Three trails lead to the Knoll. One from the entrance road, and two from the North Shore Trail. The longest trail over this hill is 0.5 mile. Elevation gain: 180 feet. Not suitable for persons with limited mobility.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, lace lichen strands on Whalers Knoll trail. Photo credit: Don Koch.

Lace lichen strands on Whalers Knoll trail. Photo credit: Don Koch.

Here is a chance to get your blood pumping as you ascend one of the steep trails through the pine forest to the top of Whaler’s Knoll. Watch your footing along the way, but stop occasionally to enjoy the peeks of ocean through the pine trees. This is a good place to look and listen for woodpeckers. A bench near the top allows you to “set a spell” and let the magic of Point Lobos work on you. (The photo is nothing like being there yourself.) You may not want to leave.

This spot, with its panoramic views, was used in the 19th century as a lookout by the whaling crews operating out of Whalers Cove. When whales were spotted, a flag was raised. This was visible to the men below, as the knoll was treeless then. The crew then sprang to their boats for the chase. Modern-day visitors to this spot prefer to simply observe the abundant wildlife, drink in the wide-ranging views, and enjoy the many flowers that grace the hillsides.

Imagine yourself as an old-time lookout, stationed on this windy hill to spot the whales on which your livelihood depends. If you are lucky, maybe you will be able to cry, “Thar she blows!”