Calla Lily Valley: The hidden gem in Carmel-By-The-Sea

January 5, 2017

Duration: 1-2 hours



After entering the park, you can see this part of the beach

After leaving the scenic 17 Mile Drive in Monterey Bay on the last day of December 2016, we drove about 10 more minutes to Garrapata State Park, on Pacific Coast Highway 1. The park is easy to find but parking may be easy to miss! You may notice the little sign on the right if you drive from the North to the South (see Map). That’s where you can park your cars along the highway, and walk toward the beach by following the little trail.

Once entering the park, you will not be able to see the valley immediately and there is no sign to show you where it is! Just follow the trail and keep walking to the right, and you will see a little valley with lots of Calla Lilies! There is a small staircase that leads to the valley so you can walk down there easily. Don’t be silly like me by following the trail to the steep rock and trying to climb down to the valley :()


I read in some reviews that there may be poison ivy there so to be safe, wear some gloves and full clothes to protect yourself. I did notice some ivy looking plants but I am not sure if they are poisonous.

There is a small creek underneath the flowers and it can be muddy so I’d recommend to wear some water proof shoes or rain boots. I tried to get into the field and accidentally stepped right into the mud. It’s not fun to have wet shocks for the remaining of the trip!

Photography Tips

I went there at noon so the sun was pretty bright but inside the valley, it is pretty dark so taking pictures with both the sky and the flowers was challenging. I’d recommend to stay until sunset to take pictures if you can.

I took these pictures with Canon 24-70mm with a polar filter on to help make foliage look more saturated. However, the sky was still pretty bright so I had to reduce to 1 stop. I’d rather have a slightly under exposed picture than losing details in the sky. You can easily get the details in the shadow back by increasing shadow slide in Lightroom. For the sky, you can decrease the highlight to get back some details like clouds on the sky.


Beautiful Calla Lilies Using Canon 24-70mm f/2.8



Alex is a Software Engineer at Google, an educator and an amateur photographer living in the beautiful Orange County

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