Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Update (February 24, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

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 are limited to restrooms, self-guided walks, and mobile phone or app tours.
  • Diver reservations are open – please scroll to bottom of page for details.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • The Information Station and Whaler’s Cabin are closed.
  • There is no campground at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(831) 624-4909

Park Hours

Day Use Area:
8am - 7pm
Last entry at 6:30pm

Dogs Allowed?

No

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.

TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Nature & Wildlife Viewing

POINT LOBOS STATE NATURAL RESERVE UPDATE - 02-25-2021

California State Parks has reopened Point Lobos State Natural Reserve for day use. Some walking trails are open, and parking is available to vehicles on a limited basis. Social distancing protocols of maintaining a 6-ft distance and wearing masks are required. 

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 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.

Activities and Attractions - Many activities such as docent-led tours and the Whalers Cabin Museum visitation have been suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please call the park number listed at the top of the page prior to your visit for the most up-to-date information.

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 ...

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

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.

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.
 

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 Marine Reserve which can only be explored by certified divers. This is one of the richest marine habitats in California. 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 recommended for the weekdays and are a must for weekends and holidays.
  Make Dive Reservations Here

NEW! Coloring Book

Click here for Marine Protected Areas Coloring Book