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Point Lobos State Reserve

Pt Lobos
Carmel Bay from Cannery Point - Point Lobos California

I love the drive along California coast on Highway 1. Growing up in the California central valley, Monterey and Big Sur were just a few hours away and perfect for a quick weekend getaway. Asilomar was a popular place for school trips. Just a bit farther down the road is the wonderful Big Sur where we would go camping. In 1968, the summer of love, my parents and I drove along Hwy 1 to Long Beach to see my half sister. Her husband was in Vietnam. All along the way we passed hippies hitch hiking along the way.

I got off the plane last Friday and I could tell the weatherman was right. It was going to be a warm and sunny day. I couldn't resist a coastal road trip. I got my bag, rented my car and was on the road by 10am. It took about 1 hour to drive from San Jose to Monterey. I forgot to research where to eat in Monterey. I drove around downtown a bit and finally decided to just pick up a sandwich and picnic at Pt Lobos.

Pt Lobos is at the gateway to Big Sur. It is a landscape of rocks, headlands, craggy coves and meadows. Luckily Pt Lobos was acquired by an owner who had the foresight to protect it. It has been under the protection of the California state park system since 1933. The entrance fee is $10.00. The road curves around the headland with places to park and walk out to the headlands or along the cliffs.

First stop was at Whalers Cove. I sat at the picnic benches that were around the parking lot and watched the kayakers and divers. After I finished my sandwich, I took the trail up to headland above the parking lot to Cannery Point for views across Carmel Bay and back over Whalers Cove. There is a museum along the road but I didn't have time to stop.

I decided I only had time for one more short walk so I drove on towards China Cove. I made one quick stop at Weston Beach to see the lovely rocks that inspired the photography of Edward Weston and then on to the parking for Bird Island Trail. This goes a short distance to China Cove and then on to the headlands overlooking the cove. The cove is a lovely turquoise blue and stairs lead down to the beach. I decided to go on to the headlands above. I started noticing a glossy three leafed plant just starting to leaf out. Hmmm... sure looks like poison oak. It was all over. If you go here - be very careful and don't go off the trail. Those large bushes are filled with it.

Too quickly it was time to move on. I still had 90 miles to go to read Paso Robles and it was already 1pm.

Pt Lobos
View of Carmel Bay from Cannery Point - Pt Lobos

Pt Lobos - Bird Island Trail
Pt Lobos - Bird Island Trail

Pt Lobos
View of China Cove - Pt Lobos

Pt Lobos - China Cove
China Cove - Pt Lobos

Pt Lobos - China Cove
China Cove - Pt Lobos

Poison Oak
Poison Oak - Watch out!

Beach Rocks
Beach rocks at Weston Beach

Carmel Things To Do

Comments (12)


Beautiful photos.

These photos are just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Absolutely beautiful photos!

What a gorgeous post! The pictures are fantastic and it sounds like you had a great time.

Barb Cabot:

Marta, What a really lovely lovely post. Brought chills to see your beautiful, crisp clear photos of a gorgeous favorite spot. Thank you for sharing these great pictures. PS I was probably one of those hippie hitch-hikers you saw in 1968. Someday I'll show you photos!


Beautiful coastline! We almost visited California last year, but my sister's conference fell through so our trip didn't come to pass. But I am now very keen to travel there some day, and even more so after looking at these photos!


Thanks for the wonderful photos! Really looking forward to being there. And thanks for the poison oak warning!


Marta, looks like you found a day that was a 10 out of 10 for gorgeous! Good decision to go that route.


I love Pt. Lobos and Weston so this was a great post for me. Thanks.


A perfect day and gorgeous photos.
I sure beats a drive up I-5!

oooh - an Edward Weston type photo (beach rocks) from Weston beach! Great post! Thanks. :)

Amazing photos and views. I really need to get back to California and drive this coast again and maybe stop somewhere along the way for a night or two.

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