Between the entrance station and the Bird Island Trail above Gibson Beach. Through pine and live oak woodland: 0.7 mile. Accessibility: Not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. This trail is somewhat hilly and has uneven surfaces. Those with limited mobility wanting a walk to the southern end of the Reserve may prefer the Mound Meadow Trail.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, reflective bench on South Plateau trail. Photo credit: Janet Beaty.
This is the most direct way for walk-ins to get to the south end of the Reserve, though its proximity to Highway 1 does expose the visitor to some traffic noise in places. The trail winds through Monterey Pine forest. There are scattered coast live oaks. Look for their soft, light-green new foliage in spring, and later, the acorns which were a staple food of the local native peoples.
Great Horned Owl in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Photo credit: Jerry Loomis.
There are many birds, but they are usually high overhead, and are more often identified by their distinctive sounds than by sight. You may hear – or see – brown creepers, downy woodpeckers, Steller’s jays. If you walk these woods at dusk, perhaps you will hear a great-horned or other owl.
Plant life abounds. Look for flowering currants, wild honeysuckle, and coffeeberry. The elegant Douglas Iris graces these woods in spring – get down close, and examine the delicately patterned petals.