Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Año Nuevo State Park, California

Elevation Gain296ft
Trailhead Elevation109ft
Elevation Min/Max18/109ft
Elevation Start/End109/109ft

Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Ano Nuevo Point Trail is a hiking trail in San Mateo County, California. It is within Año Nuevo State Park. It is 1.9 miles long and begins at 109 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 296 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Along the trail there are informations and benches. Near the end of the trail is a viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Upper Pond Trail and New Years Creek Trail.

Ano Nuevo State Reserve Professional Reviews and Guides

"This trail passes along marine terraces through coastal scrub out to Point Año Nuevo. A massive sand dune on the point offers a sweeping view over Año Nuevo Island and surrounding coastal waters. The island features an abandoned lighthouse, and is home to harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller sea lions. An elephant seal breeding area lies on the mainland. The intimate meeting between hikers and seals along this route is unsurpassed. The hike is easy and flat, following a good trail. From the staging area, the walk is mainly in the sand. Near the point, you may encounter seals sleeping in the trail; stay as far from the animals as possible. During the breeding season, from December to March, access to the Wildlife Protection Area is only by guided walk."

"Año Nuevo State Reserve is home to a large population of elephant seals, the largest pinniped in the ocean. The seals come ashore at various times of the year to molt, mate, and occasionally wage bloody battles for breeding rights. An easy day hike leads you out along the Año Nuevo headlands to the scene of all this natural drama: broad sandy beaches nestled up against the dunes of the point. A limited number of visitors are allowed in each day. Call in advance for season-specific information and reservations."

"For a truly unique experience, take this easy hike (self-guided or with a docent) through scrub-lined coastal bluffs, dunes, and flowerspeckled grasslands to watch giant, molting elephant seals bask on beaches, visible from viewpoints along the trail.

You’ll see migrating birds and other sea mammals invading a nineteenth-century lighthouse. The human history is rich here too, with a shipwreck, midden sites of the Quiroste Indians who lived peacefully here for thousands of years, an 1862 dairy farm, and more."

"Come here to watch the elephant seals in their yearly rituals. From April through November, you can hike the trail yourself, but you must obtain a hiking permit to enter the Wildlife Protection Area at Año Nuevo Point. Molting elephant seals bask on beaches that are visible from viewpoints along the designated path. During the December 15 to March 31 breeding season, you can see the reserve only by joining one of the regularly scheduled guided walks. These highly informative walks have been designed to minimize disturbance to the animals and their natural habitat. Advance reservations are recommended and can be made as early as October. Beyond the seals, you’ll find another 4,500 acres in the park to explore. Trails Surface: Loose sand and some rocks."

Ano Nuevo State Reserve Reviews

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Easy flat trail to beach would just be a nice Sunday walk, but when you get to see elephant seals lying 30' away, 40-50 of them, while some snort and play in the water on the beautiful california coast, it raises it up several stars. Very interesting docents too! Really glad we did it! Ben
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The Sea Lions are certainly cool. I would actually rate the birdlife as more exciting, and a better chance of a 'natural' encounter. The Docents to their job thank goodness, to keep hikers well away from the lumbering Sea Lions. It can be a bit less than exhilarating, or challenging.

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Trail Information

Año Nuevo State Park
Nearby City
Año Nuevo State Park
Skill Level
Año Nuevo State Park Año Nuevo State Park, 1 New Years Creek Rd., Pescadero 94060; (650) 879-2025 or (650) 879-0227 (recorded park info);
Local Contacts
Point Ano Nuevo, CA
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018