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.
Early morning drive from Salinas on this cool and cloudy morning. I Started out at Whalers Cove Parking Lot and made my way along North Shore Trail which had amazing ocean views of Monterey Bay before connecting to the Cypress Grove Trail through the Allan Memorial Grove. From here, I connected to the Sea Lion Point Trail and Sand Hill Trail before going as far south as Weston Beach on the South Shore Trail. Backtracking up on South Shore Trail, I headed inland along Lace Lichen Trail to make my way back to my car at Whalers Cove.