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:

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