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Valentine's Day: Mating Season! Ano Nuevo State Park: 4.1-Mile Really Easy Hike

Attendees must reimburse me $7each for tickets that I purchased in advance of the tour. This is a 2.5-hour tour guided by the park. Tickets are $7. You MUST arrive promptly at 1:00 at the visitor center for the 1:15 tour, plus allow 15 minutes for parking and gathering.

4.1-mile loop to an elephant seal overlook, along the coast, this hike is easy, although the trails pass through some sections of loose sand. Elevation change is minimal.

Be prepared for windy, rainy conditions, as well as muddy trails. Layered clothing, sturdy shoes and hooded rain gear are recommended. Bring bottled water for drinking. 

Important Note: There is only one safe place to park which is the paid parking lot inside the park. Outside the park there are frequent break-ins.

Parking fee: $10/car. Park ranger requests we pay with tens and not twenties.

Meeting time: 1:00 for a 1:15 tour.

Hiking time2-1/2 hours.

RulesNo dogs. No food.

Meeting place: the Visitor Center.

Getting thereFrom CA 1 in San Mateo County, turn west into the park. The entrance is 12 miles south of Pescadero Road, 3 miles south of Rossi Road, and just north of the San Mateo/Santa Cruz County border.

After hike:  If anyone wants to grab a bite to eat after the hike, Costanoa (a hotel just down the street from Ano Nuevo) has  reasonably-priced food (e.g., burger + salad or fries for $12) at their restaurant/bar. You head north on HWY 1 for 1.1 miles, turn right on Rossi and drive 0.6 miles. You will see Costanoa on the left.

Trailhead details:  Lots of parking in a paved lot. Maps, drinking water, and restrooms at trailhead. Pay phone at entrance station. There is no direct public transportation to the reserve.  

Additional rules: "Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Trails are open to hikers only. No food is permitted in the wildlife protection area (a good excuse for an after-hike lunch of green chili soup at Duarte's in Pescadero). Although you can take a short loop through the reserve's main unit year round, if you want to hike through the wildlife protection area you can do so by permit (available the same day at the reserve) from April to November. From December to March the protection area is accessible only via guided docent walks, and you must pre-register." 

Exposure: Full sun. 

Trail traffic: Moderate.

Trail surfaces: Dirt trails and loose sand.

Season: Nice year round, but from December to March the protection area is accessible only via guided docent walks, and you must pre-register. 

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://www.transitandtrails.org/trailheads/467

GPS coordinates* for trailhead
:
Latitude 37° 7'11.07"N
Longitude 122°18'26.49"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds) 

Gas, food, and lodging
:
Gas, stores, and restaurants north a few miles along CA 1. At Costanoa, on Rossi Road, you can buy great foods to go at the deli, or use a pay phone. No camping in any of the Año Nuevo units, but you can camp at Costanoa.

The Official Story:
CSP's Año Nuevo page 
Park office[masked]

Map Choices
• 
 This hike is described and mapped in 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco, by Jane Huber. Order this book from Amazon.com.
• CSP's park map (pdf)
• Trail Map of the Santa Cruz Mountains(map 2), by the Sempervirens Fund (includes Big Basin, Butano, and Skyline-to-the Sea), is a good map to the unit.
• Tom Taber's Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map.
• Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, Frances Spangle, and Betsy Crowder (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and some reserve information. 

Año Nuevo in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

 View photos from this hike (trails are routed slightly differently than shown in the photos)"

(Text above and below quoted from Jane Huber's Bay Area Hiker Web site.)

"Año Nuevo State Park encompasses miles of San Mateo county coastline and a separate backcountry unit, but most people know the reserve as the northern California destination to see elephant seals. 

During the elephant seals' mating and birthing season, from December to March, the only way to see the seals is on a docent-lead walk. Reservations are hard to come by; easier if you can finagle a weekday visit. From April to November, simply show up at the reserve headquarters and ask for a visitor permit. Staff members can guide you to the most likely spots in the protection area to see seals.     

