Point Lobos State Reserve has magnificent scenery, views and examples of many natural habitats including tide pool and marine environments. The natural coastline is stunning and provides miles of coastal habitats. There are two main tide pool areas both with unique features and marine life. There are docents on the weekends that will help answer questions for visitors. Make sure to reserve several hours to explore this magnificent park.
The park is located just south of Monterrey Bay between Carmel and Big Sur. There is a well defined park entrance and a fee is required. There are two tide pool areas so decide which one you want to see and park nearby. It is possible to walk between areas if you are fit and enjoy a bit of a hike. There are restrooms and water available in all parking areas.
Tidepool AccessThe Moss cove tide pools are located in the far northern part of the park. Follow the trail all the way past whalers cove to Moss cove. The tide pools are located down the slope where the trail ends. Weston Beach is the other location and provides a better and more numerous variety of tide pool life. Park near the Weston Beach Parking area and it is a short scramble down rocks and short stairs.
Points of InterestWeston Beach has two very distinct tide pool areas. There is a large calm pool of sea water that is protected from direct wave action by a shallow reef. This area gets flushed with water only during the higher tides. This pool support many algae and animals that prefer calmer water. This area is packed with various types of green, brown and some larger red algae species. There are lots of snails and limpets. Few sea stars and urchins can be found in this area. The area is however flat but the rocks are covered by algae and very slippery.
Just along the coast from this pool is the more exposed areas. The coast line in this area is rugged in some areas but does have an occasional tidal bench that is easier to walk on. This exposed area is great for mussels, barnacles and other animals that prefer stronger wave actions. The area also has several deeper pools that harbor small juvenile fish. Looks for these smaller pools and flatter areas exposed to the ocean as they are packed with marine life. Lots of mussels, barnacles, sea urchins can be found in the lower areas along with sea stars on the edges of the mussel beds. Many species of crabs can also be found scurrying between the rocks.
The Moss Cove area is less extensive but provides a good diversity. This area is exposed to some wave action and has a wide diversity of algae and animals. Look for the low lying rocks near where the trail ends as this is the best location. This is best at a low tide and none-existent at high tides.