Cypress Grove Trail — Point Lobos in Carmel, CA

One of the most popular hikes at Point Lobos and for good reason! This short, clifftop loop takes you through dense cypress groves like the Allan Memorial Grove and also near several coves with gorgeous coastal views. If you only had time a time for one or two hikes in the park, this would be my top pick, along with Bird Island in the China Cove area.

 

Hike Info

Elevation Change: 40 ft
Trail Type: Loop

Date: 4/30/2017
Miles: 0.8 (roundtrip)
Trailhead: Google Maps

 

Getting There

Point Lobos State Marine Reserve in general is a very small park with very tiny parking lots, so be sure to arrive early to snag a spot at the Sea Lion Point parking lot. If this lot is full, you can check the nearby picnic areas like Piney Woods or look for other dirt turnouts along the main road. If all else fails, you can park outside the entrance gate and walk in as many do (and not have to pay the $10 entrance fee)

 

The Trail

The trail is a relatively flat, leisurely stroll under the thick canopy of Monterey Cypress. Point Lobos is one of only two places in the entire world that Monterey Cypress are natively found (the other being Pebble Beach, CA), as they prefer moist areas constantly surrounded by fog.

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The trail splits at the start of the the Allan Memorial Cypress Grove and forms a loop around the main grove. We decided to take the left fork and hike clockwise along the coast.

My mom peering out at South Point through the trees

My mom peering out at South Point through the trees

Love the distinct coastal CA feel of the trees

Love the distinct coastal CA feel of the trees

We were so happy it was a sunny day out

We were so happy it was a sunny day out

Eventually the trees open up, and the trail makes its way along the coast with steps carved into the rock.

Loving the bright turquoise water from the crashing waves

Loving the bright turquoise water from the crashing waves

We saw that lots of the trees were covered in a bright orange, fuzzy moss. It turns out the growth is actually Trentepohlia, a harmless algae that gets its color due to the cartenoids in the algal cells.

Resilient trees growing right on the clifftop

Resilient trees growing right on the clifftop

Mom channeling her inner cypress

Mom channeling her inner cypress

There isn't one particular point of interest along the trail, but the entire area is so just so scenic and unique with the coastal cypress that you could take your time to enjoy each spot.

View of stunning Pinnacles Cove

View of stunning Pinnacles Cove

After passing Pinnacles Cove, Ttere will be a sidetrail to your left that leads to North Point and a view of Cypress Cove. We stopped here for a while to enjoy the incredible view before heading back to the car.

You can see the density of Monterey Cypress in Point Lobos - they grow right up to the edge of the cliff

You can see the density of Monterey Cypress in Point Lobos - they grow right up to the edge of the cliff

The Cypress Grove Trail was one of my favorites along the coast of Central CA, not only for the chance to hike among a rare Monterey Cypress grove, but also because of the beautiful coastline and chances to see plenty of marine wildlife.

Other useful sites:

Point Lobos

Outdoor Project

AllTrails