Every fall and early winter, thousands of Monarch butterflies travel amazing distances from the northern United States and southern Canada to spend the winter at a handful of sites along the California coast. One of these is a grove of eucalyptus and Monterey pines in the little coastal town of Pacific Grove, on Monterey Bay. On a cool day you might mistake the butterflies clustered in the trees for dead leaves, but as sunlight warms them they begin to move and take flight, filling the air with flickers of orange. They mate here, then in spring fly north in search of milkweed plants on which to deposit their eggs. Docents are on hand November through mid-February, noon-3 pm every day except Friday.

Monarch Grove Sanctuary

see access criteria for definitions

  • Trailhead: Just past the Butterfly Grove Inn, look for the small orange sign, “Monarch Grove Sanctuary Entrance.” Follow the easement to the sanctuary.
  • Length: Under one mile total
  • Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
  • Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle
    The slope throughout ranges from 8 to 13% (a typical ramp is 8%)
  • Terrain: Firm
    May be muddy in winter

A short path winds downhill through the grove. Most of the trees are in the upper area, so you can avoid going down the steep section and still get a good view.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

  • Accessible ParkingYes
    Next to the school on Ridge Road
  • Accessible RestroomYes
    At trailhead

Additional Information

  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • Website: Museum
  • Map: See here.
  • Fees: None
  • Dogs: Not allowed
Avatar photo Bonnie Lewkowicz (59 Posts)

I has worked for more than 30 years advocating for, and educating about access to outdoor recreation and tourism for people with disabilities. I hold a degree in Recreation Therapy and was a travel agent specializing in accessible travel for many years. In this capacity, and now as Associate Director at Wheelchair Traveling, I consult with the travel industry about accessibility, conducts disability awareness trainings and writes about travel and outdoor recreation. I also authored a book titled, A Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast, about accessible trails and has produced several access guides to San Francisco. My most current project is a website of accessible trails along the entire California Coast (www.wheelingcalscoast.org). My extensive experience as a wheelchair rider combined with her professional experience has provided me with in-depth knowledge about inclusive tourism and outdoor recreation.

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