• Olympic: Three Parks in One

    Olympic

    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Work Scheduled for East Beach Road at Lake Crescent Starting July 10

    East Beach Road will be reduced to one-lane of traffic through work zones and delays of up to 15 minutes should be expected. Work will occur weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. through mid-July, weather permitting.

  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry for three weeks beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

California Sea Lion

Four California sea lions on a rock

California sea lions often lounge on offshore rocks of the Olympic Peninsula.

California Sea LionZalophus californianus

Identification:
Maybe best known for their distinctive circus-like bark, California sea lions are so called because of their breeding grounds in California's Channel Islands. They are smaller and more vocal than the Steller's sea lions that haul out alongside them in the offshore waters of the Olympic Peninsula. Though usually darker in color than Steller's sea lions, California adult males are further distinguished by a prominent crest on their head.

Habitat:
The Olympic coast lies along the migratory path of both California and Steller's sea lions. On the way to foraging areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, California sea lions feed in the coastal waters in the late summer and early fall. They haul out in masses on the abundant offshore rocks, amiably alongside their larger cousins. These whiskered creatures are often visible on the islands off the coast of Cape Flattery and Cape Alava, arriving in late summer or early fall, and often staying through spring.

Diet:
California sea lions feed mainly on squid, smelt, codfish, rockfish, and most other available fish.

Back to Species List

Did You Know?

View of the Elwha Valley

Did you know that in 1988, Congress designated 95% of Olympic National Park as Wilderness. The Olympic Wilderness is a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. More...