Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

This park unit is partially open. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and what COVID-19 guidelines are in place. - (December 29, 2021)

What is open now?

  • Day use with some walking trails open.
  • Parking in designated lots within the reserve is available on a limited basis.
  • Current Visitor services include restrooms, docent and self-guided walks, docent staffed Info Station, and mobile phone tours and apps.
  • Diver reservations are open – please scroll to bottom of page for details.
  • The Whaler's Cabin.

What is currently closed?

  • There is no campground at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Phone Number

(831) 624-4909

Park Hours

Day Use Area:
8am - 5pm
Last entry at 4:30pm

Dogs Allowed?


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.

Hiking Trails
Nature & Wildlife Viewing

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.

Lobos SunsetThis area contains headlands, coves and rolling meadows. The offshore area, part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 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. After an 18-month closure, the Whalers Cabin has reopened to the public. A small cabin built by Chinese fishermen Located on the bluff above Whalers Cove, the Whalers Cabin is now a cultural history museum.The cabin is open from 9 AM - 5 PM daily, when staffing is available, with a maximum of 8 visitors at a time inside. Masks are required regardless of vaccination status.

Please call the park number listed at the top of the page prior to your visit for the most up-to-date information about specific activities you are interested in.

Point Lobos Foundation - Additional information to plan your visit or learn more about the reserve can be found by going to the Point Lobos Foundation WEBSITE.

When you Visit ... Things to Know

The following rules and regulations are for your own safety and to protect the plants and animals that live in the Reserve. Help us protect and conserve this beautiful place for future generations - with YOUR help we CAN do it!!

No Dogs
Dogs 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 Skateboards
Skateboarding is not allowed anywhere within the reserve. 

No Smoking or Fires
Smoking and fires of all types are prohibited; this includes small cookstoves.

No Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is not allowed anywhere within the reserve.

No Camping
The reserve is strictly a Day Use facility and all visitors must exit by closing time.
No Drones
Drone photography is prohibited within the Reserve.
Please note that any vehicle (commercial, motorhome, live-in van, etc.) over 21 ft long is not allowed to drive or park within Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.  Exceptions may be made for school field trip buses with a permit for drop off and pick up of students.

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.


Apps Enhance Point Lobos Visitor Experience

There are two smartphone apps available for tech-savvy visitor to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve:

Dive Into Point Lobos - NEW!!

Join California State Parks and CSU Monterey Bay researchers as they dive in the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve off the coast of Point Lobos. Follow along as the divers swim through a thriving kelp forest and descend into a deep submarine canyon. You'll have the opportunity to explore dynamic marine ecosystems an dencounter amazing ocean animals as you learn how California's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) work to support a healthy coast and ocean.

Apple App Store link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/xplore-dive-into-point-lobos/id1522432091

Google Play Store link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.timelooper.xploreucmonterey

Discover Point Lobos - free app download from iTunes

This app provices an interactive experience which invites the visitor to participate in a virtual walk about the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and learn about the animals, plants and geological features that are unique to Point Lobos!


SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling

Diving and SnorkelingThe Reserve extends off the coast to include the underwater world of the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve Underwater Park, within the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, which can only be explored by certified divers. This is one of the richest marine habitats in California, and is located within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 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. 

Marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and NOAA Fisheries (federal regulatory authority) has recommended guidelines for managed species of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and sea turtles (sea otters are managed by USFWS). NOAA Fisheries lists recommended distances of at least 100 YARDS (300 feet) for whales, and 50 YARDS (150 feet) for dolphins, seals, sea lions, and turtles: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/west-coast/marine-life-viewing-guidelines/watching-marine-mammals-west-coast

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 required at this time.
Make Dive Reservations Here

Marine Protected Area Coloring Book - Area Marina Protegida - Libro Para Colorear

Embark on a journey of discovery about Marine protection in a fun and easy way!!

The Marine Protected Areas Coloring Book - Area Marina Protegida - Libro Para Colorear - helps students of all ages learn about the rich diversity of   plant and animal life found in California's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The book includes three new 3D augmented reality coloring pages that will allow   students to interact with their colorings using a smartphone or tablet while learning about marine life and California's marine protected areas. MPA Coloring Book

Download the new marine protected area (MPA) coloring book along with the California Coastal Explorer Guide at: 

 https://www.mpacollaborative.org/kids/ .