Highway 1 is open during the day to Hearst Castle. However, between the towns of Gorda and Ragged Point, Highway 1 is not open due to roadwork Sunday nights through Friday mornings (from 10pm to 7am). Motorists may encounter one-way traffic controls in these areas even when full closures are not in effect. For more information on Highway 1 conditions please visit www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm

Elephant SealsIn 1990, just under two dozen elephant seals were seen on the beach just south of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Then their migration pattern began to extend decisively. The next spring, more than 400 seals were counted. After that, the population continued to grow every year. Now about 17,000 elephant seals call this beach their home.

While seals can usually be seen at the beach all year long, the best times to visit are during late January, April and October. Viewing is open to the public free of charge from the Elephant Seal Boardwalk.  It is an ideal location from which to view the seals from a safe distance, and docents are on site to answer questions.

To learn about the seals before you go, visit them on a webcam from Friends of the Elephant Seal—a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the elephant seals by educating the public about this amazing mammal and other sea life.
Visit Friends of the Elephant Seal »

Directions from Hearst Castle

From San Simeon CA, head north from Hearst Castle onto California Highway 1, for about four and a half miles.
Located just off the west side of Highway 1, the parking lot is open to the public
and is just a short distance from the Boardwalk overlooking the beach area and the elephant seals.