The day use only park draws visitors from around the world to view one of the largest mainland breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seals. The seals return each year to Año Nuevo State Park to breed, give birth, and molt their skin.

Año Nuevo State Park is a natural preserve that has been established to protect the elephant seals, otters, California sea lions, coyotes, cormorants, terns and more. Native plants and an untouched intertidal ecosystem also find shelter inside the Natural Preserve.

Elephant seals can be observed here year round either on a docent lead tour or through a self guided permit system within the Wildlife Viewing Area.

Elephant seal viewing requires a 3-4 mile moderate hike over varied terrain, including sand dunes. Although you can view the elephant seal year-around, some of the best times are:

  • December-March: During this time, males battle for mates on the beaches, and the females give birth to their young on the dunes. You must be on a Guided Walk to see the seals.  Reservations are made through
  • April – November: Visitor permits to see the seals inside the Natural Preserve are issued from  8:30 to 3:30.

Other park features include their Marine Education Center with a natural history exhibit, bookstore, and theater.

Dogs are not allowed.

Address: 1 New Years Creek Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060
Phone: (650) 879-2025