Deriving its name from the offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos, Point of the Sea Wolves, where the sound of the sea lions carries inland, the reserve has often been called "the crown jewel of the State Park System." Point Lobos, located three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, has offered many things to millions of people who have visited it over the years. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is outstanding for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, SCUBA diving, and jogging. In addition to the spectacular beauty, nearly every aspect of its resources is of scientific interest. There are rare plant communities, endangered archeological sites, unique geological formations, and incredibly rich flora and fauna of both land and sea. Respect the power of the ocean. Help avoid a disaster and keep at a safe distance. Remain on the designated trails within the wire guides, and stay away from the rocky cliffs. Rock climbing is absolutely prohibited. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve contains headlands, coves and rolling meadows. The offshore area forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world popular with divers. Wildlife includes seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales (from December to May). Thousands of seabirds also make the reserve their home. Hiking trails follow the shoreline and lead to hidden coves. The area used to be the home of a turn-of -the-century whaling and abalone industry. A small cabin built by Chinese fishermen from that era still remains at Whalers Cove and is now a cultural history museum. Reserve is open from 8am to 1/2 hour after sunset. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
Nice easy trail, along the Coastline, with stunning views of the Ocean. Recording started at the Cypress Grove Trailhead, up and around the point. The ocean views are beautiful and awesome. Trail is well travelled and marked off by cables to deter off-trail ventures. No way to get lost on this trail. Watch your step though, as the trail is uneven.
Our route continued along the South Shore Trail back to our parking spot in one of the "lots" overlooking the ocean on Point Lobos St. (automobile road that loops the park).
Parking can be very challenging on weekends and mid-morning to mid-afternoon weekdays. The park frequently limits car access during busy periods which means parking on Highway 1 and walking in a mile to this particular trailhead. Best advice is to come early, or late.
We did the Sand Hill Trail earlier in the day which is an easy but uneven path on mostly decomposed granite and rock. Lots of beach access to tide-pools when the tide is low. Amazing rock formations from years of pounding surf.
We particularly enjoyed the tide pools on the South Shore Trail and the Otter sightings near Coal Chute Point and by the Whaler's Cabin. We missed the Whaler's Knoll, but still felt like we got some great views. There are a lot of strategic bathrooms on the trail which were helpful. We parked outside the park on the shoulders and walked in, since the start of the trail is so close to the entrance. Today, the Sea Lion Point trail was closed due to construction, but we could get to nearly the same area n the Sand Hill Trail.
Kay A. on Point Lobos Loop Trail
Amazing views with a wonderful display variety of G-Ds creative beauty!