The following entry is typical of the more than 2700 entries in Monterey County Place Names. This is one of the several "Corral de Tierra" entries. The area was the setting for Steinbeck's "The Pastures of Heaven." References and abbreviations are explained in How to...

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Corral de Tierra Valley This valley begins in the NWQ Sec.16 T16S R3E. In a sense it forms a great crescent from the slopes of Mount Toro as it swerves S, SW, W, NW and finally N to open onto the upper reaches of El Toro Valley near the intersection of Corral de Tierra Road and the Monterey-Salinas Highway (Highway 68). The valley was the setting for John Steinbeck’s first short-story sequence, "The Pastures of Heaven." The opening scene is set at "some time around 1776." One of the soldiers assigned to Mission Carmel accidentally stumbles onto a superb view.


In a few minutes he arrived at the top of the ridge, and there he stopped, stricken with wonder at what he saw — a long valley floored with green pasturage on which a herd of deer browsed. Perfect live oaks grew in the meadows of the lovely place, and the hills hugged it jealously against the fog and the wind.…

 "Holy Mother! he whispered. "Here are the green pastures of Heaven to which our Lord leadeth us."  

The valley was named for the rancho through which it trends, Rancho Corral de Tierra. Turn to that entry for a full explanation of the origin of the name.

Ref: Deed Book D January 4, 1859:61 as Arroyo of the Corral de Tierra; Writers’ 1946:167; Steinbeck 1932:2; Cox 1975:52; Pearson 1984:10; Wyatt 1986:135-137

Map: 1984SPR as Corral de Tierra Valley; Cox 1975:40 as Corral de Tierra; Pearson 1984:map E as Corral de Tierra Estates; Orr 1964:40 as Corral de Tierra Valley and Corral de Tierra Creek; 1986JOH as Pastures of Heaven: Corral De Tierra