While staying at Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel, it was suggested to us by Carrie Theis, General Manager, that Point Lobos was one of the “must see” spots in Carmel for nature lovers. Never ones to pass up recommendations, we headed off to check out the dramatic cliffs and swirling waters for ourselves. We weren’t disappointed, and I happily pass on the recommendation to you.
Point Lobos (aka Point Lobos State Natural Reserve) is located approximately three miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea off of Highway 1. Referred to as “the gateway to Big Sur,” the park has numerous well-marked hiking/walking/jogging trails that lead adventurers around the cypress and through the pines and, of course, across the shorelines. Rocky outcroppings provide excellent points from which to view the water below.
Somewhat turbulent on the day we went exploring, the roiling water put on quite a show as the winds came in from the southwest. There were points along both the Cypress Grove Trail and the Sea Lion Trail that were a bit precarious with the winds – in fact, only Andy was brave enough to go all the way out on the cliff trail. But despite the winds, we meandered along, walking down to the beach at a couple of points (although we did not go all the way out to China Beach – the stairs to which are currently closed due to erosion problems).
Carrie was right – it is a nature lover’s dream. Photographers, hikers, wildlife watchers can all easily spend hours here without getting bored. Docent-led tours are available, and the Whalers Cabin and Museum are also open for those interested in the history of the fishing industry that was quite vibrant there in the mid- to late-1800s. Certified divers with permits can also enter the waters of the reserve near the Whalers Cove.
Not only is this park a “must see,” but for me, it’s a “must see again.” While its wild beauty was quite evident even with the clouds rolling in, I’d love to spend some time there in late Spring as the flowers are coming back to life and the sun is shining. Still, as you flip the photos, you’ll see that no matter the weather, it’s a place you won’t forget once you experience it.