Home Travel Photography Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: Maps, Climate, Mountain climbing, Wildlife

Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: Maps, Climate, Mountain climbing, Wildlife

Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: Maps, Climate, Mountain climbing, Wildlife


Level Lobos Pure State Reserve is a hidden gem nestled inside Large Sur’s breathtaking cliffs and shoreline and a haven for nature fans and explorers.

A well-liked vacation spot recognized for its gorgeous surroundings, mountain climbing trails, and various wildlife, Level Lobos Pure State Reserve attracts hikers, photographers, and naturalists searching for to immerse themselves in its distinctive magnificence.

Having visited Level Lobos State Reserve on quite a few events, I can attest to its standing as one of the crucial photogenic locations for seascape and panorama images. Be part of me on a journey as we unveil the wonders of Level Lobos Pure State Reserve, a real treasure inside the fascinating landscapes of Large Sur.

What’s Level Lobos Pure State Reserve? 

Level Lobos is a protected marine reserve, residence to a few of the greatest coastal surroundings on the West Coast. The park has rocky cliffs, sandy seashores, cypress, and pine forests, making it a preferred vacation spot for hikers, photographers, birdwatchers, and scuba divers. It’s one among California’s most ceaselessly visited state parks. 

Level Lobos can be referred to as the “crown jewel” of the California state park system.

Level Lobos State Reserve was established in 1934 and encompassed about 5.36 sq. miles. 

The title “Lobos” means “wolves,” given to the realm by early Spanish explorers for a big inhabitants of sea lions bobbing at sea. 

Hiking in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The place is Level Lobos State Reserve Situated?

Level Lobos State Reserve is positioned in Northern California, Monterey County, solely 3 miles (4km) south of Carmel By The Sea. It’s the northernmost level of Large Sur’s coastal drive alongside Pacific Coast Freeway. In the event you do Large Sur from north to south, you begin the drive from Level Lobos. 

Right here is the official deal with of the Level Lobos:

Level Lobos 
62 California 1
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

How Far is Level Lobos from San Francisco?

It’s 125 miles (200km) from San Francisco to Level Lobos; principally freeway driving, so you can also make it in below 2h 30 min.

How Far is Level Lobos from Monterey?

It is just 7 miles (10km) from Monterey to Level Lobos. Monterey Peninsula is a wonderful place to determine your headquarters when visiting Large Sur, Level Lobos, and Carmel.

How Far is Level Lobos from Los Angeles?

It’s 300 miles (500km) from Los Angeles to Level Lobos. It’s a lovely drive which makes a improbable street journey. I did it twice, and I might not thoughts doing it once more.

Often, I do it in 2 legs. First, I drive from Los Angeles to Morro Bay and spend an evening there. The following day, I drive to Monterey and spend a few nights exploring the encircling areas. And I all the time dedicate a complete day to Level Lobos.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 1

What’s the Finest Time to Go to Level Lobos?

The very best time to go to Level Lobos is simply throughout any time of 12 months. Level Lobos has very delicate temperatures all year long. It’s not too sizzling in summer season and never too chilly in winter. I like to recommend that you just make the most of the seasonal climate and see when it’s the warmest and least windy.

Additionally, the state park is inside driving distance from densely populated areas reminiscent of San Francisco, San Jose, and Silicon Valley. It’s common apply for residents of the city areas to arrange day-long driving journeys to Level Lobos. Consequently, it may be very crowded on good climate weekend days in Level Lobos.

If you wish to escape the group and spend time exploring Level Lobos in relative solitude, I like to recommend avoiding weekends and holidays reminiscent of Memorial Weekend. 

My favourite time to go to the park is throughout winter when it’s chilly and windy. It ensures that I’ll have the park to myself with out anyone blocking my pictures.

Climate in Level Lobos

The climate in Level Lobos is just like the coastal areas of Northern California.

The summers are delicate, with the best temperature round 20-22C through the day. The warmest months are September and October.

The winters are heat, with the bottom temperatures round 14-15C through the day. The coldest winter months are January and February.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 2

Level Lobos Opening Hours

Level Lobos State Park opens at 8 am. The official closing time is 5 pm, with the final customer entry at 4:30 pm. 

Hiking in Point Lobos: North Shore Trail
North Shore Path

How A lot Is Level Lobos Entry Charges?

