Near San Simeon in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Point Piedras Blancas, A Recent Colony
Thousands Strong and Growing…
In the late 1800s whalers discovered elephant seal blubber yielded extremely high quality oil. Hunted by the thousands for several decades, these animals were thought to be extinct until a small group was found on Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California. All northern elephant seals today are descended from that remnant population.
What a Comeback!
Elephant seals populated this beach only recently. In 1990, biologists spotted over a dozen animals for the first time. In 1992, the first pup was born, and by 1996 over 1,000 pups were born here at Pt. Piedras Blancas! Today that number has quadrupled. The total population of this colony is now more than 15,000.
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Since 1997, volunteers have served an important role in protecting these animals and educating visitors. For more information look for a docent in a blue jacket.
Protected By Law
In 1922 Mexico became the first government to protect elephant seals, followed by the United States. Today elephant seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
Erected 2008 by California State Parks.
Location. 35° 39.814′ N, 121° 15.508′ W. Marker is near San Simeon, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker is on Cabrillo Highway (California Route 1) 4˝ miles north of Hearst Castle Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. This sign is at the north (west) end of the Elephant Seal Vista Point/Point Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery parking area. Going north on Hwy 1 (you're actually traveling west in this area), go 4.5 miles past the main gate to Hearst Castle (on the right) and turn into the parking lot on the left. Marker is in this post office area: San Simeon CA 93452, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sebastian Store (approx. 4 miles away); Nitt Witt Ridge (approx. 11.2 miles away); Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Lens (approx. 11.3 miles away); Cambria Veterans' Memorial Preserving a Bit of History (approx. 12.1 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Friends of the Elephant Seal. The Northern Elephant Seal, Mirounga angustirostris, is an extraordinary marine mammal. It spends eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving 1000 to 5800 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours, and migrating thousands of miles, twice a year, to its land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest. The Piedras Blancas rookery, on Highway 1 seven miles north of San Simeon on the California Central Coast, is home to about 17,000 animals. The area is open for viewing every day of the year and there is no admission fee or reservation required. It is located 14 miles north of Cambria and 89 miles south of Monterey at 35° 39' 48" N and 121° 15' 28" W. The viewing areas are accessable to wheel chairs... (Submitted on March 18, 2015, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
2. Pacific Coast Highway - California Coast
The Elephant Seals of Piedras Blancas. Until recently, the huge seals lived in isolated areas far away from humans. Then, amazingly, in 1990, they started colonizing the unspoiled beaches and coves just south of Point Piedras Blancas on the California coast. Their chosen location is just off of the ...Pacific Coast Highway (California Highway 1), a few miles north of the famous Hearst Castle at San Simeon. Tourists may simply pull off the road into a parking lot, take a short walk, and observe hundreds and sometimes thousands of elephant seals. It is a sight one would normally associate with some exotic locale in a National Geographic... (Submitted on March 18, 2015, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
Categories. • Animals • Environment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 18, 2015, by James King of San Miguel, California. This page has been viewed 260 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 18, 2015, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.