Best trails in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California

3,037 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California? AllTrails has 10 great hiking trails, wildlife trails, walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 7 easy trails in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve ranging from 0.8 to 2.9 miles and from 26 to 124 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

Point Lobos State Reserve, three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, is a great place for sightseeing, scuba diving, trail running, and viewing geological sites, plants, and animals like harbor seals, sea lions, seabirds, gray whales, and sea otters. There are no pets, bikes, fires, rock climbing, or camping allowed. The reserve has sometimes been called "the crown jewel" of the state park system due to the headlands, view of Monterey Bay and the pacific, coves, meadows, hiking trails follow the shoreline and lead to hidden coves. The area also has historical significance as a hun of the turn-of -the-century whaling and abalone industry. A small cabin built by Chinese fishermen at Whalers Cove is now a cultural history museum you can visit. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.

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Map of trails in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California
Park information
Park hours
Monday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Contact
831-624-4909
Helpful links
Top trails (10)
#1 - Point Lobos Loop Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1297)
Length: 6.7 mi • Est. 3 h 12 m
There is limited parking and a $10 fee. Part of the Sea Lion trail has been reported closed: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=571 Sea lions, shore birds and more share this gorgeous chunk of Pacific Coast south of Carmel, California You can cram all the charms of California's amazing coastline into one stop at Point Lobos State Reserve, about 100 miles south of San Francisco. It's all there at Point Lobos: crashing waves, barking sea lions, chattering shorebirds, sun-bathing sea otters, remarkable rock formations. Granted, you get a few nibbles of this anywhere along California Highway 1, but why not save your appetite for the whole feast? Point Lobos has a network of well-maintained trails, but it's not really a hiking destination. Better to just find a place to park, find a trail, walk toward the sound of the ocean and enjoy the scenery. Best time to go: September, when the summer heat is easing and the coast is less foggy. The rest of the year will do, however. Park authorities limit the number of cars allowed in Point Lobos, so you might have to leave the car outside the park on Highway 1 and walk in. This'll add about two miles of walking to your outing.Show more
#2 - Point Lobos South Shore Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(407)
Length: 2.5 mi • Est. 1 h 6 m
There is a $10 fee for cars and free parking along the rode on specific spots. Pay attention to the signs. The along the tide parking does have signs (no parking any time) in specific areas.Show more
#3 - South Plateau Trail to Bird Island
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(342)
Length: 1.6 mi • Est. 49 m
#4 - Cypress Grove Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(235)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 22 m
A nice loop through the cypress trees to many great views of coves below. This short loop is a favorite among park visitors because it offers great views and a close look at the area's famous Cypress trees, which naturally grow in only one other place in the world: Carmel Bay. The hike is relatively flat with views of headland cove, pinnacle cove, and cypress cove with two very short trails to get closer to the views. On a clear day you can see sea lions on sea lion rock and even the other side of Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz.Show more
#5 - Cypress Grove Trail via South Shore Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(191)
Length: 1.7 mi • Est. 46 m
Please note that the southern plateau has been reported closed making it so that you can't complete this loop.Show more
#6 - Sea Lion Point Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(176)
Length: 0.4 mi • Est. 10 m
Note: Users have reported that the right side of the loop is closed but the left half of the trail that connects to south shore trail and leads to the top is open. The staircase at the Sea Lion Point Trail leading to the lower trails is sometimes closed during winter storms. Accessibility: There are two designated, handicapped-accessible parking spaces in the Sea Lion Point parking lot. You can connect via the upper section to the Sand Hill trail to make an accessible loop, although the lower portion is not considered accessible due to stairs (which are also required to reach the beach below). The trail surface is packed dirt and it is typically at least five feet wide. It is flat with an average grade of 1% and a max grade of 3%.Show more
#7 - Lace Lichen, North Shore, and Cannery Point Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(136)
Length: 2.9 mi • Est. 1 h 19 m
#8 - Bird Island Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(125)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 22 m
#9 - Bird Island, South Plateau Trail, and Mound Meadow Trail Loop
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(42)
Length: 1.9 mi • Est. 53 m
#10 - Moss Cove Trail
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(33)
Length: 2.8 mi • Est. 1 h 15 m