Virtual Guidebook to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur and Central Coast
Guadalupe Dunes and Point Sal
near Guadalupe California


Guadalupe is a small farm town on a little-travelled stretch of Highway 1. Just west are the Guadalupe Dunes, a continuation of the 18-mile stretch of beach and sand dunes that begins at Pismo Beach. Ownership and management is fragmented, with county, state, and federal agencies involved, but all have the same basic mandate to preserve natural features and wildlife.

Mussel Rock Dune, 500 feet (150 meters) high, is the highest dune on the California coast. Point Sal marks the end of the long beach. It is a dramatic headland and a state park, but unfortunately road access has been cut off.

Cecil B. DeMille built elaborate sets for his epic movie of The Ten Commandments in the Guadalupe Dunes in 1923, with the Santa Maria River standing in for the Nile. The sets were buried in the sand when filming concluded, but bits and pieces sometimes emerge. Union Oil Company ran a very messy oil field and refinery here for decades, which is now being cleaned up.



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Highway 1 is the main street of the small agricultural town of Guadalupe

(June 11, 2010)


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The Guadalupe Dunes Center in a classic Craftsman house provides information about all the various units of the dunes complex

(June 11, 2010)


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Extremely windy conditions at Guagalupe Beach have buried the picnic table in drifting sand

(June 10, 2010)


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The road to Point Sal is closed but a hiking trail over the ridge and down to the beach begins here

(June 10, 2010)


Next Locality: Vandenburg Air Force Base and Lompoc