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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
0.90 mi (1.45 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

When hiking along the trail to Sea Lion Point, visitors will witness many sources of the California Coast's beauty. Shrubs surrounding the trail come to life during the spring and summer and offer dazzling wildflowers of all colors, from purple and blue to pink and orange. These shrubs also are homes for many birds, rabbits, and reptiles. Three coves are passed along this trail, each lending its own uniqueness to the hike. Headland Cove is where a pristine and inaccessible beach entices visitors as calm waves lap against the shore.

Sea Lion Cove is next on the list of sights and where the main attraction lies. During most months sea lions and harbor seals can be observed in this area, although sometimes they lie far out of sight. Fortunately, visitors can borrow binoculars at the information booth at the parking lot. Don't forget to pick yours up! There are some months when hundreds of sea lions and seals hangout on the beach and rocks of Sea Lion Cove. The best time seems to be winter months, but it is always a good idea to call the park and ask before making the trip to see these magnificent animals. Because sea lions are wild animals, maintaining a respectful distance is imperative to avoid disturbing them. The lower trail out to Sea Lion Point is often closed to protect the wildlife. Typically the sea lions can still easily be observed from the remainder of the trail along the cliffs.

The last cove on this hike is Sand Hill Cove, a great spot to observe the geography of the area. Here layers and layers of rock can be seen on the cliffs. The thickness of each layer is indicative of the conditions of the deposit when it was formed. Lower layers are presumed to be older, and naturally the uppermost would be the most recently created. Black strata at the top may once have been the bottom of the ocean floor many years ago.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Seasonal seals. Short walk. Binoculars are available to borrow.

Cons

Lower point trail closed often to protect wildlife.

Trailhead Elevation

74.00 ft (22.56 m)

Net Elevation Gain

70.00 ft (21.34 m)

Address

Point Lobos
62
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
United States

Features

Bird watching
Wildlife
Wildlife
Wildflowers
ADA accessible

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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