Contact Number

  • (831) 624-4909

Park Accessibility Information

Park Hours

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

Park Activities

Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Hiking Trails

Park Facilities


Park Directions

Get directions through Google Maps

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.

Point Lobos Summer Adventures 2024

Attention parents! Are you still looking for the perfect summer camp for your child or children to attend? Check out the Point Lobos Summer Adventures Camp! This program is an outdoor day camp for kids and teenagers. We strive to expose the next generation to the joys of exploring and recreating in our parks. The program is based at Point Lobos but includes visits to numerous local parks and outdoor recreational experiences.

To learn more and to register, visit For more information, contact Ashley Wemp at (831) 884-2957.

Welcome to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

ocean view at Point Lobos

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has often been called “The crown jewel of the California State Park System.” Landscape Painter Francis McComas called Point Lobos “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world.” World class photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams spent years of their lives patrolling the woods and shores of Point Lobos for the perfect photograph. Originally known to indigenous people as "Isxhenta," Point Lobos was considered a sacred place to be cherished and nourished. Today, people come from all over the world to become inspired by this unique place.

Point Lobos SNR is outstanding for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, SCUBA diving and jogging. The offshore area, part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world popular with divers. On land there are rare plant communities, unique geological formations and incredibly rich flora and fauna. What is perhaps most remarkable is the ecological recovery of Point Lobos, once the site of countless industrial activities, from whaling operations and gravel quarries to the largest abalone cannery on the West Coast. Point Lobos is now classified as a State Natural Reserve, allowing visitors to witness its incredible ecological recovery after years of heavy resource extraction. 

For more information about activities available during your visit, learning more about the reserve, or how you can suppor the preservation of this amazing State Reserve, go to the Point Lobos Foundation WEBSITE.

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.


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!!

Please Note: ALL tours and buses MUST have a special event permit to enter the reserve. ALL school groups MUST have a reservation to enter the reserve.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing
Fair sunny days, occasional winter rains, and dry summers, moderated by fog from July through September characterize the central California coastal climate.

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.

Point Lobos Closed Areas and Trails Due To Spring Storm Damage

Reserve closed areas and trails:
Gibson Beach is closed due to damage and debris from high surf and flooding.
Gibson Trail is closed since the bottom section of the staircase was destroyed by high surf. State Parks Crews are working to repair the damaged sections and will re-open the trail when it is safe for visitors to access.

SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling

Diving at Whalers CoveThe 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, sea otters, sea stars, and more! 

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:

Diving is permitted only at Whalers and Bluefish Coves. Permission to dive is provided upon entering the Reserve. Proof of certification AND Dive Reservations are required at this time.
Make Dive Reservations Here


The Highway 1 project was successful, and access has been restored to Big Sur beginning FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2024.

Photo of Hwy 1 at Rocky Creek
Significant delays for access can be expected due to the new traffic signal, but the public is allowed into Big Sur at this time.
The advanced date for opening has allowed people to access the Big Sur area earlier than expected, providing opportunities for local businesses and a return to normal for park visitors. 

California State Parks is supporting the Governor’s Office and the Big Sur community by opening all recreational activities as soon as possible. Big Sur State Parks will be open to camping on Thursday, May 23rd so that people may enjoy the State Park system in a safe, responsible, and enjoyable manner.

Some of the lodges and private campgrounds may be open this weekend. We encourage visitors to look for overnight accommodation in the surrounding area, including the Big Sur Lodge, which is currently taking guest reservations. However, the soonest we can responsibly provide camping opportunities will be May 23rd. We apologize for any inconvenience over the next seven days due to the earlier than anticipated opening date.

State Parks is proud to have been a significant contributing agency to the emergency response effort following the Hwy 1 road slip out. During the closure, we provided equipment staging facilities, emergency response, medical evacuation areas, and facilities for the community members that were temporarily stranded in Big Sur. We are now shifting our operations from emergency support back to our regular campground activities. We want to thank you for your understanding as we work diligently to return to normal operations.

Photo Credit: County of Monterey
NOTE: Highway 1 is still closed to the south 5 miles south of Julia Pfeiffer Burns. Please see the Highway 1 closure info and maps on our websites.

Highway 1 remains closed between Dolan Point and Limekiln Creek. While motorists on Highway 1 can now drive to the Limekiln State Park entrance gate from the Cambria/San Simeon area, the park remains closed.

For more information about USFS properties, please visit USFS - Los Padres National Forest - Big Sur Los Padres National Forest - Home (

For current highway closures and conditions please visit CalTrans - Road Conditions Map

Always check area weather forecasts and road updates before visiting. NOAA Weather- Big Sur