There aren’t any entry charges in Level Lobos State Park. You solely pay for parking ($10) for those who resolve to drive into the park.

Are you able to stroll into Level Lobos?

You possibly can entry Level Lobos State Reserve on foot. You park your automotive on the aspect of Freeway 1 after which stroll in from there. You’ll have to stroll for a mile to succeed in the park’s important space from the doorway.

Parking in Level Lobos

Parking charges are $10 per automotive.

In the event you test the official Level Lobos map, you will discover 8 or so parking areas. Plus, you possibly can park on the aspect of the roads in sure locations contained in the park. However it’s deceptive. If I needed to guesstimate, I might say that there are lower than 80 parking spots in the complete park.

It signifies that if you’re planning to go to the park on the weekend, by 9 am the parking heaps will likely be full and also you gained’t be capable to enter the park by automotive.

However as talked about earlier, you possibly can nonetheless park on the aspect of Freeway 1 and stroll into the park.

Finest Level Lobos Hikes

Level Lobos has in whole 16 official trails. They provide numerous surroundings from open coastal areas, coastal cypress forest trails, and inland pine woods.

The great thing about the Level Lobos hikes is that you just do not need to decide to any of them. You possibly can combine and far, beginning on one path, transitioning to a different, and ending on a wholly completely different one.

However if you’re a first-time customer, it may be difficult to pick one of the best mountain climbing trails to raised discover Level Lobos.

1. Level Lobos Loop Path

  • Distance: 10.8km (6.7miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 225m (740ft)
  • Sort: Loop
  • Problem: Simple to reasonable
  • Trailhead: You can begin it anyplace within the park

In the event you test the official Level Lobos mountain climbing path map, you’ll not find the Loop Path. As a result of the Loop Path is a mix of 9-10 shorter trails that lets you discover all of the areas of the state reserve in a single go to.

In the event you go to Level Lobos for the primary time and have at the very least 4-5 hours to spend, the Level Lobos Loop Path is your best choice. After finishing the Loop Path, you’ll be conversant in the complete park, and whenever you go to Level Lobos the subsequent time, you’ll know precisely which a part of the reserve you want probably the most. So you possibly can dedicate the complete time it’s important to your favourite half.

It’s exactly how I began. After finishing the Loop Path on my first go to, I noticed that the Chicken Island and Cypress Grove trails are probably the most thrilling areas from a panorama images perspective.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 3
Cypress Grove Path – Monterey cypress timber.

How Lengthy Is the Level Lobos Loop Path Hike?

The Level Lobos Loop Path is 10.8km (6.7miles) lengthy. However the great thing about it’s that if you’re quick on time or count on climate change, you possibly can all the time shorten the hike.

The place Does Level Lobos Loop Path Begin?

The Loop Path may be began anyplace inside the park the place parking is obtainable.

After getting parked, you gained’t have issue discovering the path because it runs all through the park.

I want beginning the Level Lobos Loop Path on the tiny car parking zone close to the Tide Swimming pools on South Shore Path. However like I discussed earlier, you possibly can start the Loop Path from any location within the park.

2. Chicken Island Path and China Cove

  • Distance: 1.3km (0.9miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 23m (74ft)
  • Sort: Loop
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Chicken Island parking and picknic space

I take into account the Chicken Island Path probably the most picturesque path within the park. It’s by far probably the most rewarding hike for photographers of any stage.

The hike to Chicken Island is a straightforward, family-friendly outing that gives unimaginable coastal views. 

The Chicken Island Path may be accessed from the park’s southern finish. It begins on the Chicken Island parking and picnic space, simply 0.9 miles from the park’s important parking and 1.7 miles from the doorway.

The principle points of interest of the Chicken Island Path are China Cove, Chicken Island, and Gibson Seaside.

Point Lobos Bird Island Trail
The very best view of Chicken Island is from Pelican Level

China Cove in Level Lobos

China Cove is a captivating cove with a slender seaside surrounded by tall rock partitions.

In the event you climb right down to the seaside, you can find tide swimming pools with starfish and different ocean creatures in them.

Typically the entry to the seaside is closed for preservation and restoration functions, nevertheless it gained’t spoil your expertise as a result of the unimaginable views from the path are spectacular.

Throughout low tide, you possibly can spot a small arch on the south aspect of the cove.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 4
China Cove in Level Lobos. The water round Level Lobos is roofed with kelp forest.

