Point Lobos

The Crown Jewel of California

Of California's 280 State Parks, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is considered the "crown jewel" of them all, and most visitors would agree. The moderately difficult trails meander among the broad, sprawling Monterey Cypresses and the bluffs of granodiorite and sandstone. Spilling from the northern end of the Carmel Valley, Steinbeck and his sister Mary visited the area often in their youth, imagining the large arcs and cave formations were Arthurian castles. Later, Steinbeck and Ricketts would come to this same area to collect animal samples for the Pacific Biological Laboratories. 

granodiorite

cypress

coastline©The San Francisco Chronicle. This map shows the vast protected coastline of Point Lobos

 

If you plan visiting the Point Lobos State Reserve, this 2004 packet from California State University Monterey will be invaluable. It was composed by Professor Dunbar at Stanford University. It is readily available online, and contains a deep, focused look at the geology and ecology of this area. The following bathymetric map is taken from the packet

bathymetric

If you click here, you will be taken to a pdf copy of the official Point Lobos State Reserve Map. It is full of information about wildlife and the environment, as well as maps and history. The following is a sample:

samplepamphlet 

© California Department of Parks and Recreation

sealsheart

© Steven Domingo

To learn more about the reserve, head over to the park information cite on the CA Parks and Recreations website. It hosts all the information you need to properly prepare yourself for a trip to the reserve. The park is also very popular with kayakers, check this source for more information. 

The great arches and caves like the following inspired the imagination of John Steinbeck, helping fuel his lifelong love of Arthurian literature. 

arch2

arch1

 

cormorant

 ©All photo credit to Steven Domingo