Año Nuevo Point Trail Hike Information

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.


  • Hiking
  • No Dogs
  • No Horses
  • No Fishing
  • No Biking
  • No Camping
  • Not Handicap Accessible
  • No Swimming

Hike map

Download the map here

Watch for:

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.

The Año Nuevo Point Trail

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.

Directions to the Año Nuevo Point Trail Hike

This reserve is 20 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. Turn left into the parking lot from Año Nuevo State Park Road.

More About the Año Nuevo Point Property

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.

Get our free hiking guide to explore beautiful POST-protected lands.

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