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.
View from gate 1 at Garrapata State Park. Pelicans, seen as a faint line in the center of the picture, were flying toward us from a distance.
View of the shoreline from Garrapata State Park gate 1. No idea what the two men in orange suits were doing.
View from the end of one trail at gate 4, Garrapata State Park.
Gate 7 is my favorite because it has two small waterfalls created by Soberanes Creek as it flows toward the ocean.
First waterfall at gate 7, Garrapata State Park.
Second waterfall at gate 7, Garrapata State Park.
Looking down at a cove at gate 7, Garrapata State Park.