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Diane's Trail at Gould Farm - Where History and Tranquility Converge


Photo courtesy of Megan McClure, staff member at Gould Farm.

Winding through the beautiful Monterey landscape is a meandering public trail that offers a peaceful and shaded escape into nature. This 1.5-mile trail, called Diane's Trail, is a must-visit Monterey gem. Appropriate for families and people with dogs (please keep them leashed), much of the trail follows the contours of Rawson Brook, then passes under towering pine trees and offers a few places to sit and enjoy the quiet, including a picnic table. The iconic round bridge at the start of the trail was designed and built with much help by local, Jon Greene.


Diane's Trail is named in memory of Diane Rausch, the late wife of long-time Gould Farm forestry and grounds staff person, Bob Rausch. Diane worked as a nurse for many years at Gould Farm and passed away in 1992. Bob has now dedicated over 40 years of his life to Gould Farm and is one of the main reasons our forests and wetlands are so well cared for. Diane loved to hike in the Gould Farm woods and in the area along Rawson Brook. Diane’s Trail stands as a tribute to her life as a healer and her love of the outdoors.


Diane's Trail is also connected to a rich history that is deeply intertwined with the 110-year Gould Farm history and our 700 acres of forest, fields, and wetlands.


The Gould family founded Gould Farm in the early 1900s with a mission to assist others in regaining their sense of purpose in the face of significant mental and emotional challenges. Tragically, William Gould died of a heart attack in 1925 while fighting a brush fire that broke out on the Farm. His wife, Agnes, continued their work and dedicated her remaining decades to their mission of helping folks in need.


Benton MacKaye and his love of the forests of Gould Farm

Hazel MacKaye (L) and Benton MacKaye (R) c. 1927 at Gould Farm.. Photo courtesy of the Gould Farm archives.

During Agnes’s time running Gould Farm, another influential figure emerged: Benton MacKaye, the father of the Appalachian Trail. MacKaye's sister Hazel was a guest at the farm in 1927 after suffering a “nervous breakdown”. She stayed on into the 1940s and, during her time there, Benton was a frequent visitor. On walks with his sister, he not only came to appreciate the healing nature of the Farm's forest and natural setting but also wanted to help protect and steward it for generations to come.


MacKaye assisted Agnes Gould in the management of the Farm's forestland. MacKaye emphasized the forest's value to the Gould mission, calling our therapeutic approach "forest mindedness." He said, “Gould Farm is no mere ‘charity’; it is a potent social force.” He believed that anyone suffering from what he called "the problem of living" could not be cured solely by treatment, but that immersion in the natural world should also play a significant role.


The public is welcome!

Photo courtesy of Natana Roots, Gould Farm staff member.

As you walk along Diane's Trail today, you can feel the spirit of the Gould family, the influence of Benton Mackaye, and the care of Bob Rausch and the many, many hands who built and then maintained the trail over the years. Diane’s Trail is one of many examples at Gould Farm where the saying, “Many hands make light work” can be easily applied. The forest canopy is intact, and the best trees have been allowed to grow to their climax in old age, creating a thriving ecosystem for otters, beavers, deer, and birds.


This is an environment of calm amidst a confusing world, a place where visitors can reconnect with nature and one another. We hope you visit! This unique wetland habitat is accessible via a marked parking area along Curtis Road in Monterey and can also be located by plotting a course in Google Maps using the keywords, “Diane’s Trail Parking”.


Diane's Trail Photo Gallery

Photos courtesy of Megan McClure and Andres Barrera, Gould Farm staff members.


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