If you drive south from Carmel toward Big Sur, Garrapata State Park is on your right after about 6 miles. Many people usually hurry on to Big Sur without stopping, which is what I used to do.
However, on this last trip, I did some research and discovered that over a distance of 2 miles (3.2 km) Garrapata has 19 access points called gates, each with several trails that lead you down to view points or a beach. Other trails turn inland toward hills with excellent views of the coast from more than 1,000 ft (300 m). I did not go inland, but found the scenery along the ocean simply stunning with its colors and physical features. Spring flowers were in full bloom, and birds and other animals could be seen practically everywhere. If you read this, be sure to click on any photo to see it in a larger size.
Gate 7 is my favorite because it has two small waterfalls created by Soberanes Creek as it flows toward the ocean.