Año Nuevo State Park in Pescadero, CA, is best known for the approximately 10,000 elephant seals who return yearly to breed. Not only does this state park offer this amazing opportunity to watch elephant seals in their natural habitat, but it also brings families from all over the world! On top of the amazing sights, Año Nuevo State Park weather is nearly perfect year round. Winter daytime averages rarely drop below 60 degrees leaving you with a perfect day exploring the beautiful scenery.
5 Things to Do at the Año Nuevo State Park
- Hike the Trails at Año Nuevo State Park
Explore Año Nuevo State Park through its five different hiking trails including Año Nuevo Point Trail, New Years Creek and Steele Trails, Franklin Point Trails, and Whitehouse Canyon Trails.
The Año Nuevo Point Trail is a 3-4 mile hike, round-trip. On this trail, you can see much more than just the elephant seals. The trail begins near the Marine Education Center and theater, which used to be the cattle barn and horse barn of the Steele Ranch. About 400 feet beyond the starting point you’ll come across the 5-ton remnant of the Point Arena’s hull. After meeting with the New Years Creek Trail, you’ll hike above an earthen dam that is home to many endangered species such as the red-legged frog. Following the earthen dam, you’ll see the beauty of Cove Beach. The natural preserve section of the trail is only accessible with a valid permit or during a guided tour.
The New Years Creek and Steele Trails are considered connector trails, but they offer much more than just that. On the New Years Creek Trail, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the California quails who call the northern end of the trail home. With beautiful scenery and a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, don’t miss out on this trail. The Steele Trail is rather short but takes you past the historic Dickerman-Steel house.
The Franklin Point Trails include Franklin Point, Whitehouse Creek, Atkinson Bluff, and Cascade Creek Trails. Franklin Point Trail winds throughout dunes to a secluded beach while the Atkinson Bluff Trail connects Franklin Point to Whitehouse Creek and Cascade Creek. Crisscross your way through a now-rare coastal prairie habitat by hiking both the Whitehouse Creek and Cascade Creek trails
Finally, the Whitehouse Canyon Trails will provide you with a beautiful walk through the redwoods.
- Surf at Cove Beach
This beach stretches 1 mile from the Año Nuevo cliffs to the San Mateo/Santa Cruz county line. Visitors to this beach come for a multitude of reasons from a world-class surf break to seeing the different types of local animals.
- Get Married at Año Nuevo State Park
With all of the surrounding beauty, this would be a perfect place to profess your commitment to the one you love. If you are interested in getting married in Año Nuevo State Park, you will need to obtain a permit by emailing SMPermits@parks.ca.gov.
- See the Elephant Seals at Año Nuevo State Park
The elephant seal’s breeding season begins when the males arrive in December. After about 4 to 6 weeks after the seal pups are born, they will start to molt their black fur coat to reveal a shiny silver coat. For more information on the elephant seals, make sure to check out the park website.
- Take Guided Walks at Año Nuevo State Park
Finally, if you are not adventurous or just prefer a guided walk over a hike, be sure to make a reservation. From guided seal walks to other specialty walks, Año Nuevo State Park has you covered.
After an enjoyable day at Año Nuevo State Park, come back to Mill Rose Inn and relax. Located in beautiful Half Moon Bay, we would love to host you. After a great night’s sleep you will receive a gourmet breakfast delivered right to your room. For more information about Half Moon Bay make sure to download our Vacation Guide.
Photo credit: benketaro / Flickr