We recently took a trip down to Carmel to get away from the Bay Area. I personally wanted to do something outdoorsy, which led us to Point Lobos, a natural reserve filled with trails, wildlife, beaches, and more. With 15 trails available on a warm, sunny day, it was sure going to be an adventure.
We first started at Sea Lion Point Trail, which is where we parked for $10. We headed south and landed right at Sea Lion Cove, where we found, of course, sea lions resting. We're used to seeing sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, but it was nice to see them somewhere more nature-y, not right next to a tourist hot spot in a major city.
In addition to trails, there are beaches where it is safe to get close to the water. You won't see sea lions or much of any other wildlife in these areas, which makes sense, but it is pretty breathtaking. While these are beaches, please note that games and recreational activities are not allowed, so it is not your typical beach. This is more about really being around mother nature and really appreciating it.
Since it was really hot that day, walking on the trails along the coast meant getting constantly hit by the sun. We then decided to go to the Lace Lichen Trail to take a break from the sun. This trail is pretty fascinating, as it has gray-green lichen hanging from branches.
After the Lace Lichen Trail, we headed to Carmel Meadow Trail, which then led to Whalers Cove. Just our luck, there were no whales in sight when we were there. Next time we go, we're definitely going to plan better and go during "peak" whale-sighting hours.
We were then back to walking along the coast on the Granite Point Trail. Near Cannery Point, we spotted more wildlife -- randt's Cormorant and sea otters. Again, just breathtaking views at Point Lobos.
We started heading back to our car, using the North Shore Trail. At one point, climbing up stairs, I looked up and saw sun rays shining through the trees -- a view that never gets old to me. It is just so peaceful.
Looking at the map, and realizing how tired we were at this point, we thought it would've been a shortcut if we just went through Whalers Knoll Trail instead. This trail was a little odd to us, as the path wasn't extremely obvious like the other trails. We shrugged it off, and just kept walking. That was, until we heard something in the bushy area. We immediately stopped and freaked out for a second. All of a sudden, we saw a black-tailed deer head popping up. While we were glad it wasn't an animal that would chase after us, it was still pretty scary. Then, we calmly (on the outside) walked back to NOT attract attention, and decided to just take the longer route.
We only spent a few hours there, and didn't get to go through the entire reserve. It is, however, now a goal of ours, as well as seeing whales at Whalers Cove. We were lucky that it was actually a nice day that day, as it is usual chilly because Carmel is right next to the ocean. With that said, our next trip probably won't be until next year. It'll be interesting to see how different, or same, this reserve will be the next time around.