We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful Views” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve
Route 1, Box 62, Carmel, CA 93923
831 624 4909
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #1 of 28 attractions in Carmel
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Beaches, Hiking Trails
Activities: Hiking, Viewing wildlife, Whale watching, Scuba diving, Walking, Birdwatching
More attraction details
Attraction Details
Owner description: Watch whales in winter and sea lions all year round at this Bay Area nature reserve, which offers hiking, walking, bird watching, scuba diving and magnificent views.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Cary, NC
Top Contributor
240 reviews 240 reviews
48 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Beautiful Views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2014

If you are in the Carmel area, this is a great place to take a short hike and admire the amazing views of the Pacific. If you are lucky, the seals will be close enough for you to get a good look at them.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,409 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,283
    108
    11
    6
    1
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, California, United States
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great place to stop and take a short hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2014

The sights here are on par with anything else on the CA coast. I've been all the way up and down it, and though some places might be more famous (e.g. the 17 mile drive just a bit to the north) Point Lobos can't be beat for its sheer wild beauty. There's lots of wildlife in the area, plenty of hiking opportunities with well-worn trails and lookouts, and paved roads for easy access. Some of the trails are a bit steep and rocky, but others are easily accessible to anyone on foot. You can see a good portion of the area in an hour, but 2-3 would be better if you want to cover it. It's also apparently a great spot for scuba diving if you're into that, and they have some ramps where you can get in the water (saw some guys doing that this last visit).

It can get a bit chilly in winter or late afternoon, so dress warmly. The trails and points of interest are well documented and signs tell you how long and how strenuous the hikes are. Rangers and docents are on hand to answer questions.

Note: the signs said parking lot full, but there was plenty of space inside. I think they just don't bother to change them, because it probably usually IS full. Drive up and find out. On the flipside, if you don't mind walking a bit you can park on the side of the freeway and just walk in, which will save you $10 (there's no fee for walk-ins). However, this can add quite a bit to the hike. If you don't have much time or don't want to walk far, try to drive in.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
49 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Wonderful Views from each stop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

You do need to pay $10 to get in the door, unless you park on US1 and walk into the park. We enjoyed a lovely sunset evening taking pictures and seeing pods of dolphins swimming. If you are hiker, there is much more to see but we were into photography and sunsets for this trip.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Don't Pass This Place Up”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2014

I was on my way back to SFO after spending four days backpacking along the Big Sur coast. I'm a photographer and figured what could I possibly see at Point Lobos that I didn't see along Big Sur. I almost drove by, but figured for $10 I'd check it out. This place was amazing and I'm so glad I stopped. I pulled in at 1pm and left at 3pm and really felt like I needed another 2 or 3 hours to see the whole place. This was on a weekday and I had no problem parking, no wait at all. Plenty of seals, sea otters, even a blue whale. For photographers this place is a must and you could easily spend an entire day here.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Aransas, Texas
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Great place to see mammals”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2014

We came here to see the seals, otters, and sea lions. We were not disappointed. They usually are a lot closer to the beach, but since there were SO many people there, they were out in the distance.
I strongly suggest you take a wide angle lens to get a good picture.
There are so many things to see; we saw some whales migrating which I wasn't expecting.
The trails are kind of steep, so they're not for everyone.
The day we went, 12/29, it was so crowded, even at sunset. Another place to take an awesome pictures. We saw some black deer when we were leaving.
I loved this place and it was great to see people from other countries enjoying what we sometimes take for granted.
The parking is $10, and you have to be patient. People were parking on the highway, which I'm glad we didn't. It was quite a journey for those walking it.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Point Lobos State Reserve also viewed

Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
 
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
Carmel, Monterey Peninsula
 

Been to Point Lobos State Reserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Point Lobos State Reserve, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Bookmark for later
Save Saved
You added Point Lobos State Reserve to your Saves list