While on a book speaking tour in California, I had a few days where I didn’t have any talks. One one of those days, while I was staying in Santa Cruz, I drove down the coast to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. I was using my down time to get some work done but also needed some exercise.
I had to park along the freeway, as the parking lot was full. As I walked in, I asked the woman in the booth what trails she would recommend for someone who wanted a good workout. She suggested climbing to the highest point in the park, Whaler’s Knoll. I made a note of that, then headed out.
Based on the map I had, I thought it made the most sense to try to do a big loop, with a side trip up to the highpoint for some elevation gain. I headed mostly northwest, to begin with, worked my way around the edge of the Reserve, took a detour up to the top of the Reserve, then returned to finish my loop around the edge. I ended up back where I started, doing about 5 miles of hiking and seeing most of the Reserve.
Sea lions nest on part of the Reserve. While I was there, that spot was blocked off as there were babies and they didn’t want people disturbing them. However, it was possible to still see the sea lions from a distance. There were also a lot of birds in the area and some really pretty beaches.
I didn’t get the impression that there were a lot of good places to stop for a picnic, but if you’re interested in nature and wildlife, Point Lobos State Nature Reserve has a lot to offer.
My GPS route: