Piedras Blancas Rookery
The rookery vista point, which has viewing platforms and a boardwalk, is west of Highway One four miles north of the entrance to Hearst Castle. Volunteer docents from the nonprofit group Friends of the Elephant Seal are present almost every day, six hours a day, to provide explanations; when they are not, look for the interpretive panels. Sometimes the seals loll about right next to the highway. They look peaceful, but do not come too close: they are powerful animals, can move suddenly, and have bitten some people who failed to keep a respectful distance.
Friends of the Elephant Seal operates a small visitor center and gift shop in San Simeon at Plaza Del Cavalier, 250 San Simeon Avenue, Suite 3B.
Trailhead: South end of viewing area
Length: Less than .5 mile
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Level
Terrain: FirmThe viewing area before the southern boardwalk can be sandy and uneven in places.
DescriptionAt the south end of the large viewing area is a boardwalk that hugs the bluff for several hundred feet. It is below Highway One, not far above sea level, and provides close-up views of the mammoth animals on the beach below. The 42-inch-high railings may obstruct views from a wheelchair.
A new boardwalk at the north end opened in early December 2010.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Features icon key
- particularly good for families
- wildlife viewing
|Managing Agency:||Friends of the Elephant Seal|
|Hours:|| Always open|
Visitor center: Tues.-Thurs. and Sat., 9 am-4:30 pm
|Dogs:|| On leash|
Dogs should be kept on leash and well away from the elephant seals.
Did You Know?
Although there are some elephant seals onshore year-round, the biggest number are present during the birthing and breeding season, November to March.
Reviewed by Ann Sieck, July 14, 2009
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