Sunset at Gaviotta State Beach A short walk for waves and wildflowers

The California coast has had so much rain this winter that wildflowers of all kinds are expected to arrive this spring in what people are calling "super blooms". We've been taking some drives around the Monterey Bay area where we live, whenever we have a little time, in search of wildflowers and the photographic opportunities we hope to encounter. Recently we took an evening drive down Hwy 1, a few minutes south of Carmel, to a roadside pull off on a bluff overlooking the rocky coast in the Gaviotta State Park. From the pull off, there is a small path through the dense vegetation. There are forks in the path which each lead to cliff-side overlooks where you can view the rocks and waves below, and get an unobstructed view of the sunset. There is a great deal of poison oak along the sides of the path so great care should be taken to not let you or your clothes come in contact with any plants. It's worth the careful effort required because there are a number of beautiful flowering plants as well. Here are a few of the flower shots I took.

The extraordinarily rocky stretch of the Big Sur coastline is so interesting and spectacularly beautiful. When there's a storm bringing in huge waves which crash on this rocky shore, it's an amazing show to watch. On this visit, the waves were relatively tame, but the show was great anyway as the sun began to light up the clouds with an array of colors. Just hidden from view beyond the point to the south is Big Sur Rock with it's historic lighthouse.

One of the finest views along the Big Sur Coast

There was a steep and rather treacherous trail leading down to the rocks along the waterline which I might have explored except for having a lot of loose camera equipment and remembering that I am still healing from the injuries I sustained on a similar adventure at Point Lobos a couple of months ago. As it was, my wife called to me periodically from the car to confirm that I hadn't done something stupid and fallen in. The view south was rugged and dramatic looking, but looking north was the less dramatic but still beautiful coastline more typical of the Monterey peninsula.

Looking northward toward Carmel

I hiked another 50 yards or so south and found that I could look down on a secluded beach where a small creek was greeting the sea. There was an interesting erosion pattern visible that I imagine was carved on quite a bit by the recent heavy rains. I thought it added another interesting element to the scene.

Gaviotta State Beach
Detail of the varied rock formations that make the Gaviotta shoreline so interesting.

Off shore a ways I could see some secluded rocks poking up through the waves and I love the simple, peaceful compositions they allowed me to capture with the soft colors in the sky being mirrored in the calm ocean.

The two brothers keep to themselves.

I managed to get a three panel panorama shot stitched together in photoshop which includes the whole 180 degree view. This is my grand finally for this series. I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at this sort of blog style presentation. Let me know if you would like to see more of these. Thanks, Sam

Gaviotta Coastline Sam-o-rama
Created By
Samuel Bailey


All images by Sam Bailey of Sam Bailey Photography - visit

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