Whalers Cabin

This continuously busy area was the site of a whaling station from 1862 to 1879. Where visitors now park, an abalone cannery once operated, and traces remain of a granite quarry, said to have supplied the stone for the San Francisco Mint. Registered SCUBA divers enter the water here to enjoy that part of the underwater reserve open to them in Whalers and Bluefish Coves. Two outdoor exhibits describe subtidal life and climatic conditions. Whalers cove. Photo credit: Fred Brown The boulders at the water's edge provide a favorite habitat for the California ground squirrel. This is a [...]

Moss Cove Trail

An easy, mostly level 0.6 mile walk through an open field to northern boundary of Reserve (Ichxenta Point). Reached via a descent of several steps from the Granite Point Trail. A side trail provides access to the Pit’s rocky beach. Photo by Mary Conway The Moss Cove Trail first passes Moss Cove, which is protected by the Escobar Rocks at its mouth. These rocks bear the brunt of the strong ocean swell often coming from the northwest, usually leaving the cove relatively calm. It is a reliable place to see sea otters, In the video below, large waves [...]

Bird Island Trail

The trail starts at the Reserve's southernmost parking area. Round trip: 0.8 mile. Habitats: pine forest, coastal scrub, rocky shores. Provides access via staircase to sandy Gibson Beach and views of Bird Island and China Cove. Other than Gibson Beach, the trail is fully accessible. China Cove On the way to the Bird Island overlook, you pass between Monterey pine woods and the sea. There are lovely views of two white sandy beaches: the small one in China Cove, and the longer Gibson Beach. Gibson Beach is accessible via a staircase. China Cove, with its sparkling jade-green waters, [...]

South Shore Trail

The north end of this trail begins with a set of stairs that descend from the south side of the Sand Hill Trail; the southern end is at the Bird Island parking area. 1 mile. Provides access to rocky shores and pebbly beaches. Accessibility: not suitable for wheelchairs; strollers may be OK on some parts. However, it parallels the road for its full length, and there are several parking areas from which short easy walks with stunning views can be taken. The South Shore Trail affords superb open ocean vistas. Whale, storm, and surf-watchers, bird-lovers, and plein-air painters frequent this [...]

Cypress Grove Trail

This 0.8 mile trail starts at the Sea Lion Point parking area and provides a walk through coastal scrub and then loops through mostly cypress forest outlined by cliffs with dramatic and spectacular ocean views. A Trail Guide available at the Information Station at the trail head will help you understand what you are seeing. The trail is accessible for 0.25 mile and offers excellent views of Headland Cove. The favorite of many visitors, the Cypress Grove Trail winds through one of the two naturally growing stands of Monterey cypress trees remaining on Earth. (The other grove is across Carmel [...]

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