard to believe that you haven’t somehow stepped into a different day or even a different season. The world has been transformed as a swirling, chilling mist closes around us. Somehow it just adds to the wonder and mystery of this area, the stunning 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsular in California.
17 Mile Drive, California in the fog

Download the Carmel-by-the-Sea PDF Travel Guide~ my suggestions where to stay, eat and play!