From the entrance station through pine forest to Whalers Cove: 0.2 mile (10 minutes). Trail is fully accessible, and connects to another accessible trail, the Granite Point Trail.
Carmelo Meadow mushroom (top) and junco nest (bottom). Photo credit: Paul Reps.
The Carmelo Meadow Trail starts just past the entrance station and makes its way through Monterey pine forest to Whalers Cove. Many of the trees in the first section are small and crowded together, and some will be removed to restore the health of the forest. Look here for a wide variety of mushrooms after the winter rains begin.
Farther along, the trees are larger and more widely spaced. You may be scolded by a squirrel, or see his telltale sign: the bare remains of a pine cone. Keep a sharp eye (and ear) out for birds: juncos, chickadees, warblers, woodpeckers, and many more. Soon you will see the waters of Whalers Cove through the trees. If you head left, you can visit the Whalers Cabin and Whaling Museums and learn about the rich cultural life of this area before it became a State Reserve. Or you can turn right and continue on to Coal Chute Point, Granite Point, and the Moss Cove area.
This trail ran alongside Carmelo Meadow before it was rerouted in the process of conversion to meet ADA standards. The meadow is on the other side of the trees to your left, and is now best seen from the Granite Point Trail. It supports a colorful garden of fragile wildflowers in the spring and summer, along with sturdier, perennial sedges and grasses that provide cover and forage for small birds and mammals. These are hunted by owls, bobcats and coyotes from vantage points along the meadow’s edge between twilight and dawn. The opening and closing hours of the reserve are established to prevent human interference in this natural activity.