Granite Point Trail
From Whalers Cabin to Granite Point and back; through meadow and woods to panoramic view. 1.3 miles, 60 minutes. This trail is fully accessible to the Pit, and beyond: to a point from which Moss Cove is visible.
The Granite Point Trail begins near the Whalers Cabin, and follows the bluff above Whalers Cove, with Carmelo Meadow to the right. This is a wonderful trail not only for viewing the varied wildlife of the cove, but for enjoying the multitude of wildflowers in spring and summer. Beyond the junction with the Carmelo Meadow Trail (which links with the entrance station), your path meanders through pine woods to an overlook of the Pit, a lovely small cove seen in the photo below. To the left begins a loop trail on Coal Chute Point, that got its name from the large loading structure used over 100 years ago to load first coal and then sand and gravel onto ships in Whalers Cove. You can see a photo of it on the wall of Whalers Cabin.
Back at the Pit overlook (shown at the right), you can continue to your right through pine forest and coastal scrub. Soon the path takes you down a flight of steps to an old road bed. Here you have three very good choices. To the left through a narrow ravine is the Pit, with its rocky beach, a good spot from which to see wildlife up close. Cormorants may be perching or nesting on the cliffs, great blue herons nesting atop the trees on Coal Chute Point, harbor seals hauled out sunning, and/or maybe an otter dozing in the usually calm waters of the Pit.
The road bed to the right of the bottom of the steps becomes the Moss Cove Trail, above, passing Moss Cove with its tide pools and its rolling surf. Skirting the bluffs, it goes out to Ichxenta Point, a spot where human history goes back thousands of years.
Or you can go straight ahead from the steps up the trail onto Granite Point. At the high point of that loop trail, there is a windswept rocky outcrop amid a garden of low-growing wildflowers. From the east side of the point you get a great view of Moss Cove and the hills to the east as shown to the right. Look carefully and you might fnd the monastery that gives Monastery Beach its common name. Find a rock to sit on near the northern part of the trail loop and look west. You will get a great view of the mouth of Whalers Cove, with Big Dome in the distance (seen at left). Looking out across Carmel Bay you can see Pebble beach, and maybe whales and dolphin in the bay. And down the rocky cliffs below you, the ever-swirling surf often leaps high after crashing into the cliffs and offshore rocks.