You can explore Año Nuevo's undeveloped coastline north of the protected area from a string of small trailheads along CA 1, where primitive trails wander through sand dunes to quiet beaches. The reserve also manages a "backcountry," which stretches east uphill into the Santa Cruz Mountains. While this unit, called Cascade Ranch, is attached to the bulk of the park's coastline property, it feels completely separate, and possesses none of the amenities offered at the park headquarters. 

This hike is also good spot for bird watching -- raptors including redtail and coopers hawks are frequently sighted, as are goldfinches and wrens. 

In addition to the famously protected elephant seals, California sea lions, harbor seals, and steller sea lions visit or live in the area. We might also see dolphins. 

A short and beautiful boardwalk leads to the viewing area where you can often spot seals just off the shore. You may hear the elephant seals' distinctive vocalizations (kind of like the competitive deep drawn-out belly burps of teenage boys), a sure sign that seals are not far away. 

There are also sweeping views to Año Nuevo Island and North Point." 

     

Ano Nuevo Point TrailOn the trail to the North Point Seal ViewpointElephant seals on the beach at North PointView south on the returnSand duneReturning, with a great view east to the ChalksPond Loop Trail

(Text above and below quoted from Jane Huber's Bay Area Hiker Web site.)


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  • Jeff G.

    That was fun.

    1 · February 14, 2014

    • Teresa P.

      Nice to meet you Jeff.

      February 14, 2014

    • Jeff G.

      You as well Teresa!

      February 15, 2014

  • Steve

    Good hike, great company. Also, great photos Amanda! Thanks for sharing them.

    February 15, 2014

  • Teresa P.

    Gorgeous weather- great meeting lots of new people. Thanks for waiting Byron etc!

    February 14, 2014

  • Amanda

    What a beautiful day!! Thanks to all the organizers!

    1 · February 14, 2014

  • Steve

    It looks like it will be a nice day for the hike, 55-60 degrees. See you all at the visitor center at 1 pm.

    1 · February 14, 2014

  • Byron

    Does anyone want to carpool to this event from the park-n-ride lot at the intersection of Woodside Road and Freeway 280 ?

    February 10, 2014

    • Teresa P.

      I'm coming from Fremont- would be interested in car pooling - can you verify where /which park n'ride? I'll find it - just want to be sure! Thanks

      February 13, 2014

    • Teresa P.

      I found ParknRide mentioned I your profile - What time?

      February 13, 2014

  • Anthony

    Sorry, I had to cancel. Now I will unfortunately be working tomorrow instead.

    February 13, 2014

  • Stl

    Is anyone coming from SF or north peninsula who wants to ride together? I'm in So Sf, right off 101.

    February 12, 2014

  • Stl

    @steve-do you have anymore tix? i see that there are 3 spots available. If so how do we get tix?

    February 11, 2014

  • aze

    I will be unable to make it friday due to auditors at work. Anyone on the waitlist want my two tix?

    February 10, 2014

    • Myrna

      Aze, sorry you wont be able to use the tickets you swapped with me.

      February 11, 2014

  • Ray

    Can you provide me payment instructions for the $7 tickets. I wish to pay you ASAP!

    February 10, 2014

  • Pam

    I have been out of touch for a while. Forgot we had to buy tix. I'm ok ready on the RSVP. Can I still come and pay you then?

    February 7, 2014

  • Pam

    I have been out of touch for a while. Forgot we had to buy tix. I'm ok ready on the RSVP. Can I still come and pay you then?

    February 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    You should have received my check last week

    January 21, 2014

  • Amanda

    Hi Zeta, I just confirmed my +1. I'll send you a check soon. Thanks for organizing this! We're excited! :)

    January 21, 2014

  • David

    I am canceling for now. Have to see what happens with my kids

    December 29, 2013

  • Pam

    Due date for payment?

    December 29, 2013

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