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
Southern sea otters
See “A Great Place for Lunch” for Brown Pelicans.
Black-tailed Mule Deer
Western gray squirrels
White-tailed Brush Rabbits
In addition to the plethora of wildlife there is a whaling station museum.
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.