What’s the Story Behind the Carmel River?

We’re beginning a new content series where we discuss trending topics along the Monterey Peninsula. Lately we’ve been learning so much about the Carmel River, and we wanted to share.

Back in the Day

IN THE EARLY 1880S, CHARLES CROCKER OPENED THE DEL MONTE HOTEL in Monterey, the first major development on the Monterey Peninsula. After drilling several dry wells nearby, Crocker determined the only water source available was the Carmel River.

In 1882 Crocker had his Chinese laborers complete the “Chinese Dam” at the site of the future San Clemente Dam. Twenty five miles of pipeline brought water to the guests at this world famous gathering of the rich and famous.

Since the 1880s, the Carmel River has been the water source for the growth of all towns and developments on the Monterey Peninsula.

Carmel River | Del Monte Hotel

“The Carmel is a lovely little river. It isn’t very long but in its course it has everything a river should have.” – John Steinbeck, Cannery Row 1945

Tip o’ the Month! Time to plant culinary herbs such as chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme in a sunny part of the garden! 

Nature Walk

CARMEL RIVER BEACH is one of the most picturesque walks along the river where the waters join Carmel Bay. The river and lagoon are wonderful habitats for water fowl and birder’s paradise. For eons steelhead have left the ocean to swim upstream to the spawning grounds in the distant wilderness areas.
Carmel River Nature Walk

Where Am I?

A POINT OF VIEW. There is no more inspiring location to fly fish, with the ocean breaking on your right, and the peaceful lagoon and Carmel River to your left. Here’s a link to a video on local fly fishing.

Quick Facts

  1. January of 1603, the Carmel River was named Rio del Carmelo by Sebastian Vizcaino
  2. 36 miles long, 200 square mile watershed
  3. 1882 – Charles Crocker builds first dam, water piped to Old Del Monte Hotel
  4. 2015 – San Clemente Dam removal project completed

Lupine in Carmel