Located approximately two hours by car southeast of Carmel, California, the only vehicle access to Tassajara is via a 14-mile dirt road. This winding, mountain road takes an hour to drive and cannot be safely navigated by all cars, especially some with automatic transmissions. (See a video of the road on our YouTube page.)
To see Tassajara with Google Earth, use coordinates 36.2337°,-121.5501°.
The closest airports are Monterey (2 hrs.), San Jose (3-4 hrs.), and San Francisco (4-5 hrs.). Please allow ample time for travel and stage connections into Tassajara.
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is accessible only from Tassajara Road. Tassajara Road is paved until Jamesburg, located at 39171 Tassajara Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924. From Jamesburg, you can take the Stage (see below) or continue driving into Tassajara.
There are a couple of options if traveling from north of Tassajara. The first option, which is longer but less complicated, is to take Hwy 101 South and take the Hwy 156/Monterey Peninsula exit at Prunedale. Follow Hwy 156 to Hwy 1 South. From Hwy 1, turn left at Carmel Valley Road. From Carmel Valley Road, after approximately 23 miles, you will turn right onto Tassajara Road. Follow Tassajara Road for approximately 3 miles to arrive at Jamesburg.
The second option is shorter but requires taking local roads through Salinas to connect to Hwy CA-68 West. Take Hwy 101 South and exit at North Main Street/California 183. Continue on N Main Street, then continue straight onto Salinas Street. Turn left on John Street, and then take the first right onto CA-68 W/S Main St. After approximately 10 miles, turn left onto G20 (Laureles Grade) and stay on Laureles Grade for approximately 6 miles until Carmel Valley Road. Turn left onto Carmel Valley Road, and after approximately 14 miles, turn right on Tassajara Road. Follow Tassajara Road for approximately 3 miles to arrive at Jamesburg.
From the south, take Hwy 101 north to Greenfield. Turn left onto G16 (Elm Avenue). Turn left at E. Carmel Valley Rd/G16/Jamesburg-Arroyo Seco Rd., go about 29 miles until you reach Tassajara Road on your left. Turn left onto Tassajara Road, and follow it for approximately 3 miles to arrive at Jamesburg.
The last 14 miles of the journey to Tassajara consists of a winding dirt road with sheer drop-offs and a steep, narrow descent over the last five miles. (See a video of the road on our YouTube page.) Cars with automatic transmission must be equipped with manual low gear (marked 1 and 2) in order to be safe and avoid over-heating the brakes. Those who drive SUVs should activate the four-wheel drive and all drivers should travel at 15 mph or less (slower on the steeper portions). Four-wheel-drive or standard transmission is recommended. We urge you to observe the following precautions if you choose to drive this road:
- Make sure your car is in good working order, paying special attention to brakes, fuel, and cooling system. Fuel and repair services are not available at Tassajara or Jamesburg. The last gas stations are at Carmel Valley and Greenfield.
- Travel during the cooler hours of the day if possible to avoid overheating the engine.
- As you begin your descent over the last five miles, shift into the lowest possible gear and PUMP your brakes as needed. DO NOT apply steady pressure to your brakes or they will overheat.
- If your brakes begin to overheat or feel mushy, pull over immediately and allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes before continuing.
Taking the Stage
Guests: If this is your first visit to Tassajara, you may wish to consider taking the Stage, which is an eight-passenger shuttle that leaves from Jamesburg, where the paved road ends. The Tassajara-bound Stage boards at 10:15am and departs Jamesburg at 10:30am daily. If there is high enough demand, we will also offer an afternoon Stage, boarding at 1:15pm. The round trip fare is $57 per person. The Stage usually departs Tassajara at 3pm. (Occasionally, we may have to run the stage at different times.) Reservations are required, and the Stage is available only for overnight guests.Google Maps Driving Directions to Jamesburg/Stage
Google Maps Driving Directions to Tassajara
Students: Stage reservations are not available for students. Please contact staff at Jamesburg (firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-659-2229) for more information.
Rideshare BoardClick here for information about carpooling to Tassajara.
By Public Transportation
Getting to Tassajara by public transportation requires special coordination as there is no public transit service that goes directly to Tassajara. There are many public transit options to the nearby towns of Monterey and Carmel Valley (still over an hour away) from San Francisco, Oakland, or Salinas, and some routes are detailed below. From there, you would need to connect with another guest using our Rideshare Board .
If you arrive late and need to spend a night in Monterey, there are many motels and hotels in the area. One less expensive option is the HI-Monterey Hostel, which has dorm beds. The hostel is at 778 Hawthorne St., which is close to downtown Monterey. Call (831) 649-0375 or go to www.montereyhostel.org for more information.
From Oakland to Salinas by Train: There is an Amtrak train that goes from Oakland to Salinas with a bus connection to Monterey.
From the SFO or SJC to Monterey by Bus: The simplest and most convenient way to get to Monterey is to take the Monterey Shuttle from San Francisco Airport to the Monterey Transit Plaza ($40). There are several services daily. You can book a seat at www.montereyshuttle.com or (831)373-7777.
From the Bay Area to Salinas by Bus: There is one Greyhound Bus service available from the Bay Area to Salinas: from SF at 6:30am, Oakland at 7am, and San Jose at 7:30am.There are several Amtrak coaches from San Francisco to Salinas. The latest that allows enough time to connect with the town-trip leaves the Ferry Building at 10:05am.
Each of these options arrive at the Amtrak Station in Salinas and leaves just a short walk to the Salinas Transit Center.
From Salinas to Monterey by Bus: The MST Line 20 leaves from the Salinas Transit Center every half-hour and arrives at the Monterey Transit Plaza after approximately 50 minutes of travel. The 1:15 bus is the last bus that will allow enough time to meet up with the town-trip. However, this gives only a 10-minute grace period to catch the Line 24 to Carmel Rancho (if meeting the town-trip).
From the Monterey Airport to the Monterey Transit Plaza by Bus: If you fly into the Monterey Airport or drop a rental car there, you may take the DART minibus to the Transit Plaza. This is a custom service which you must call at least one hour before you wish to leave the airport: 1-866-663-3278.
From Monterey to Carmel Rancho and Carmel Valley Bus: The MST Line 24 (Carmel Valley Grapevine Express) departs from the Monterey Transit Plaza once an hour and goes into Carmel Valley. It takes 20 minutes to get to Carmel Rancho, 30 minutes to Mid-Valley, and 40 minutes to Carmel Valley.
Greyhound www.greyhound.com 1-800-231-2222
Monterey Shuttle www.montereyshuttle.com 1-831-373-7777
Monterey Salinas Transit www.mst.org 1-888-678-2871
Monterey Hostel www.montereyhostel.org 1-831-649-0375