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Año Nuevo State Reserve

Año Nuevo State Reserve Review

At the height of mating season, upward of 4,000 elephant seals congregate at Año Nuevo, one of the world's only approachable mainland rookeries. The seals are both vocal and spectacularly big (especially the males, which can weigh up to 2½ tons), and some are in residence year-round. An easy, 1½-hour round-trip walk takes you to the dunes, from which you can look down onto the animals lounging on the shoreline. Note that during mating season (December 15 to March 31), visitors may do the hike only as part of a 2½-hour guided tour, for which reservations must be made well in advance. The area's visitor center has a fascinating film about the seals and some natural-history exhibits (including a sea otter's pelt that you can touch). Dogs are not allowed, even in cars in the parking lot.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Hwy. 1, 13 miles south of Pescadero, Pescadero, CA 94060 | Map It
  • Phone: 650/879–2025; 800/444–4445 for tour reservations
  • Cost: Tour $7, parking $10
  • Hours: Guided tours leave every 15 min, mid-Dec.–Mar., daily 8:45–3
  • Website:
  • Location: Año Nuevo State Reserve
Updated: 05-06-2013

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