302. Point Lobos: Lace Lichen Trail

Entrance to the Lace Lichen Trail
Lace Lichen on Monterey Pine Tree
Western end of the Lace Lichen Trail -right to Info Station, Left to Sea Lion Point

Lace Lichen Trail (302)

The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”

Landscape artist Francis McComas’ bold but justified claim for Point Lobos remains unchallenged. All who come here agree that the beauty of this tree-clad headland is unequaled. Walk gently. Breathe deeply. Reflect. Discover its spirit for yourself.

The Lace Lichen Trail is the main trail from the entrance to Sea Lion Point, Cypress Grove Trail and the Information Station. Please do not use the paved roadway. This trail is designed for easy walking and accommodates strollers.  This trail begins just past the Entrance Station, on the left, and parallels the main road through pine trees and coastal scrub. (¾ mile, 18 minutes)

The land mammals of the Reserve most likely to be seen during daylight hours are black-tailed mule deer in the woods or at the edge of meadows, where bobcats may also sometimes show themselves; bushy-tailed western gray squirrels in the pines, California ground squirrels near shoreline vegetation and rocks, and white-tailed brush rabbits in the open but never far from protective shrubs.

The best places to watch whales are Sea Lion Point and the headland on Cypress Grove Trail. Between December and May, migrating gray whales surface and dive offshore at Point Lobos. Look for a spout of mist.

The Point Lobos landscape, a mosaic of bold headlands, irregular coves and rolling meadows, was produced over millions of years through interaction between land and sea. Rocks that formed below the earth’s surface were uplifted, exposed and then shaped by waves and weather into a variety of forms.

Granodiorite, a coarse-grained, igneous rock that formed about 80 million years ago, makes up the craggy landscape of much of the north shore, while the terrain of Sea Lion Point, the south shore, and Whalers and Moss Coves are comprised of the Carmelo Formation, a sedimentary rock at least 55 million years old.

Grassy meadows are sprinkled with many delicate wildflowers. White clusters of small, six-pointed flowers of Fremont’s star lily signal “spring” in February. Other species create a changing palette throughout the year.

Discover the treasures of Point Lobos as you walk the trails within this natural reserve.