the more than 750 acres of Point Lobos State Reserve,
there are 14 trails covering 6 miles. This is another
world, and it seems that each step brings a hiker to
yet another visual wonder.
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…And the
hikes inland into meadows and forests are more subtle
and 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. No fee to bicycle or to
walk in. And cars cannot enter after 110 of them come
in. That can happen early when the weather is
Point Lobos State Reserve opens at 9 am, and closes
at sunset. Bring binoculars and a camera. Whatever
number of rolls of film you plan to bring, you should
at least double that number, as there are far more
photography opportunities than you can imagine.
The Sea Lion Point Trail is a certified wheelchair
accessible trail. It starts at the Cypress Grove
“When I first became a docent in 1981, I’d see
people in wheelchairs come to the park, and I wanted
to tell them, ‘This is the most beautiful place on
Earth, but you won’t be able to see it,” docent Reid
Woodward said at the dedication of the trail. “Now I
won’t have to wince when I see a wheelchair user in
According to a recent story in the Carmel Pine
Cone, State Park District Director Lynn Rhodes
credited Woodward with the idea for the trail. In
1997, Senior Resource Ecologist Tom Moss started
turning Woodward’s idea into reality.
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 – what the Spanish named the sea
lions). Wondrous sights of offshore rock islands,
ancient trees, nesting sea birds. Very gratifying
one-and-a-half mile hike.
At the Cypress Grove Trail,
you can hike to the
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.
Sea Lion Point Trail
A half mile trail to
incredible ocean views and a good look at the
reserve’s plant communities and geology.
Photo by Jenni Grant
A 3.5 mile loop trail to sea otters and birds. It
includes a loop trail down to Gibson Beach and back.
Trail crosses a rocky
area to a bluff where you can see Bird Island. Passes
two idyllic sandy beaches accessed by wood stairs.
Bring binoculars. Watching
the life on Bird Island can be enthralling.