When Is the Best Time
The spectacular coastline, the beach, and hikes are worth for several stops year-round. 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 marvelous highlight for us in California.
Spring (special season):
An amazing time when colorful wildflower carpets cover most of the coastal area.
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
The Garrapata State Park is utterly overlooked therefore not busy like all the other State Parks. It's such a 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.
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 (bookmark the link)
Most people experience the Garrapata State Park by accident along the HWY 1 although it's worth to stay 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 in the busy month of August. If your schedule allows staying at least a night here. The best situated hotel with spectacular views is the Resort Hyatt Carmel Highlands.
Where and Tips
The breathtaking Garrapata State Park is directly located along the famous HW 1. However, not many cars stop for a look; walk or climb some of the many hikes. In total, there are 19 stops. If coming from Monterey, the first stop is immediately after the State Park sign on the right. Coming from the south directly behind the bridge above the Garrapata Creek 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 it's rare to experience them full. Number 7,8,9, and 10 are leading to different hiking trails.
Stops You Shouldn't Miss
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 site were closed (August 2017) included the Soberanes Canyon. Update April 2019; Just the first 1.5 miles into the canyon are accessible.
Dogs are allowed at the beach only.
There aren't any information provided at the stops. Download the map before visiting Garrapata:
Download Garrapata brochure and map