Outdoors Magazine

Better* Than Big Sur

By Everywhereonce @BWandering

Point Lobos Natural Reserve

Before we get to the meat of the matter we should probably address that title asterisk first – Better*

We concede that if you’re looking only for postcard perfect beauty, you might not find anywhere on the west coast “better” than Big Sur, California. In fact, you may not find anywhere on the planet that could make that claim. But if you’re at all interested in factors other than just raw beauty, Point Lobos might have Big Sur beat.

That’s not to say Point Lobos isn’t beautiful. Located just to the north of Big Sur, this state natural reserve shares the same dramatically rocky coastline as it’s sibling to the south. Famed landscape artist Francis McComa even called the area “The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”

Point Lobos Natural Reserve2

It also happens to be far more accessible than the miles of isolation known as Big Sur. Adjoining California’s quaint Carmel by the Sea, Point Lobos is just a few quick miles from cafes, art galleries, and – of course – internet connectivity. Another ten minute drive north delivers you into Monterey with its renowned aquarium and historic Cannery Row.

But what put Point Lobos over the top for us were its miles of easy walking trails. Whereas much of Big Sur is experienced from highway overlooks, Point Lobos is best explored on foot.

Glad to be out of the car we took our time meandering from high bluffs to secluded beaches and tidal pools. We scrambled over rocks, strolled well worn paths, and spent a long while spying on the antics of the sea otters who call this nature reserve home.

Point Lobos Natural Reserve Sea Otter

And when the trail turned away from the sea it lead us, surprisingly, through the most remarkable place of all: a fairytale forest of rare and twisted Monterey Cypress trees coated in orange algae set ablaze by the afternoon sun. It’s like nothing else we’ve ever seen anywhere else on earth.

Point Lobos Cypress Grove Trail


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