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Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

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Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

Hi All!

We are planning our visit to Point Lobos and we are actually going to be in/around Carmel on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. I really want to visit Point Lobos but I realize the parking will be a nightmare, if not impossible. Any tips? We will be driving in from San Francisco so arriving very early is not exactly possible because we have to wait on the rental car company to open on Sunday morning. Is it possible to park outside the park and walk in? How far of a walk is it from the entrance to Sea Lion Point parking lot?

Also, my top 2 hikes I want to do are Cypress Grove and Sea Lion Point. But I am open to any suggestions on hikes!

Also open to any general tips while visiting the park. It looks beautiful!

Oh if there are any other 'must sees' in Carmel, please let me know ... But we only have one day in Carmel.

Thank you very much for your insight and opinions!!

Santa Clara...
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11. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

We were there last Memorial Day weekend and was there mid week last week on Spring Break. We are late people and always park outside. We pretty much expect it as we can see the line of cars before the gate.

Just park off the road and make sure you look carefully before you exit your car on the road side and look before you cross the highway. VERY fast moving cars. Even if you get there later, the parking spots are still pretty hard to find. You don't know if it will be at the South Coast trail or Whaler Cove etc.

From the main gate to the parking lot near the Seal Point is maybe ?10-15mins of walking along the road in the park. ? My favorite trail is actually the North Coast Trail. I usually walk in, go to Whaler Cove and walk along the North Coast Trail. The coves along this trail are lovely and more intimate than the wide open wide open ones along the South Coast Trail. This connects to the Cypress Trail and the Seal Lion Point (though there weren't that many on the rocks last week). Then you can walk as far south along South Coast Trail. We usually spend about 3-4 hours there. This route - you are rewarded with all the scenery of the park. Then walk back along the road back to the gate.

ETA - oops.. Mr. Toy already suggested this route. I agree!

Edited: 25 April 2014, 02:01
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12. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

Thx again everyone! The reason we can't arrive early on Sunday is b/c we are picking up a rental car in SF. Love the bike idea but I'm not too sure we are experienced enough to ride on busy roads. I think we will just park outside the park or wait in line. If the line is too long maybe we will come back early on Mon or Tues and pass up some hikes/parks in Big Sur. Are there any tips on parking in Carmel? Thx!

Santa Clara...
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13. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

If you do not mind parking outside, it shouldn't take that much longer to go in. Don't trade time in Big Sur later.

Not sure where you are from, but do look out for poison oak. I have been to many local parks recently and Pt Lobos has the most dense almost "forest" of the stuff - particularly around the Cypress trail and along the pedestrian path along Hwy 1 if you park south of the gate and walk in. Not pleasant if you touch it.

Will let others tell you about Carmel parking. I usually look around the back street and prepare to walk as well. It will be busy and streets are narrow.

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14. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

I am from GA ... We will watch for poison oak... Thx for the tip.

My priorities in Big Sur are McWay Falls and Pfeiffer beach so I certainly won't pass up those! But Tues we could either go back north to point lobos, or we could drive south to Limekiln, or stay right by our cabin and explore Pfeiffer big sur state park??? Or any other suggestions? What's the best to visit. With the crowds, I don't think we can do more than one in a day (like we originally planned)! I may start a new thread but would love to hear opinions! We had our trip planned out but then when I realized how crowded it's going to be, we are rethinking everything! Thx!!!!

Fresno, California
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15. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

We went on Easter Sunday. The parking lots were full so it was a long wait .The Park Ranger only allowed two cars in at a time as parking became available. Per the Park Ranger she did not recommend parking outside for several reasons one there have been break ins to cars parked outside the park. The other reason is the road is dangerous because cars go through there fast and you have to cross the road which is kind of curvy and hard to to see on the other side if traffic is coming. It is beautiful and worth the wait to park ..but try to get there early if possible.

Fresno, California
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16. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

We went on Easter Sunday. The parking lots were full so it was a long wait .The Park Ranger only allowed two cars in at a time as parking became available. Per the Park Ranger she did not recommend parking outside for several reasons one there have been break ins to cars parked outside the park. The other reason is the road is dangerous because cars go through there fast and you have to cross the road which is kind of curvy and hard to to see on the other side if traffic is coming. It is beautiful and worth the wait to park ..but try to get there early if possible.

17. Re: Point Lobos - hiking, parking, general tips

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