3. Cypress Grove Path in Level Lobos

  • Distance: 1.2km (0.8miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 20m (70ft)
  • Sort: Loop
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Sea Lion parking space

Cypress Grove Path is my second most favourite hike in Level Lobos reserve. 

The start of the 0.8 mile path is printed by cliffs with dramatic and spectacular ocean views the place you will discover loads of picture alternatives. 

The path leads via the coastal cypress forest and presents sweeping views of the cliffs and shoreline. 

The hike begins on the Sea Lion Level parking space.

Hiking in Point Lobos: Cypress Grove Trail
Cypress Grove Path

4. Sandhill and Sea Lion Level Trails

  • Distance: 0.6km (0.2miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 10m (33ft)
  • Sort: Loop
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Sea Lion parking space

The Lion Level Path and Sandhill path hike is the shortest in Level Lobos. It begins close to the Lion Level parking space after which goes across the south aspect of the Headlands to a distinguished rocky outcrop.

The path climbs the bluff and presents views of the ocean and the shoreline. It’s the preferred path in Level Lobos and is usually crowded. The principle attraction of the Sea Lion Level Path is the ocean lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and their antics. You possibly can spot tons of of sea animals lounging on the rocks under the path. With some luck and the assistance of binoculars, you possibly can spot orcas and whales.

Additionally, it’s the preferred and spectacular spot for observing sunsets in wintertime. It could possibly get fairly crowded on sunny winter days simply earlier than park closure.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 5
Sea Lion Level. Harbor seal pups.

5. South Shore Path in Level Lobos

  • Distance: 4km (2.5miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 13m (45ft)
  • Sort: Out and again
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Sea Lion parking space or Chicken Island parking and picnic space

The South Shore Path follows the shoreline, beginning at Sandhill path not removed from the Sea Lion Level parking space. It ends on the Chicken Island trailhead.

The path is totally open, not providing shelter from the solar or wind. It’s particularly nice for the ocean and coastal views, because it hugs the coast all through its course. 

See additionally: Finest Nationwide Park Scratch Off Maps

The path’s important attraction is Weston Seaside and Hidden Seaside, one of the best tidepooling location within the park. You possibly can spot loads of sea creatures within the swimming pools of seawater throughout low tide.

The path presents a number of easy accessibility factors to the seashore all through the complete size.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 6

6. North Shore Path

  • Distance: 5km (2miles)
  • Elevation Achieve: 45m (120ft)
  • Sort: Out and again
  • Problem: Simple to reasonable
  • Trailhead: Sea Lion parking space or Whaler’s Cove parking space

The North Shore Path might be probably the most difficult hike in reserve. However I might nonetheless fee it as straightforward to reasonable.

The path winds via the rocky pine forest with a number of vista factors, providing putting views of Carmel Bay.

It’s price your effort and time.

Point Lobos 6. North Shore Trail
Vista Level on North Shore Path. View of Monterey Bay

Level Lobos Mountain climbing Path Map


Official Level Lobos Mountain climbing Path Map (PDF)

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 7

Level Lobos Pictures Ideas

There are many challenges when visiting Level Lobos as a photographer.

The principle problem right here is you might be just about out of luck with sunsets and dawns.

Let me clarify.

The reserve is positioned on a peninsula with the Pacific Ocean on the west, north, and south. Behind the park, on the east, resides a mountain vary. The vary shields the solar through the dawn. 

When Monterey Bay is having fun with the nice and cozy early morning daylight, the Level Lobos continues to be at midnight shadows. And when the solar lastly seems over the mountains, it’s already too excessive. You possibly can neglect concerning the golden hour gentle.

And since the Level Lobos Reserve closes at 5 pm, you possibly can solely catch sundown gentle in winter when the times are quick.

It means it’s important to be extra inventive with out counting on dawn and sunsets.

One other problem is cloud cowl in California. It’s a lot poorer than on East Coast or in Canada. It’s not unusual to have a complete week with clear skies with out clouds. You could work out learn how to take care of the cruel noon gentle.

Right here is my tip on approaching completely different climate situations in Level Lobos.

When it’s sunny, and the sky is evident, I search for picture alternatives within the park areas with the forest. 

