The Lone Cypress tree at Pebble Beach in Monterey California
June 10, 2020

Visiting The Lone Cypress Tree

The Lone Cypress tree is located on the coast of California in Monterey.  The 250-year-old tree which stands alone near the rough open sea has weathered a lot, but still remains strong.  The tree has survived fires, intense storms, and even vandalism.  I had the chance to visit The Lone Cypress in 2016 while on a road trip from Los Angeles through Big Sur.

The Lone Cypress tree along the rocky coastline in Monterey, California
The Lone Cypress

How to Get to the Lone Cypress

To get to the Lone Cypress, you have to drive along the scenic 17-Mile Drive. 17-Mile Drive is owned by the Pebble Beach Corporation and they currently charge an entry fee of $10.50 per vehicle. There are many highlights along the drive besides the Lone Cypress to help justify the expense.

17-Mile Drive Attractions

As you cruise along the pacific coastline, some of the main attractions you will encounter are: Spanish Bay, Point Joe Vista Point, Bird Rock Vista Point, Seal Rock Creek Beach, Cypress Point Lookout, Del Monte Forest, and Pescadero Point.  In addition, you can stop by the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and enjoy a cold beverage while watching the golfers tee off.

The Lone Cypress is one of the most popular trees in the world. Artists have come to this area for decades to take photographs and paint The Lone Cypress as well as the abundance of flora and fauna native to this region.

Where to Park

As you approach The Lone Cypress, there is ample designated parking along the side of the road. You can see the tree from the road, so little walking is needed. There will likely be other tourists and possibly a tour bus, since The Lone Cypress is such a popular travel destination.

Time of Day to Visit

If you want to take photographs of the cypress tree, I recommend visiting close to sunset. During sunset, the light will be warm and soft. There won't be harsh contrasts from midday sun, and there will be less people too. If there are clouds in the sky, they will light up with reds and oranges as the sun dips below the horizon.

Consider bringing a tripod to help stabilize the camera. As it starts getting darker, a longer exposure will be required. The long exposure creates a dream-like effect as the water is smoothed out and the clouds smear the sky.

The image below from Photo Ephemeris shows the location of The Lone Cypress (red pin) and the location of the sun during sunset (orange line). During winter, the sun sets farther to the south than summer.

Sunset location at The Lone Cypress tree in Monterey

Time of Year to Visit

There is really no wrong time to visit The Lone Cypress.

The temperature, as shown by WeatherSpark below, has little variation throughout the year. There are fewer clouds during summer months than winter.

Annual temperature chart in Monterey California

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