Enjoying nature at Point Lobos Reserve

Enjoying nature at Point Lobos Reserve

Enjoying a day at Point Lobos State Reserve

Enjoying a day at Point Lobos State Reserve

 Enjoying nature at Point Lobos Reserve

This place is simply breathtaking – the crown jewel of the California State parks, Point Lobos Reserve is the ultimate of California’s scenic coastline that will leave you speechless. The peninsula juts out into the ocean just south of Monterey Bay and is one of the most panoramic coastlines in Central California. It is filled with marine sea life and rich geologic features that are wonderful to see and explore.

 

Spring flowers at Point Lobos

Spring flowers at Point Lobos

 

 

 

Gorgeous meadows at Point Lobos State Reserve

Gorgeous meadows at Point Lobos State Reserve

 

With a rich plant, animal and marine sea life thriving within the reserve, the ecological area of Point Lobos was established in 1973 and has become a well preserved no-take reserve and safe sanctuary to many of the California native animals and sea life protected within its boundaries. You will find many activities to see and do along the headlands, coves and coastal hikes, with every turn leading to more stunning views ahead. There is a lot of wildlife to see at the reserve: migratory birds, whales, sea lions, harbor seals and otters can be seen in hidden coves and the many inlets around the reserve.

 

Hiking the coastal trails at Point Lobos State Reserve

Hiking the coastal trails at Point Lobos State Reserve

 

 

 

 

A quiet spot for sea lions at Point Lobos

A quiet spot for sea lions at Point Lobos

 

 

 

 

Inslet views at Point Lobos

inlet views at Point Lobos

Outdoor recreation

Recreation and outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy a variety activities at the reserve including: hiking through various scenic landscapes, diving from various entry points, bird watching or whale watching to see some amazing migratory animals passing through. You can visit some of the historic landmarks like Whalers cabin or the Whaling station, or just enjoying the panoramic views and photographing many of the scenic vistas along the coastal paths.

Other recreational activities around the reserve include taking a docent led walk, whale watching, kayaking or even snorkeling for those brave enough to brave the cold Pacific ocean.  It’s even a perfect place to do some art – you will see artists regularly setting up their easels at strategic points to capture their perfect landscape like the artist below working on her composition.

 

 

An artist captures the scenic beauty of Point Lobos

An artist captures the scenic beauty of Point Lobos

 

 

 

Wild flowers at Point Lobos Reserve

Wild flowers at Point Lobos Reserve

An influx of immigrants into the Monterey coastline were drawn to resources of rich marine life eventually starting new industries in the area to include whaling, abalone and harvesting of local fish varieties and shellfish. Along with marine life that were exploited, many other natural resources were also discovered close-by including coal and a granite quarry that supplied many buildings in San Francisco and surrounding cities in Northern California.

Abalone industry

With the influx of Chinese settling in the area and coming from the gold rush, the Chinese community developed a robust export seafood industry with abalone as one of their primary exports along with squid, fish and other seafood. Japanese immigrants also came into the area and started farming the deeper areas of the bay by wearing innovative wet suits and breathing apparatus to dive into deeper areas to harvest abalone.  The last remaining building from the area has been converted into a museum and displays more about the settlements, artifacts and various tools for harvesting sea life. The museum is usually staffed with a volunteer or park employee who can answer questions or give more insight to life during that time frame.

 

 

Whaling Station museum at Point Lobos

Whaling Station museum at Point Lobos

 

 

 

Abalone diving at Point Lobos

Abalone diving at Point Lobos

A whaling history

 

Point Lobos also has a rich history in whaling and an established whaling community and living quarters. Portuguese sailors sailed from the Azores to set up a community around 1861 with 50 -60 people living on the southwest part of Whalers Cove.  Grey whales were hunted in season and the blubber boiled down to make oil for burning lamp oil. The Japanese followed afterwards in the whaling business which only lasted for a few years.   The remaining whaling station was eventually converted into museum that houses a variety of images, artifacts and documents the whaling history of the Point Lobos area.

 

Mother and calf resting in a cove at Point Lobos

Mother and calf resting in a cove at Point Lobos

 

 

 

A quiet cove that used to be a whaling settlement

A quiet cove that used to be a whaling settlement

Starting with the sale of over 348 acres of Point Lobos from the Allan family in 1933, a series of save the Cypress and the Point campaigns were put into effect to add more acreage to the reserve and buy back some of the lands originally slated for property development. Eventually through many donations and purchases, the reserve has grown to over 400 acres to what it is today.  The reserved added the marine component in 1973 to become an ecological reserve and was included in 1990 as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine sanctuary – the largest marine reserve in the United States.

Some more details if you visit Point Lobos

Cost to enter the park is $10 per vehicle or you can park outside the park and hike in for free.

There are docent led tours at the reserve or you can take a self tour/hike, check with their website below.

There is an information station within the Sea Lion Point parking lot – open from 9 to 5 pm. You can get maps and information from this center to map out your day at Point Lobos.

For more information about the reserve, check out their main website here.

 

Come and check out my other posts on Monterey County below

Enjoying nature and the cool town of Moss Landing

Enjoying a day along the bay in Monterey and Pacific Grove

A road trip down to Big Sur

A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

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11 Responses to Enjoying nature at Point Lobos Reserve

  1. Jenna May 31, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    You did a wonderful job capturing the beauty and colors of this place. So glad I got to enjoy your company while there 🙂

  2. Leigh May 29, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Looks absolutely beautiful especially covered in wildflowers.

  3. Liz May 26, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    A great spot for watching waves crash onto the rocks! As well as the seals we enjoyed watching the sea otters here.

  4. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} May 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    This is such a scenic stretch of coastline, and even the decaying trees in the meadow are pretty. I think that the abalone and whaling museums add an interesting historical aspect to a visit here. I can’t imagine trying to dive in one of those old fashioned suits. I’m glad that California has the foresight of setting this area aside as a reserve instead of allowing property development here.

  5. Jen Seligmann May 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Stunning place! I’ve been thinking of incorporating the California coastal drive into my trip to western Canada next year. Feeling even more enticed after reading and seeing this place.

  6. Gran Canaria Local May 23, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    Sadly, our time in California saw us working in San Francisco. We didn’t have much time to explore beyond the city. However, we’d love to return as the state looks to be perfect hiking terrain.

  7. budget jan May 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    Noel I took one look at the first photo and knew I was looking at one of your photographs! Loved the first yellow flowers and the pink and purple – they are just leaping off the page and the abalone divers suit. Wow.

  8. muzachan May 21, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Beautiful place …

  9. Corinne May 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    Noel, Point Lobos looks like a great destination. I love those little harbor seals and the old diving suit.

  10. Marilyn Armstrong May 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    I love that part of California coastline. Thanks for bringing it back to me 🙂

  11. Travels with Tam May 20, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    photos are fantastic. We are headed to California in June and July, hope to stop by and see this!

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