General Info

photo off state reserve signPoint Lobos State Natural Reserve has often been called "the crown jewel of the State Park System". It continues to be a mecca for people interested in seeing beautiful vistas and magnificent animals, in nourishing their need for the kind of serenity that nature provides, and in pursuing their love of photography, painting, nature study, and poetry. In addition to the spectacular beauty, nearly every aspect of its resources is of scientific interest. There are rare plant communities, unique geological formations, and incredibly rich flora and fauna of both land and sea.




Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is located on the central coast of California. Its entrance is on California Highway 1 about 3 miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, 125 miles south of San Francisco, and 325 miles north of Los Angeles.  Monterey is the largest nearby city.


Year round, the Reserve opens at 8:00 AM. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve currently closes at 5:00 p.m with last vehicle/hiker entry at 4:30 pm. If you park outside the Reserve and walk in you still must exit the Reserve by the posted closing times. 

Entrance Fee

A charge is made for each vehicle.

Passenger cars: $10.00; vehicle with a senior citizen: $9.00; with disabled discount card $5.00
Small coach or van: $50.00 (10 to 25 passengers); large bus $100.00
Annual Day Use Pass: $150-195.00 (pass valid for one year from date of purchase).  See this State Parks page for details of State Parks passes.

A helpful trail map may be purchased at the entry kiosk or from a volunteer docent at the entry area for $2. Proceeds from the sale of this map benefit the Point Lobos Foundation and the Reserve.  Maps are also sold at the Information Station and Whalers Cabin.

We ask that walk-in visitors make a donation of at least $1 to help maintain Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

When the Reserve is Full

Point Lobos is very popular and often crowded during the summer months and on holiday weekends. Parking in the Reserve is limited to 150 vehicles.  Please do not stop in the traffic lane of Highway 1.  You may park on the shoulder of the highway and walk in. You are more likely to be able to drive in if you arrive early (before 9:30) or enter later in the day (after 3:00) when others have left.

Oversize Vehicles

Vehicles over 20 feet may enter the Reserve when traffic is light, but not during weekends, school vacations, holidays, or during the summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Trailers or motor homes towing vehicles are not allowed, and the number of buses per day is limited.


Point Lobos delivers a Mediterranean climate and experiences moderate weather all year long, with temperatures ranging from 57 – 65 degrees. Known as the secret season, fall's sunny mornings and warm afternoons are cooled by ocean breezes in the evening, giving way to cool clear nights. Winter, though mild, offers an occasional shower. Spring provides cool, sunny weather before the summer fog rolls in. Summer mornings often deliver a foggy marine layer blanketing the coastline, which usually clears by the afternoon.



This website contains a wealth of information to help you plan your visit.  See Where to Get Help to find out where to get assistance when you are in the Reserve.  Feel free to telephone (831) 624-4909 or E-mail us at when you have inquiries. The mailing address for Point Lobos Foundation is PO Box 221789, Carmel, CA 93922.

Visitors with disabilities can learn about facilities and services available to them on our Accessibility page.  As stated on that page, Point Lobos has a few wheelchairs for loan to visitors – ask at the Entry Kiosk, the Information Station, or Whalers Cabin.  If your questions are not answered on the Accessibility page, you may contact Point Lobos State Natural Reserve at 831-624-4909 (TTY relay service, 711) to inquire further about accessible facilities and services.  On busy days your call may go to voicemail -- if that happens, please try again at a later time.  (Late in the day is he best time to call.)

If you see a sick or injured animal and want to know what to do, see Caring for Wild Animals in Distress.  In most cases, the only dead animals you need to report are sea otters -- contact SORAC as indicated on the same page.