Lobos is the product
of complex geology. Blocks of earth from three
miles deep, and parts of the Sierra Nevada
mountains and some Pacific islands off southern
Mexico collided here. The sparkling granite cliffs
that came from deep beneath the sea, emerged as
molten lava and cooled very slowly. Here the unique
geology cleanses the sea. A great progression of
change is evident in the meadows and coves
throughout Point Lobos.
This is another world, and it seems that each
step brings a hiker to yet another visual
In the more than 750 acres of Point Lobos State
Reserve, there are 14 trails covering 6 miles.
The hikes along the coast are stunningly
beautiful...along ledges through ancient cypress
overlooking storybook coves...
unto headlands lavished in rare flora and staged
with great birds.
The hikes inland into meadows and forests are
more subtle and yet filled with intense nature.
An excellent trail map and description is
available at the Ranger Station at the entrance to
the Reserve. There's a fee for vehicles - but no
fee to bicycle or to walk in.
Cars cannot enter if 110 are already in the
reserve, but more will be let in as those earlier
cars leave. That situation can often happen early
when the weather is nice.
Point Lobos State Reserve opens at 9:00 am and
closes at sunset. Bring binoculars and a camera.
Whatever number of rolls of film or digital memory
cards that you plan to bring, you should at least
double that number, as there are far more
photography opportunities than you can imagine.
North Shore Trail
Along the Carmel Bay, starting at Whaler's
Cove, this trail quickly ascends to great views of
isolated beaches filled with steller seals (Lobos
marinos - the name given to the sea lions by the
Spanish). On this very gratifying 1.5-mile hike,
you'll see tantalizing sights of offshore rock
islands, ancient trees, nesting sea birds.
Note: Be sure to visit the Whaling
Museum at Whaler's Cove - it includes a lot of
movie memorabilia from films made here.
Sea Lion Point Trail
A half-mile trail to incredible ocean views and
a good look at the reserve's plant communities and
geology. Wheelchair accessible.
South Shore Trail - 3 mile easy loop trail
crosses a rocky area to a bluff where you can
see Bird Island. It passes two idyllic, sandy
beaches accessed by wooden stairs.
Bird Island Trail
A 3.5-mile loop trail to sea otters and birds.
It includes a loop trail down to Gibson Beach and
Cypress Grove Trail
1 mile easy loop trail
On this trail, you can hike to the Allan
Memorial Grove. This magnificent grove of Monterey
Cypress -- one of only two natural groves remaining
in the world -- is a tribute to the Allan family
which worked diligently to buy lots of the proposed
subdivision so the grove could be saved.