Garrapata State Park - The Jewel on HW 101

Garrapata State Park - The Jewel on HW 101

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

Garrapata is one of the most exceptional State Parks on HW 101. Located just three miles south of the frequently crowded Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Overall there are 19 stops to explore Garrapata and its beauty. The spectacular coastline, the beach, and hikes are worth a break throughout the year. The summer is the foggiest season. Clearer skies and the best time for a visit are September and October followed by April and May. The beautiful scenery of Garrapata with very view visitors was a marvellous highlight for us in California. Bring a jacket it is windy at the coast. 

Spring (special season): 

Garrapata Wildflowers

An amazing time when colourful wildflower carpets cover most of the coastal area.

Garrapata Beach during low tide

If visiting the beach, the best time is low tide. At high tide, parts may be inaccessible especially during strong surf. Tide times for Garrapata Beach

Tourist Crowds

The Garrapata State Park is utterly overlooked therefore not crowded like all the other State Parks. It gets a little busy during the weekends, but due to the many spots in the State Park, it is rarely overrun. It's such breathtaking coastal scenery with awesome walking tracks that you shouldn't miss. Plan at least half a day and make several stops. You won't regret it. 

Weather

Garrapata in Fog

It’s a moderate cool coastal climate with moist air. The average temperature is between 50 to 65°F year-round. Most of the precipitation occurs from October to April with up to 50 inches / 1270 mm. Fog happens between May and October usually from evening until late morning. If it’s hot in the backcountry, the fog might stay until the afternoon. It provides moisture for the redwoods along the coast in the dry summer months.

Where to Stay

Most people experience the Garrapata State Park by accident along HWY 1 although it's worth staying here for the entire day. It's one of the most beautiful parks along Highway 1. What we loved most; we were most of the time alone on the hiking trail. Very difficult to get such a benefit during August where all other parks are overrun. You always get a parking space even during the busy summertime. If your schedule allows I recommend staying at least a night here. The best-situated hotel with spectacular views is the Resort Hyatt Carmel Highlands.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

California, HWY 1, Carmel
United States
United States

The breathtaking Garrapata State Park is located along the famous HW 1. Nevertheless, not many cars stop for a look, walk or hike, although there are many trails available. There are 19 stops in total. If coming from Monterey, the first stop is immediately after the State Park sign on the right. Coming from the south, directly behind the Garrapata Creek bridge, are the first two stops, number 18 and 19. They give access to the marvellous beach. Most of the provided parking lots are small but usually enough. Number 7,8,9, and 10 are leading to different hiking trails. Trails are easy to walk, however, don't let your children walk unattended especially not close to the sea. 

Stops You Shouldn't Miss

Sea Otters Garrapata
 

If time is limited, you should stop at least at number 6 for a coastal walk and 19 for the one-mile long beach. While walking the coastal path, have an eye to the sea, and you may spot sea otters in the kelp forests, seals, and sometimes even migrating whales. We spotted sea otters and seals in one day. Due to the significant damage of a wild campfire in July 2016, which took the firefighters 83 days to extinguish, all hikes on the eastern side were closed  (August 2017) included the Soberanes Canyon. Since April 2019, just the first 1.5 miles into the canyon are accessible.

Dogs are allowed at the beach only.

Top Tip

There isn't any information provided at the stops. Download the map before visiting Garrapata:
Download Garrapata brochure and map

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I love adventurous trips and my husband…