Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

UPDATE (March 31, 2020): This park is temporarily closed to vehicular access. The park remains open for locals who wish to walk, hike and bike (in parks with bike trails) in the park, provided they practice social/physical distancing of 6 feet or more. This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach.

In an effort to prevent visitation surges and help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), State Parks has implemented the following safety measures to date:
  • Closed some parks, meaning all trails and restrooms within these parks are closed.
  • Closed vehicular access at remaining parks, including for off-highway vehicle riding.
  • Closed all campgrounds, museums and visitor centers.
  • Cancelled all events.

A list of closures is available online at parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve. The list is dynamic and updated on a regular basis.

Phone Number

(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.

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

IMPORTANT RESERVE INFORMATION AND CLOSURES

California State Parks announced it is temporarily closing vehicle access to this state parks property to avoid dangerous visitation surges and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing at all state park units, and if the safety measures implemented thus far are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks.

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.

Activities and Attractions
Guided Walks - Free public walks are offered daily. A schedule of guided walks for the month can be found HERE.  Private tours require advanced written application.

Whalers Cabin Museum - The museum is open from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. daily.

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.

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.

NEW! Coloring Book

Click here for Marine Protected Areas Coloring Book

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, and you are prohibited to get within 50ft of the marine mammals.

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

Additional Visitor Services
  • Philip Sammet dba Under Water Company (Guided SCUBA dive tours)

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 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 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