Point Lobos Loop Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length6.7 miElevation gain741 ftRoute typeLoop
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningBeachViewsWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
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Point Lobos Loop Trail takes you on a coastal adventure along the gorgeous Pacific Ocean just miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and a quick drive from San Francisco or Big Sur. Visitors will encounter a variety of environments, flora and fauna from lush Monterey pine and Cypress groves to coastal shrub-covered coastline with ocean views to tide pools along the rocky beaches. Expect to see sea lions, shore birds and all sorts of ocean wildlife. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has a network of well-maintained hiking trails. Highlights along this guided walk include Whalers Cove, Bluefish Cove, Sealion Cove and China Cove. The best time to visit is September, when the summer heat is easing and the coast is less foggy. Park authorities limit the number of cars allowed in Point Lobos, so depending on when you visit, you may leave your car outside the park on Highway 1 and walk in. There are plenty of restrooms and rest spots along this route. There is limited parking and a $10 fee. To learn more about guided walks please visit the Point Lobos Foundation: https://www.pointlobos.org/

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve website http://www.pointlobos.org/

Entrance fees (summer 2010): Passenger cars: $10; vehicle with a senior citizen: $9; disabled discount: $6. If you see a volunteer guide, ask if any migrating whales have been spotted lately. If so, it might be worth your while to park yourself on a patch of dirt and watch for their spouts. Go on a weekday to avoid crowds and park closest to the coastline. Give yourself two and half to three hours if you're driving south from San Francisco. Best way to get there is to take Highway 1 south from Pacifica. From Silicon Valley, take Route 17 south from San Jose and pick up Highway 1 south in Santa Cruz. Watch for poison oak on narrow trails. What to bring: Clothing in layers and a wind-breaker - the breeze coming in off the Pacific is generally strong and cold. Water and snacks (a picnic lunch is even better). Camera Binoculars

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Reviews (1,519)
Photos (4,549)
Activities (1,373)
Completed (4,431)
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Joe Keffer
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Walking

My favorite CA state park & favorite coastal area in general. Lots of wildlife and incredible views.

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Doug Johnston
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HikingGreat!

amazing views!!!

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Alana McGinty
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Hiking

Gorgeous views, easy well marked trail, overall great!

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Ian Nelson
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Hiking

Great trail, some parts were closed off. We needed up not doing the loop provided as we wanted to stay by the water.

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Amanda Willden
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Hiking

Absolutely stunning! One of my favorites. Will definitely be back soon

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Alan Spangler
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HikingGreat!

Very beautiful in spots could be marked a little better. Wonderful how it gave you many aspects from being deep in the forest to enjoying the beautiful ocean

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Tawni Thip
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Hiking

57 degrees but felt wonderful w t-shirt and layering. A trip for all ages. Clean restrooms and good folks, lots of Beach stop to eat your lunch or snack. 6.7 miles or do a half trip ~3.5 through the pace Lichen trail.

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Breanna Esche
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Hiking

Skipped some of the loops due to closure of trails, but overall was a beautiful walk/hike! Lots of baby harbor seals with mommas right now, cormorants, trail lizards and gorgeous views!

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Andrew Ante
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Hiking

Must do !!

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Jamille Lee
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Hiking

Great for all ages. Photo ops galore. Picnic spots, and great weather!

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Gabriela Livengood
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Hiking

Amazing hike! 6+ miles. Kid friendly. Long enough to be a workout, but easy enough for the kids as long as they have plenty of snacks. Finding parking was a little challenging on a Saturday morning, but we found a spot. Tons of parking spots on PCH. Color of the water is absolutely breathtaking!!! Second time doing this hike and I can’t wait to hike it again. Plenty of restrooms throughout the hike. Well marked.

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Vanessa User
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Hiking

Hiked the whole way but wanted to end the recording early to have enough battery to take videos and pictures! Worth the trip

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Kelly Langstaff
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Hiking

Little crowded but pretty

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Harriet Flynn
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Hiking

We saw lots of seals and otters! Sea Lion Point was closed so we didn’t get to see them, but we could hear them.

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Heather Poulliot
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Hiking

Stunning views but completely underestimated how many people would also be on the trail and how far away you’d have to park. Well worth it though

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Jack Bassett
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Hiking

Point Lobos SR is called "the crown jewel of California's state park system" for a reason, and this comprehensive loop shows you why. You'll explore a variety of environments on this loop, from the lush Monterey pine and cypress groves throughout the interior, to the coastal scrub-covered coastline with brilliant ocean views, to the tide pools on Point Lobos' rocky beaches. The views of the Pacific are sublime and this hike is not to be missed if you are in Big Sur or the Monterey area, it is appropriate for anyone who enjoys a long walk. This loop, as it is on AllTrails, has you stopping at every major attraction. You can shorten it to however you want, I'd say going to every beach and every lookout point is a little excessive and possibly repetitive. I would say to pick 3-4 stops/spurs you like. The places you *definitely* have to stop are China Cove/Bird Island (features the famous turquoise water). Cypress Grove and Sea Lion Point. I also enjoyed the tide pools in Weston Beach. That said, I was not as impressed with the attractions on the north side of the park (Whalers Cove, Coal Chute Point and Granite Point) as I was with the remainder of the park, and the Whaler's Knoll trail was so narrow and so packed with poison oak that I was more focused on that than enjoying the scenery. My one true complaint is the development of the park. Far too many roads penetrate the reserve, which makes car noise omnipresent for the good majority of the hike, especially the closer you get towards the 1. This area is no Lost Coast Trail, and you'll find nothing remotely resembling wilderness or solitude, if that is what you're after.

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Jessica Woodruff
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Hiking

Amazing. Plenty of bathrooms! Lots of poison oak! Plenty of rest spots. Simply beautiful!

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Simon Donovan
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Hiking

great loop with options to shorten

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Grant Kendall-Bell
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Hiking

Awesome! This is now is my top ten hikes ever! Really incredible views and lots of wildlife to see.

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Anna Ochoa
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful views! Loved it

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Gennie Hill
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Hiking

Definitely a must do when you’re in Carmel. Start on south plateau trail! You’ll see Gibson beach first and you’ll continue to some of the best views!

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jennifer kim
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Hiking

best trail i have ever been on. so beautiful and tons of ocean views. parking is plentiful on highway 1.

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Jesus Ramirez
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HikingGreat!

Has different great views with exotic wildlife.

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El Ivan
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Hiking

5 stars only because I couldn’t give it 6! Definitely recommend everyone to check it out worth every second

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Kristjan Eerik Kaseniit
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Ray Molina Jr.
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Hiking

Excellent hike

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Jason Holley
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Hiking
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Lovelyyeong L
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Hiking
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kent geller
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Hiking

Do not miss taking this trail. Awesome

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A Dollinger
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HikingGreat!

simply gorgeous. suggest going early to avoid crowds. bring binoculars! I regretted not having a pair. I parked in the park for a few but wished I had parked on the road since I was walking the entire park. bring a few layers since the wind can get a bit chilly.

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