Virtual Guidebook to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur and Central Coast
Point Piedras Blancas
north of San Simeon California


Point Piedras Blancas is the scenic location of a lighthouse - which unfortunately has had its top tier and light removed (to Cambria). It is open for tours and the surrounding land is in process of transfer to state parks.

But the most notable thing at Piedras Blancas is the elephant seal rookery. These huge marine mammals narrowly avoided extinction in the nineteenth century and began breeding at Ano Nuevo in San Mateo County in 1970. They colonized a beach here at Piedras Blancas in 1990 and have since multiplied tremendously, to more than 15,000.

The elephant seals can be viewed (and smelled) from boardwalks along the low cliffs as they lie on the narrow beaches. In winter the females give birth and later there are epic battles between bulls. Through the summer they haul out on the beaches to moult.



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Elephant seals giving birth on the beach south of Point Piedras Blacas

(January 9, 2006)


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Grazing land on the vast Hearst Ranch, Hearst Castle in distance

(January 9, 2006)


Next Locality: San Simeon