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Año Nuevo

Elephant seal watching at Año Nuevo State Reserve; learn about fascinating sex lives of gigantic marine mammals

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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  The elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Reserve are not pretty, but they live pretty well. In fact, they're living out one of the... more »

Tips:  Elephant seals are immense, dangerous wild animals (an adult male weighs as much as your car). Never approach and always give them... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Breeding Season

The cycle starts around Dec. 1 with open warfare between bulls to determine who wins the right to reproduce (Año Nuevo's beaches are closed to the public for the first two weeks of December to keep people out of the crossfire).

After the bulls settle who's going to rule the beach for the next few months, the females show up in late... More

2. Molting Season

In the summertime, elephant seals show up (in much smaller numbers) to shed their tough hide. You can find little bits of it along the sandy paths to the main viewing areas along the beach.

Summer can be a much more pleasant time to visit Año Nuevo: no reservations required, no schedules to keep, warmer weather (providing the coast is not ... More