Guided Elephant Seal Walks at Año Nuevo State Park are set to begin December 15th and run daily through the end of March.
The Park is home to one of the largest mainland Northern Elephant Seal colonies in the world. Here, pregnant seals begin arriving on the beaches here in early December and pups are everywhere by late January.
The mating season that ensues is a boisterous and raucus affair. Bulls the size of VW Bugs stage operatic and histrionic battles for the females. Throughout the entirety of the birthing and mating season, the parks docents lead visitors on daily walks to explain the lifecycle of the seals and the natural history of the area.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 elephant seals return to Año Nuevo each year from a total population of 215,000 northern elephant seals spread across the Pacific. All are distantly related offspring of a seal colony in Guadalupe Island, Mexico, the last remaining colony to survive after hunting nearly exterminated the species at the end of the 19th century.