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About Point Lobos SNR – Sea Lion Cove in Carmel, California

Sea Lion Cove at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a top spot for watching wildlife and whales near Carmel. This small pebbly beach is located in a cove between an area called Sand Hill and Sea Lion Point, a rocky head that protects Sea Lion Cove and Headland Cove.

Sea Lion Point has views of the Sea Lion Rocks located offshore, and is a great place for seeing whales that round the Monterey Peninsula during their migration seasons. Due to overlaps with humpback, gray, and blue whale migrations, it’s possible to see whales every month of the year.

Be sure to get a map as you enter the reserve to make sense of these natural features and to understand where the trails go. There is a nominal entrance fee charged per vehicle.

To get to Sea Lion Cove you’ll need to hike the Sand Hill Trail or Sea Lion Point Trail. Both trails start from the same parking lot and are less than a half-mile long from there. You can make a small loop hike by taking the other trail as you return to your car.

You’ll find several parking lots nearby along the park road so if the closest one is full, you can drive to the next one. Unfortunately these lots all fill up on nice days, so get here early if you want to enjoy this excellent state park.

There is no camping in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve so every visitor has to leave before the end of the day. Just make a note of when they close the gates so you can get out by then (currently the hours daily are 8am to 7pm). Bicycles and dogs are not allowed in the reserve.

62 CA-1
Carmel, CA 93923
Park Name
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
State Park
Pet Details
No dogs allowed in the reserve - even in cars
Day-use entrance fee charged per vehicle
Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Whale Watching, Photography
Trails, Restrooms, Cypress Tree Grove, Viewpoints, Staffed Information Station
Map of Point Lobos SNR – Sea Lion Cove
Carmel-by-the-Sea, US
12:50 pm, July 18, 2024
temperature icon 60°F
L: 59° H: 62°
Feels like 60.33 °F scattered clouds
Wind gusts: 4 m/s
UV Index: 10.79
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:03 am
Sunset: 8:24 pm
Humidity 87 %
Pressure1017 mb
Wind 4 m/s

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