Fort Ord National Monument A True Gem Of Monterey County

Fort Ord National Monument
In July of 2012 President Barack Obama designated Fort Ord as a National Monument. For the hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders who have been coming to Fort Ord and using this open space to enjoy nature almost since the moment the base closed  this is a wonderful thing. It protects this open space forever. Parts of the old Fort Ord will be developed however and it's nice to know that there are these open spaces that will remain open to enjoy your pastimes. So the most notable changes since Fort Ord became a national Monument is the signage and the new trail heads with parking facilities and bathrooms at hwy 68 which is much like the trail head at Creekside Terrace. Other than more construction to help more people gain access and improved trail maps that are in color instead of the old ones that were hand drawn, for the average user there is not much change. However at the Hwy. 68 trail head I have noticed a sizable uptick in the amount of traffic most notably cyclists which is a good and a bad thing. It's nice to see more people cycling but when it was just a dirt lot there were always only a few cars cyclists. Now when I say I am seeing more traffic you can still get away and be all by yourself. Fort Ord has so many trails and different riding areas that it's easy to spend a few hours and not see anyone else if you don't want to. 
Fort Ord sign by Conservation Lands Foundation 
Fort Ord Trail Map

There are always trail maps at all trail heads but it's always nice to just print one out and put it in your pack just in case you should get lost. 

How to Enter Fort Ord National Monument
The main trail heads of Fort Ord National Monument are Creekside Terrace off of Hwy 68 and Reservation Rd. Then there is the Hwy 68 entrance with all new bathroom facilities and a new parking area for cars and horse trailers. This side is probably the best to go if you have very small children on bikes simply due to the flatness of the trails and also how wide they are. If you come here with your kids once you enter the trails go to the right and you will go behind the houses in Toro Park and along the edge of Toro Creek. This trail is flat and wide all the way. You will come to a school and then get ready it's a downhill and through the creek and up the other side your kids will love this. If instead of turning right you go left you are headed into some nice uphills that will give you a very good workout.
Laguna Seca Entrance
You can also enter the Fort Ord National Monument at Laguna Seca. This is an area of steeper hills and faster trails but it's very fun. Many of these trails are where they hold the Sea Otter Classic which is coming up soon. So if you are entering the Sea Otter you might want to look at the old trail maps and get out to Fort Ord and practice and this can be the year you place at the Sea Otter Classic. 
From Hwy 1 
You can enter Fort Ord from Hwy one in the Gigling Road and Watkins Gate Road area. This is a really great riding area it seems to go on and on forever and it goes from flat to rolling hills but it will keep you busy with just the sheer amount of trails you can cover out here.

This is the place to go mountain biking if you are coming to the Monterey Area. I highly recommend all of these areas and I personally ride them frequently. 

Whats Your Favorite Trail or Trails on Fort Ord To Ride?

It seems well all have our favorites in Fort Ord what is your favorite trail or group of trails because people are always asking me what trails to go take on Fort Ord what are some that are favorite and some that should also be mentioned  leave you answers in the comments 

What Is The Future For Fort Ord?
The future for Fort Ord was largely sealed on approval by the President to make Fort Ord an National Monument. However many cities still hold right to hundreds of acres of open space and in the past they have tried to do things with this open space such as build a bus facility in an oak woodland when they have areas of Fort Ord that are all ready fully developed. That plan was ultimately stopped however other plans are on the drawing boards for this area such as a Horse Racing Facility on a few hundred acres of open space land. There are groups that are fighting this proposal as well such as the group http://keepfortordwild.org/ If you support keeping Fort Ord as open space and not fully developed then check it out. 

What To Watch Out For At Fort Ord

Okay Fort Ord is an old Military installation and it was a training base so basically the military probably fired millions of rounds of ammunition at this base. Much of these old munitions have been cleared but many hundreds of acres are not clear. Don't worry they are very well marked with signage telling you stay away unexploded ordinance etc. So basically don't pick up anything at Fort Ord that you cannot identify because chances are it could be old ordinance no matter how cool it looks or even if it would look nice on your mantel it could explode. Note now I know this sounds like you will be finding bombs everywhere you look. I have ridden Fort Ord for years and haven't found any unexploded ordnance.

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