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Monterey Bay Sea Otter

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Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park, an unknown Big Sur jewel, is a treasure to those who have discovered it. Garrapata State Park's unpopulated hiking trails provide access to both the beautiful Big Sur coastline and the breathtaking Santa Lucia Mountains and lie within a short drive of Carmel. Soberanes Point is named after the Ezequiel Soberanes Rancho that was once located there, while Doud River is named after the one-time Doud Ranch which owned a large section of what is now Garrapata State Park.

This park is subtly marked, with only one "Garrapata State Park" sign and nineteen discreetly numbered turnout markers, and aficionados prefer to keep it that way so it remains unspoiled. These numbered markers lead to some of the best Big Sur hiking trails. Garrapata State Park's redwood groves and spectacular coastline are largely hidden from the road, seen only by those who take to its trails.

Day Use

Unspoiled Garrapata State Park is a perfect spot for rugged Big Sur hiking and great ocean fishing. Migrating whales pass by Garrapata State Park's shoreline during winter migrations, and can be seen with the naked eye from Soberanes Point. Garrapata State Park is also a great spot for photography. Cycling is allowed on the Rocky Ridge hiking trail only. Dogs, which must be kept on leash at all times, are only allowed on Garrapata Beach.

Hiking

Some of the best Big Sur hiking trails are hidden at Garrapata State Park. To explore Garrapata State Park's rocky cliffs, park at Turnouts 7-10, all of which give access to the Soberanes Point hiking trails. For beach access, stop at Turnouts 18 or 19, both of which give coastal access. Turnout 18 is also near the trail head for the picturesque Doud Creek Trail.

The trailheads for the popular Soberanes Canyon and Rocky Ridge hiking trails are located at Turnout 13. Refer to number 7 on our page Top Ten Day Hikes in Monterey County for a detailed description of this hiking loop.

Read more on the blog, "Tales from the Trail: Rocky Ridge Trail, Garrapata State Park."

Map and Directions

All turnouts for Big Sur's Garrapata State Park are located on the west side of Highway One.

From Rio Road in Carmel, drive 6.7 miles south and look out for the "Garrapata State Park" sign. The first numbered turnout is located immediately after that sign, with turnouts 2-19 following. If you pass a mile marker labeled "MON 63.00," you've gone too far.

From Big Sur, drive 18 miles north (slightly north of Rocky Point) and watch for mile marker "MON 63.00." Turnout 19 lies shortly thereafter.


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