My favourite hikes in sunny climate are Cypress Grove Path and North Shore Path. The cypress timber and pine timber defuse the cruel daylight making it softer. And don’t forget to go to Cannery Level and cease by the historic whaling cabin, constructed by Chinese language fishermen nearly two centuries in the past. It’s now Whalers Cabin Museum.  

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 8
Monterey Cypress Forest of Cypress Grove Path

When it’s cloudy and even stormy, I decide to hunt for thrilling photographs in open areas of the reserve. My favourite hikes are South Shore Path and Chicken Island Path.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 9
Chicken Island Path

And the final tip. Convey UV or clear filters to guard your lenses. The saltwater mist is all the time within the air due to the sturdy winds alongside the California coast. Continuously wiping the entrance component of any lens can simply trigger injury, particularly when salt residue is current.

Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: FAQ

Are canines allowed in Level Lobos?

Canine will not be allowed anyplace in Level Lobos. It’s not even permitted to depart canines within the vehicles in parking areas.

Are Bikes Allowed in Level Lobos?

All trails inside the reserve are off-limits to bicycles, however bikes are permitted on the paved roads contained in the park.

Which is one of the best path in Level Lobos?

There are 16 official mountain climbing trails in Level Lobos State Reserve, and I hiked alongside all of them. And from the angle of panorama and seascape images, I take into account the Chicken Island and Cypress Grove trails are one of the best and most spectacular hikes.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 10

What number of trails does Level Lobos have?

Level Lobos State Reserve has 16 official trails. However as a result of the reserve just isn’t massive and you’ve got important park points of interest shut to one another, you possibly can design your personal hikes combining the present trails.

  • Cypress Grove Path
  • Sea Lion Path
  • Sand Hill Path
  • South Shore Path
  • Chicken Island Path
  • North Shore Path
  • Moss Cove Path
  • Camelo Meadow Path
  • Granite Level Path
  • Whalers Cabin Path
  • Whalers Knoll Path
  • South Plateau Path
  • Mount Meadow Path
  • Lace Lichen Path
  • Pine Ridge Path
  • Outdated Veteran Path

Are you able to swim in Level Lobos?

Sure, you possibly can swim in Level Lobos. The very best place for swimming is Gibson Seaside, positioned on the southmost finish of the park.

However it’s important to keep in mind that it’s North California, and water by no means will get hotter than +15C, even through the summer season.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 11
Gibson Seaside

What Is the Water Temperature in Level Lobos?

You’ve got the identical sample as in the remainder of Northern California with the water temperatures. The water is chilly, and there may be nearly no seasonal change.

The best water temperature in Level Lobos is in September, and it is just 59°F (15°C). The coldest water in March and April is about 54°F (12°C).

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Maps, Weather, Hiking, Wildlife 12

Are there Waterfalls in Level Lobos?

There aren’t any waterfalls in Level Lobos State Reserve. The one waterfall in the complete Large Sur is the spectacular and common McWay Falls, positioned in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It is just 34 miles (55km) from Level Lobos.

Do you want a reservation for Level Lobos?

Due to the elevated reputation of the Level Lobos State Reserve, in 2018, there have been plans to implement reservations for visiting the reserve. I consider the pandemia interrupted the venture, and the reservation has not been applied but. However it could change sooner or later.

Is there cell service at Level Lobos?

Level Lobos State Reserve is near city areas (Carmel, Monterey) and, in consequence, has no downside with the cell service.

Is there Tenting in Level Lobos?

There is no such thing as a tenting in Level Lobos. It’s a day-only park. If you’re searching for a campground, you will discover a number of choices alongside Freeway 1 within the Large Sur space. If you’re searching for a motel, the Carmel and Monterey areas are your greatest choices.

Is Scuba Diving Allowed in Level Lobos?

Level Lobos State Pure Reserve in California is a well-liked vacation spot for scuba diving, nevertheless it has particular laws in place to guard the marine surroundings. Diving is allowed, however it’s strictly regulated, and a allow is required.  Please test the regulation particulars at parks.ca.gov

Whalers Cove and Bluefish Cove are two common places open for scuba diving.

Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: Conclusion

I hope my information to Level Lobos will enable you to find one of the crucial thrilling and visually gorgeous locations not solely in California State however in the complete southwest.

Articles Associated to “Level Lobos State Pure Reserve: Maps, Climate, Mountain climbing, Wildlife“



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here