Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

EFFECTIVE (November 23, 2020) - Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.

As a reminder, Californians are encouraged to avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained from others, and avoid congregating. Everyone has the responsibility to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Here are some additional guidelines for locals visiting Point Lobos State Natural Reserve:

What is open now?
  • Day use and some walking trails.
  • 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 tours.

What is currently closed?
  • The Information Station and Whaler’s Cabin are closed.
  • There is no campground at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, please see below:
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. No more than three households in a group is permitted. Mixing between group gatherings, large gatherings or parties is not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. Restrooms will be temporarily closed in order to keep up with cleaning schedules.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. For details, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals 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. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

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 - 5pm
Last entry at 4:30pm

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

BIG SUR AREA - WHAT'S OPEN UPDATE 11-18-20

California State Parks has reopened Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Andrew Molera State Park, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for active recreation. 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. See details below.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is open for camping. Advance RESERVATIONS are needed - see park unit webpage for more information on camping.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns: The parking lot, restroom, Partington Cove Trail and Waterfall Overlook Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns are now open.  All trails east of Highway 1 (including Ewoldsen, Canyon, Tan Bark and Tin House) remain closed until further notice due to damage caused by the Dolan Fire. The environmental campsites have also re-opened.  Reservations are required.  

Limekiln Beach and restroom facilities are open for day use.  NOTE:  Limekiln Campground will be closed through April 2021. Hiking trails are CLOSED due to fire damage.

The Pt Sur State Historic Park reopened for tours on October 10, 2020. Please visit www.pointsur.org or call 831-625-4419 for tour information.

Also opened is the Soberanes Canyon Trail in Garrapata State Park –located on the east side of Highway 1.  California State Parks continues to work to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved.

Other Closures:

  • The Andrew Molera campground remains closed due to prior flood damage

  • Limekiln Campground is closed through April 1, 2021 due to fire damage

  • John Little 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.

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.

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 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

Discover Point Lobos APP

Discover Point Lobos – Is a Tablet App available at no cost to download from iTunes.

This app provides an interactive experience while you take a virtual walk and learn about the animals, plants and geological features that are found at Point Lobos.

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.

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)

NEW! Coloring Book

Click here for Marine Protected Areas Coloring Book