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Organization Title

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Contact Information

(831) 624-4909

Park Hours

Day Use Area

8am - 7pm

Last entry at 6:30pm

Driving Directions to Point Lobos SNR

The reserve is located on the central coast of California in Monterey County. The entrance is located three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

No online brochures available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

Sea Lion Point / Sand Hill Trail Restoration

The north side of the Sea Lion Point Trail connecting to the parking lot is currently closed. The Sand Hill Trail and the southern portion of Sea Lion Point Trail remain open. 


California State Parks advises visitors that it may close Point Lobos State Natural Reserve during and after storms. Closing the reserve will protect visitors and allow State Parks time to assess damage within the Reserve.


News Release Areas of Garrapata State Park to Remain Closed

Soberanes Fire and Winter Storm Information - Big Sur Area Parks

Updated February 1, 2017

Andrew Molera State Park

  • Closed until further notice due to flooding from recent heavy rains.

Garrapata State Park

  • Open:  Park lands west of highway 1 including Garrapata Beach open with the exception of Gates 8 & 9.
  • Closed:  All park lands east of Highway 1 closed to public entry.
  • Closed: Gates 8-9 are closed due to a trail construction project until early summer 2017. 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

  • Closed until further notice.

Limekiln State Park

  • Closed until further notice.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

  • Open: Big Sur Lodge is open. More information: Big Sur Lodge.  
  • Closed:  Park remains closed due to the impact from the 2016 Soberanes Fire and flooding from recent heavy rains. Buzzards Roost Trail is also closed until further notice.

Point Sur Light Station Historic State Park

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve


Welcome to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

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. 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 has offered many things to millions of people who have visited it over the years.

This area 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.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing
Fair sunny days, occasional winter rains, and dry summers, moderated by fog from July through September characterize central California's climate.

Facilities - Activities
Guided Walks and Whalers Cabin Museum
A schedule of guided walks for the month is posted at the entrance station. The museums are open as staffing permits, generally from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. Requests for nature walks, cabin tours, and slide programs led by rangers or docents for schools and private groups require advance written application.

SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling

The Reserve extends off the coast to include the underwater world of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve which can only be explored by certified divers. This is one of the richest marine habitats in California. Its animals and plants are fully protected by state law from any disturbance.

In the subdued light of the 70 foot-high kelp forests, divers can explore a world of vibrant color and an array of animals such as lingcod, rockfish, harbor seals and sea otters. 

Diving is permitted only at Whalers and Bluefish Coves. Proof of certification is required. Permission to dive is provided upon entering the Reserve. Reservations are recommended for the weekdays and are a must for weekends and holidays.
 Make Dive Reservations Here

Important Reserve Information

The following rules and regulations are for your own safety and to protect the plants and animals that live in the Reserve.

No Pets
Pets are not allowed anywhere within the reserve and cannot be left inside parked vehicles.

No Bikes on Trails
Bikes are prohibited on all trails in the reserve, but are welcome on the pavement.

No Collecting

Shells, rocks, wood, plants, animals and all features of the reserve are protected by law.

No Smoking or Fires
Smoking and fires of all types are prohibited.

No Camping
The reserve is strictly a Day Use facility and all visitors must exit by closing time.
No Drones

Available Activities and Facilities at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Hiking Trails
Nature & Wildlife Viewing