Today is December 15, which means it is the first day of 3+ months of guided Elephant Seal walks at Año Nuevo State Park! If you haven’t experienced the seals at Año Nuevo before, this is the year to do it. It is unforgettable.
Docents go through extensive training and are highly knowledgeable in the natural and cultural history of the park. They may even be able to tell you anecdotes about individual seals.
To protect the seals during the winter months, visitors can only view the seals as part of a guided walk. The park offers naturalist-guided walks between December 15 and March 31 (except for Dec. 25 and Jan. 30 & 31 for the annual Seal Adventure fundraiser which requires separate tickets). These popular three mile walks over rolling sand dunes last two and a half hours and are considered moderately strenuous. They operate daily from early morning to mid-afternoon, rain or shine.
PUBLIC SEAL WALKS
Public seal walks are offered daily for individuals, families, or groups.
- Starting October 20, tickets go on sale as early as 56 days in advance, and no later than one day before arrival.
- Price per ticket: $7.00 (Children age three and under are free and do not need a ticket.)
- Children age 17 and under require one adult chaperone for each 10 children.
- Each walk has a capacity of 20 people, including chaperones.
To reserve your guided public or school group walk, call 1 (800) 444-4445 or visit http://anonuevo.reserveamerica.com/. ReserveAmerica is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
If all guided walks on Reserve America are sold out, the park does release guided walk tickets on a first come first served basis. It is recommended that you arrive at the park before 12:00pm on weekends and holidays and 2:00pm on weekdays for a chance to purchase these tickets. Although there is no guarantee tickets will be available, the park typically releases 60-120 tickets per day.
You won’t believe how much noise these seals make!
SCHOOL GROUP SEAL WALKS
School group walk tickets are offered weekdays for grades 1 through 12 only.
- Tickets for all school group walks go on sale the first Saturday in October.
- Price per school group ticket: $21.00 (Each ticket allows entry for up to 20 students plus two required adult chaperones, for a total group size of 22.)
- School groups without the required number of adult chaperones will not be admitted on the school group walk.
- Each caller may purchase up to four school group tickets.
EQUAL ACCESS GUIDED WALKS
Seal walks are available on an accessible boardwalk for visitors needing mobility assistance. These tours take place on Fridays, weekends, and select holidays from mid-December through mid-March. The price is $7.00/ person. Reservations are required. For reservations and info, email Ano.EqualAccess@parks.ca.gov, or call (650) 879-2033.
The winter weather can be quite chilly. Be sure to bring warm layers, rain gear, and good walking shoes. Umbrellas, strollers, food and pets are not allowed.
Find more information about what to bring and what to expect on your walk here.
Enjoy your walk with the seals!