Have you ever seen northern elephant seals up close? Want to?
There are a few places along the Pacific Coast where northern elephant seals gather on the beach throughout the year. One such place is the Año Nuevo State Reserve, which is part of the California State Parks system. It's about 65 miles northwest of Hollister, or about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1.
From December to March, reserve visitors can only view the northern elephant seals on guided walks. During this period, the mammals mate, give birth, and wean their pups that later head to sea in April. In the spring and summer, the elephant seals return to Año Nuevo to molt.
For more information about the park and elephant seals, check out these links:
- Año Nuevo State Reserve
- Año Nuevo State Reserve (Every Trail)
- Elephant Seals (California State Parks)
- "Elephant Seal Tracking Reveals Hidden Lives of Deep-Diving Animals" by Tim Stephens (UC Santa Cruz Newscenter)