Happy Friday! Wishing you a fabulous weekend! Today I’d like to share pics from a hike we went on to see elephant seals in the wild at Año Nuevo State Park.
Año Nuevo State Park
Año Nuevo State Park located 20 minutes north of Santa Cruz off Hwy 1 has one of the largest mainland breeding colonies for northern elephant seals in the world.
The Natural Preserve got established as recent as 1978 to protect the elephant seals along with many other animals such as otters, California sea lions, coyotes, cormorants, terns and more.
It’s the elephant seals that are the main attraction here. Especially from the months of January – March when thousands of elephant seals come on to the beach to give birth and nurture their young ones.
Thousands of elephant seals and their babies from January- March
Elephant seals can be observed year round here but the best time to see thousands of seals is in January – March when babies are born and again from July – August when the seals return to molt and shed their skin.
Up close look
The cool part of this park is the guided tour takes you right next to the elephant seals! Some are almost touching distance.
4 mile hike on trails and sand dunes to reach the elephant seal beach
The docent lead hike takes you past beautiful ocean scenery across ponds and sand dunes towards the beach where seals lay basking in the sun.
Mustard flowers in bloom
It’s mustard flower season and these wildflowers were blooming in profusion on Hwy 1 as we drove towards Ana Nuevo.
4 mile hike deserves a coffee break in Santa Cruz
After our hike at Ana Nuevo we stopped in downtown Santa Cruz for a delicious cup of coffee and yogurt parfait at Verve Coffee.
An amazing opportunity to see elephant seals up close
For a wonderful hike to see elephant seals up close with beautiful scenery around, head to Ana Nuevo State Park in Pescadero, California.