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Granite Point, Moss Cove Trail - California, United States

by tclifton  
with a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx
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This is a revisit to a trail I walked last spring but never got around to writing about. It is a nice flat 2 mile out and back from Whaler's Cove to the Ichxenta Point at the northwest corner of the Reserve. The first half of the trail is wheel-chair accessible.

The trail starts across from the Whaler's Cabin Museum. You can park in the Whaler's Cove parking lot, but it will fill up on weekends during the spring and summer. The trail follows the bluff around Whaler's Cove at the north end of Carmelo Meadows. During the spring, you can see a variety of sparrows and finches setting up shop in the meadows. They weren't there today.

At the east end of Whaler's cove, the Carmelo Meadows trail tees into the Granite Point trail. If the Reserve is full, you can park outside and make a short walk down the Carmelo Meadows trail from the entrance station. From this point, the Granite Point trail steps into the Monterey Pine forest. It is a good place to see woodland birds like chicadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.

The trail continues past the Coal Chute Point trail (there is a bench and sign to point it out) and continues above the Pit, the inlet between Coal Chute Point and Granite Point. In the late spring, there is a Great Blue Heron rookery in the pines above Coal Chute Point. Some of the best views are along the Granite Point trail.

From here, the trail drops down to the old road into the Pit. Here you can walk down to the beach at the Pit, go up to a loop around Granite Point or continue east on the Moss Cove trail to Ichxenta Point.

The Moss Cove trail is flat and and goes through former pasture land that is slowly reverting to a wild state. There is access down to the beach at Moss Cove, but it isn't much of a beach, better suited to geologists and harbor seals.

The birding on the trail out to Ichxenta Point is good, though what you see depends on the time of year. This trip I saw lots of sparrows, phoebes, and a Western Meadowlark. Last spring there were Wild Turkeys displaying.

Ichxenta Point provides a good view north of Monastery Beach, part of Carmel River State Beach. I used to scuba dive at Monastery, a number good and bad memories. Also at the point is a chunk of granite (granodiorite if you want to be precise) with a number of pits used to grind up acorns. There are also extensive middens containing abalone shells.

I can almost hear the conversation, "Yeah sure I will go down to the point and grind acorns for mush, but your going to have to bring me abalone."

Anyway, this is an easy hike that most people visiting the Reserve ignore. It shouldn't be.

Point Lobos State Reserve is located about 5 miles south of Monterey, CA on State Route 1.

The Reserve is open from 8 AM to a half hour after sunset. Sunset times are posted at the entrance.

The entrance fee for the Reserve is $10, $9 for seniors. You can park outside the reserve and walk in, a $1 donation is well worth it.

The Reserve often fills up on weekends. You may have to wait at the entrance until a vehicle comes out, before being let in.

Picnicking is only allowed in designated areas; Whaler's Cove, Piney Woods, and the Bird Island parking area.

Restrooms are available at the Reserve entrance, the Piney Woods picnic area, Whaler's Cove, and the Sea Lion Point info station. Toilets are available the Bird Island parking area.

There is lots of poison oak in the reserve, don't go off the trails.

Pets are not allowed in the Reserve.
Point Lobos, california, Hiking, birding, Hiking
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Trip Info
September 28, 2010
Location de l'itinéraire: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, United States
longueur: 2.3 miles
Duration: 1 hour
Activity: Bird Watching
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