Posts Tagged ‘Sea Lions’


“The greatest meeting of land and water in the world” (according to Francis McComas).

The early morning view south from the Sand Hill Trail

With two very small children we often find ourselves seeking the impossible – to hike rugged and spectacular landscapes that the boys can also enjoy from our backs or the trail without getting tired or bored.  Point Lobos seemed, however, on paper at least, to meet our needs.  The reserve covers a craggy, wooded coastline and offers fourteen relatively short trails to explore the headland, coves, and wildlife. 

 Our arrival was not auspicious however. It was a cold, blustery, and cloudy morning, the queue for the entrance was long, there were few parking spots available, the small people on board were starting to grumble, and, as the ranger station had run out of trail maps by the time we arrived, we were flying blind.  Determined to hike at all costs, we followed random roads until we found a parking place at Piney Woods and decided to take the nearest trail.



There were indeed plenty of sea lions at Sea Lion Point

Sea Lion Point

We found ourselves on the South Shore Trail heading to Sand Hill Cove and Sea Lion Cove. And it was indeed spectacular. Foggy. But spectacular. The frigid air was heavy with the sound of seal lions barking, and it wasn’t long before we spotted a group of them resting on the rocks much to the boys’ delight.

The trail to Sand Hill Cove was easy going and even wheelchair/stroller accessible. After that, the path became more interesting, winding around crags and requiring the occasional bit of scrambling on the way down to Sea Lion Cove.

 The boys loved the cove and occupied themselves watching the surf and sea lions, and throwing rocks into the sea.

On the way back up the sun came out and we saw Point Lobos at its best. The colour of the sea was incredible, and the water so clear that we could watch the sea lions playing in the kelp from the cliff top.

Sea Lion Cove

 The Take Home

Point Lobos, and the hike to Sea Lion Cove, makes an excellent half-day trip for families with toddlers. The trail was long enough to be worthwhile but short enough that the kids didn’t become restless. The path was easy-going for the most part, but included enough scrambling to make small boys happy, and there was sufficient flora and fauna to interest toddlers. Sea Lion Cove itself provides a satisfying ‘destination’ and our boys always require that we are walking to a specific place rather than just ‘hiking a trail.’

Towards Devil's Cauldron

Would we visit again?

Yes. In fact, we are already planning our next visit as we’d like to hike out to China Cove and Gibson Beach, and to try the North Shore Trail. But we would bring warmer clothes next time (it really was exposed, windy, and cold on the cliffs) and arrive earlier to ensure we could find parking near our chosen trail head.

Off into the sunset


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