Point Lobos
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
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.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
4,834 reviews
Excellent
4,327
Very good
423
Average
54
Poor
17
Terrible
13

lmv
8 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
Beautiful!!! Great way to see beautiful vistas and enjoy picnic areas and nice trails. No need to risk safety by stopping along highway 1 for photos. Worth the $10 entrance fee or else you can walk-in about a mile.
Written March 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Judee
Livermore, CA901 contributions
Nov 2020
WOW you’ll want to take this hike slow so you can take loads of photos. We arrived about 8:30 am on a Friday and found parking inside for $10. If it’s full you’ll have to park along the road and walk in. The paths are wide and you could push a wheel chair or stroller along much of the paths. There are several clean bathrooms with sinks to wash your hands. We enjoyed an easy 3 mile walk while enjoying the gorgeous Pacific Ocean views on the ocean side while trees, moss, turkey vultures, etc. on the opposite side of the road. This is a must see!
Written November 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Linda M
Atlanta, GA194 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
Any level of fitness can visit Point Lobos. It is a beautiful and easy walk you can do as much as 6 miles or a shorter distance. Inside the park costa $10 or you can park outside the park and walk in. It is definitely worth the visit.
Written July 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

travelerfromsj
San Jose, CA1,764 contributions
Dec 2020
This park is called the crown jewel of California’s State Park System, and rightly so. It’s one of the most beautiful places in California, equivalent IMHO to the National Parks, Lake Tahoe and Big Sur. Moreover, it’s small enough to see in a half day visit, and very visitor friendly to boot, with easy and well-groomed trails (many accessible) and restrooms scattered throughout the park.

We went on a sunny weekday in December, parked at Whalers Cove, and hiked the coast trail counterclockwise around the peninsula to the southern tip of the park at Bird Island, taking every offshoot trail and climbing Whalers Knoll. We then walked straight back to our car. This was about a 5.7 mile loop, with 700 feet of elevation change. In general the trail is easy, packed dirt and sand, plus occasional stairs and some rocks to climb at the overlooks. The only real climb is at Whalers Knoll, which goes up about 180 ft., but you can bypass this via North Shore Trail. Highlights on the walk were the beautiful twisty trees on Cypress Grove Trail and the bird-covered Bird Island. The walk out to Sea Lion Point was closed, possibly because of high surf. No whale sightings, but we did see harbor seals lying out on one of the beaches near Bird Island.

Some quick tips if you decide to visit:
1. If you’re a local, check the weather and wait for a sunny weekday to visit, preferably in the off season. If you do, the park will be fairly empty and parking is easy, except possibly near Sea Lion Point. A docent told us that on a sunny day in the summer, parking is full by 9 am, and the park is then closed to cars.
2. Entry is $10, $9 for seniors, plus $2 for the trail map (well worth it). You can get in for free by parking along Highway 1 and walking in.
3. Bring a picnic lunch. There are 3 picnic areas, 5 flush restrooms, and many drinking fountains, but no food for sale.
4. Bring binoculars for a close up look at the birds and marine mammals.
5. Bring a face mask or buff that you can pop on quickly when passing hikers on the trail. Mask usage here was very good.

If you’re sick and tired of being stuck at home, visit Point Lobos; it’s the perfect antidote.
Written December 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sims P
Washington DC, DC42 contributions
Jul 2022
This park is one of our favorite places we went on our trip to Northern California! Finding parking was a bit of a challenge, it was crowded and the weather was perfect for hiking, but we are so glad we stuck around and explored the park! We were able to see sea otters feeding on crabs in the surf and sea lions sun bathing on rocks. The hikes were beautiful and not too strenuous. We highly recommend stopping by this park while you are in the area!
Written July 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

irishtea3
San Francisco254 contributions
Jul 2021
I find that any age can do these trails. There is ones by the ocean and ones slight inland will less people. You are guaranteed to see animals. This time I say so many pelicans.Really wonderful. Sea otter and harbor seals. Last time I went more seals and less birds I guess it depends on the wind, feeding, time of year, weather.... Arrived by 0935 on a weekend and with $10 had a parking space towards the ned. I spent about 4 hours there with hiking and picture taking. I noted when leaving many people had to park off the highway and walk about a mile in to the shore. It opens up at 08 so if you want to get parking arrive early enough on a weekend.
Written July 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PinkShoeAddict
Darien, IL98 contributions
Jun 2021 • Family
We went here in June on a weekday and got there shortly after it opened at 8am. They only allow 75 cars into the park at once and others can park on the side of the road to walk in, but even that parking is limited. If you have someone with fairly limited mobility, it is best to ensure you can get into the park to be able to see the highlights without having to walk as much. The walks themselves are pretty easy. We did the Sea Lion Point and Bird Island trails, both of which offer great animal viewing options. When we were on our way out a little after 10am, the preserve was closed to cars and all of the parking on the side of the road was also filled.
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chartreuse
San Francisco, CA1,565 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
It costs $10 to drive your vehicle into this state park, $9 for seniors 62 and over. Parking is limited and during peak hours, folks end up parking outside and hiking in.
There are only 2 outhouses at the entrance of the parking lot where volunteer guides answer questions at a nearby kiosk and selling limited supply of souvenirs.
The outhouse was gross, nearly filled to the rim as if its not been emptied in awhile. We found out later after one hike, that behind the kiosk are 2 bathrooms with real flushing toilets.

We went on a trail we’ve not been before that loops around which takes under an hour to finish but part of it was under repair so we went on another trail.
You can pay $2 for a paper map at the entrance or just take a photo shot of the posted map at the inside kiosk so you can view from your phone. The views are gorgeous but we couldn’t see any whales but heard they’re out there starting their migration south.

We didn’t have enough time to finish the 3rd trail headed North but more inland and walked about 10 mins into it before turning back, it was nicely maintained.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Life traveller
North East England, UK3,700 contributions
Aug 2022
Situated just North of the Big Sur, this outstanding nature reserve should be on anyone's Must Do list when travelling down or up the famous Route 1, in my view. At only $10 per car load, and with a generous car park near the most popular hiking routes by the sea, you can spend a good two or three hours walking by the sea, enjoying some great vistas and go crab searching in the rock pools when the tide is out. Although it was a foggy day, and we didn't see the whales or seals (although we did see many just down the road at San Simeon), we really enjoyed the Monterey cypress groves, which have grown there uninterrupted for thousands of years. A real treat!
Written October 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

sascrat
Lafayette, California135 contributions
Jun 2022
The Point Lobos State Park is a beautiful ocean front with several trails for easy hiking. You no longer can get to the edge because the State Park has redone the trails. Often, you can see sea otters, and sea lions. There is a docent who can help answer your questions and sells maps and other items. You can borrow binoculars from the docent hut at no charge.
Written June 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Point Lobos (Carmel) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Point Lobos

Point Lobos is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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We recommend booking Point Lobos tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 2 Point Lobos tours on Tripadvisor