17 Mile Drive and the Lone Cypress
The 17 Mile Drive that passes through Pebble Beach is a lovely scenic drive around this portion of the Monterey peninsula. Viewpoints, picnic areas, world-renowned golf courses and luxurious resorts are among the sights you’ll see. The most famous sight is the Lone Cypress featured here.
The Lone Cypress at sunset on the 17 Mile Drive
photo by: Eje Gustafsson (view original here)
The “lone cypress” found on the Seventeen Mile Drive through Pebble Beach is perhaps one of the great icons of Central California. It distills the great beauty of this area into a single tree and draws visitors from all over the world. There is much more to the Drive than just this cypress, but it is so enchanting in any weather, that I decided just to focus on great photos of this sight to stand in for the entire drive. I’ve also put together a video of the photos on this page with some great music I found to enhance your experience.
As this board along the Seventeen Mile Drive points out, the cypress here has stood for over 250 years. That puts it as a seedling just about the time of the founding of the nearby Carmel Mission.
A 1902 photo of the lone cypress
This early photograph of the point shows little change over the last 111 years.
The Seventeen mile drive is exactly that distance, but its route has changed slightly over the years. There are five entrances to the drive and it is a toll road. The charge per vehicle is $9.75; bicycles are free and motorcycles are prohibited.
I’ll not give you the particulars of where you might enter the drive as it is well marked throughout the area. There is even an entrance to the 17 mile drive off highway 1.
The most used entrance is accessed from Pacific Grove.
There are red line on the route so that you can stay on course and not wander into the Pebble Beach residential areas.
There is ample parking at the viewpoints, especially at this one for the lone cypress.
Some picnic areas are available as well as places to walk along the beaches here.
If you drove straight through, you could reach Carmel in a matter or minutes, but you’ll not be using this as a short cut.
It’s not backroad driving at all, just be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.
On some of these photos, such as this one to the right, you’ll notice streaks of red on part of the ocean. What you’re seeing here are the famous California kelp beds which provide habitat for numerous aquatic creatures.
This kelp anchors to the sea floor, has little floats to hold itself upright toward the sun, and can grow to over 50 feet tall at more than a foot per day!
If you walk along the beaches where there are kelp beds, you can see some of them that have broken off and washed ashore, especially after storms.
Enjoy your trip on the 17 mile drive!