A Plethora Of Riches


How many hairs do you have on your head?

It’s approximately 100,000!
Compare that with the southern sea otter that has about the same number of hairs per square inch.
And where can you find a plentiful supply of sea otters?
At Point Lobos just south of Carmel.

The sea otters in the scenery might be sufficient to attract a person to Point Lobos but over the past few hundred years it’s attracted people for a whole range of reasons including:

  • Coal mining
  • Gravel quarry
  • Abalone harvesting
  • Abalone canning
  • Whale Station

All of this ceased in 1933 when the area became a state reserve. Today the reserve is as rich in its offerings as it was through all the days of its history. With a little luck you might see:

Humpback and Blue Whales

Migrating Gray whales, at the right time of year

California Sea lions, if you can’t see them just listen

seal lions on rocks just off the beach at point lobos reserve

Sea Lions

Harbor seals

a harbor seal lying on the rocks at point lobos reserve

Harbor Seal

Harbor seal lying on the rocks.

Mottled coats of the Harbor Seal can make them difficult to see against the rocks they inhabit.

a colony of harbor seals on the rocks at point lobos

A colony of Harbor Seals

Southern sea otters

a pair of southern sea otters swimming at one of the inlets along the beach at Point Lobos

A pair of Southern Sea Otters entertaining the Saturday crowd

sea otter with its head above water

Sea Otters are mostly on their backs but sometimes they roll from head to (webbed) feet


a pair of egrets on a floating log just of the shore in point lobos

A pair of Egrets shopping at the local supermarket

an egret taking off from the rocks on the shore at point lobos


Blue Herons

A blue heron on a log, its reflection showing on the still water, which is mottled with kelp

A Blue Heron – Watch one of these birds for ten minutes and you can see real patience at work.

Brown pelicans

See “A Great Place for Lunch” for Brown Pelicans.


cormorants on the rocks just above the ocean


Black-tailed Mule Deer

Side head view of a Black-tailed Mule Deer with its head peering out from the trees

Black-tailed Mule Deer – Just as he spotted the camera

Black-tailed Mule Deer peering out from the trees at the camera

Black-tailed Mule Deer



Western gray squirrels

Ground squirrels

White-tailed Brush Rabbits

In addition to the plethora of wildlife there is a whaling station museum.

Wooden cabin once used by whalers is now a museum. Shows the front view of the cabin.

Whaling Station Museum – and no; the picture isn’t distorted.

On-Hand Teaching

The reserve has an army of over 170 docents. Typically you can find these well-informed individuals strategically located throughout the park to provide you with all manner of information, be it historic or natural. Several points on the shoreline trails have docents with high-powered monoculars to let you see the wildlife out at sea. Others have pictorial displays and hands-on exhibits to help you understand what you see. If you pass the docent with the otter pelt on display, make sure to run your fingers over it -The sea otter pelt may be the softest thing you’ve ever felt.


The park offers a number of hikes, none of them strenuous, along the shoreline, or else to several of the shoreline points in the park and all through the densely wooded areas between Route 1 and the shoreline. There is plenty of opportunity for scrambling over the rocks at the shoreline as well as peering down into numerous inlets where you are likely to find a sea otter swimming or a blue heron waiting patiently for its next meal. Click on the button for “Hike” to see the loop of trails around the park.

  • The park is rich in vegetation, but unfortunately much of it is poison oak so it’s important to keep to the designated paths.
  • There is only limited parking and if you’re there on a busy day it’s likely that you will need to park out on Route 1 and walk into the park.
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