More information about Palo Corona Regional Park can be found here.
The takeaway: Our hike was 6.2 miles total, following the Palo Corona trail to its end at Animas Pond, plus a little bit of wandering around in between. We stopped for a picnic at Inspiration Point, sitting at the picnic table under the big tree. Other than one section with a heart-pumping incline, this is an easy uphill hike with great views of Carmel, Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley. When I applied for a permit, I received a response in less than an hour, though they say you should expect to wait a couple of days. A lot of the trail is exposed to the sun, so wear sunblock.
Oh, and it’s nice to be on a Big Sur-adjacent trail and see very few people.