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A visitor's permit is required to see the seals. These permits are issued between 8:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M. at the park entrance. Guided walks are also available during elephant seal breeding season which runs from December through March, although the elephant seals can be spotted year-round.
Reservations are encouraged for these as space is limited – call 650-879-2025.
Download the map here
Here you can see 10,000-pound elephant seals in their natural habitat while hiking along the rugged outer coast. Also keep an eye out for migrating whales, sea lions, harbor seals, coyote and wild flowers.
For a moderate-easy 4.3-mile stroll you can circle the flat but fully exposed preserve on the Upper Pond Trail and Año Nuevo Point Trail. This trail is moderately trafficked and is a great spot for hiking, walking, birding and spotting elephant seals. Año Nuevo State Reserve is home to the largest mainland population of northern elephant seals in the world.
In 1997, POST purchased the 6,391-acre Cloverdale Coastal Ranch which surrounds Año Nuevo State Park. It was the biggest undeveloped and unprotected property on the Central Coast at the time. POST donated 900 acres to Butano State Park, connecting it to Año Nuevo State Park.
Año Nuevo State Reserve is home to the largest mainland population of northern elephant seals in the world.