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Location of the Rookery


The Friends of the Elephant Seal support the seal rookery at Piedras Blancas, on California highway 1 at the southern end of Big Sur on the California coast, twelve miles north of Cambria and four miles north of the entrance to the Hearst Castle. The location is ideal for the seals: it is protected by the Piedras Blancas point from storms from the northwest; it has wide, sandy beaches offering pups protection from high water; and it is protected from predators by a kelp forest.

Also important to the seals are the shallow rocky areas just off the beach. These areas are protected by the rocks from breaking waves and provide an ideal location for recently weaned pups to learn how to swim and for the males - from juvenile to adult - to spar.

While most rookeries are on islands off the North American Pacific coast - from Vancouver Island to Baja California - there are other mainland rookeries where the seals may be found. Ano Nuevo, north of Santa Cruz is another major and accessable rookery.

at Piedras Blancas is almost always reasonable for viewing although the wind can, at times, be quite brisk and warm attire is recommended. Click for weather, highway, marine weather, today's tides and San Simeon tide tables information.


Map showing rookery location, California highways 1 and 46 and US Highway 101.


For other views of the coast see the
California Coastal Records Project