311. Point Lobos: Cypress Grove

Trentepohlia on Cypress branches
Cypress Cove (spur trail)
Allan Memorial Grove
Pinnacle Point and Cove
Trentepohlia algae

Cypress Grove Trail  (311)

Begins at the Sea Lion Point parking area near the Information Station.  Take the left path at the junction near the restrooms through the coastal scrub to the most iconic and perhaps the most diverse experience at the Reserve -- with high cliffs and dramatic ocean views.  The trail is a less than one mile loop (1.3 kilometers) and takes about 30 minutes to walk.   

Most interpretive docent led walks start at this trailhead.  Check with the Information Station or the website, pointlobos.org for today’s schedule.

Along this trail, amid the dense shrubbery, you may spot several igloo shaped dusky-footed wood rat nests made of twigs fashioned from poison oak and coyote brush. These nocturnal pack-rats live in these houses for generations.

The Cypress Grove Trail winds through one of only two naturally growing stands of Monterey cypress trees remaining on Earth.  The outermost trees mirror the forces of nature and time; they have the ability to survive the salt spray and wind, with their roots seeking nourishment in the cracks and crevices of the steep cliffs of granodiorite.

Take the trail to the right at the “Y” and then take the spur down to Cypress Cove, a favorite of the Southern Sea Otter. You may find Black-tailed mule deer grazing in the grasses under the cypress canopy.

When you reach Pinnacle Point you will find yourself transported to a most spectacular meeting of land and sea - watch for whale and dolphin spouts, and the playful sea lions near the outer rocks.

Look for the orange, velvety growth on the cypress limbs and rocks.  This is a rare species of airborne algae called trentepohlia, that helps the trees gather moisture from the passing mist. 

Take time here to enjoy nature’s array of wildflowers clinging in the granodiorite walls and along the path.

As always, remember that you may not disturb or collect any thing you may find at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and please stay on the marked pathways.