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. - (July 7, 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.

What is currently closed?

  • The Whaler’s Cabin is closed.
  • There is no campground at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

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

LIMITED VECHICLE ACCESS TO POINT LOBOS MONDAY, JULY 26

On Monday, July 26, 2021, vehicle access to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve will not be permitted between the hours of 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. due to a special event.

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. 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.
 

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