All visitors are welcome at Año Nuevo State Park, site of one of the largest mainland breeding colonies for the northern elephant seal. A Natural Preserve has been established to protect the elephant seals along with many other animals such as otters, California sea lions, coyotes, cormorants, terns and more. During the breeding season, daily access to the Natural Preserve is available only via guided walks. The Año Nuevo Equal Access Program provides an accessible opportunity for all visitors at the State Park to understand, appreciate, and participate in the park's cultural, historical, and natural heritage. Call (650) 879-2025 for more information.
A generally accessible picnic area, adjacent to the main parking lot, makes for a perfect quick stop before exploring the Año Nuevo Point Trail. An additional accessible picnic area on the west side of the Marine Education Center boasts spectacular views of Año Nuevo Bay, and includes accessible spotting scopes. Accessible parking for both picnic areas is located in the main parking lot. Route of travel between the parking lot and picnic areas is accessible; restrooms at the main parking lot are generally accessible.
The Boardwalk Trail or Equal Access Trail is a 0.27-mile boardwalk that traverses over dunes and coastal scrub along the beach and ends at an observation deck. From the observation deck, visitors are able to view the northern elephant seals. Access to this trail is restricted to guided tour only during the breeding season. More information, including how to arrange transportation to this trail, is available under Equal Access Program.
The Año Nuevo Point Trail offers 1.3 miles (one-way) of accessible hiking trail along coastal bluffs. Hikers are treated to spectacular views of the rugged coastline, sandy beaches and wildlife, with four overlooks that allow viewing of northern elephant seals. A portion of this trail is restricted to guided tour only during the breeding season. The trailhead is located adjacent to the main visitor center parking lot.
Beach wheelchairs are available. Call (650) 879-2025 for more information.
Marine Education Center: Historic barns house a theater, exhibit area, and store. The barns are generally accessible with occasional short sloped areas of historic flooring. Assistance may be needed with the side ramp or entry. Exhibits are accessibly designed. The theater has space to allow wheelchair access. Accessible parking is located in the main parking lot. Route of travel between the parking lot and the Marine Education Center is accessible; restrooms at the main parking lot are generally accessible.
Equal Access Program: During the roving season, from April 1st to November 30th, equal access tours are organized on demand. Please contact the Equal Access Coordinator Office to request a tour. A two week advance notice is recommended. During the elephant seal breeding season, December 15th through March 31st, visitors with a mobility disability may tour the breeding area on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on Special Holiday Mondays. A wheelchair accessible van transports visitors to an accessible boardwalk that leads to where the seals are. Every person in need of mobility assistance may bring up to 2 people on the tour. Reservations are required and may be made starting from November 1st until tours are full. For reservations and further information, please contact the Equal Access Coordination Office at Ano.EqualAccess@parks.ca.gov or (650) 879-2033.
Service Animals: Service animals are welcome at Año Nuevo State Park however, within the Natural Preserve, where elephant seal viewing occurs, the presence of service animals can disrupt the natural behavior of wildlife. This disruption must be avoided during the breeding season, December 15th through March 31st, when the seals are most sensitive. Therefore, during the breeding season visitors with service animals who wish to see the seals are only permitted on the Equal Access Program tours. At other times, service animals may be restricted from full access as necessary to ensure the well-being of wildlife. If you intend to bring your service animal to Año Nuevo, please call (650) 879-2025 ahead of time to receive updates on where you may go with your service animal.