• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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  • Bear Valley Visitor Center Lighting Retrofit:

    Due to safety concerns during the installation of new LED lights, sections of the Bear Valley Visitor Center's exhibit area may be closed through the end of July. More »

  • The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will be closed on Saturday, July 26.

    We are sorry for any inconvenience, but the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center at Drakes Beach will be closed on Saturday, July 26. It will open at 10 am on Sunday, July 27.

Coastal Grassland

rolling coastal grasslands at sunrise
 

The grasslands you see driving to the lighthouse and up to the Tule Elk Preserve are made up of remnant patches of coastal prairie and agricultural ranchlands. Cattle have grazed these areas since the 1830’s. Rolling pasturelands are made up of non-native annual grasses and clovers. Today, remnant coastal prairie patches are made up of perennial bunchgrasses like purple needle grass, California fescue and California oatgrass. Elk and antelope used to roam these grasslands, grazing as they wandered. Summers fogs maintain perennial coastal prairie species year-round. Learn more about how the park plans to restore the native coast prairie.

Springtime in the Seashore’s grasslands brings an abundance of common and rare wildflowers. Early in the spring Douglas iris and another much smaller iris, blue-eyed grass, start blooming. Yellow California poppies are everywhere.

Learn more about the Fire Ecology of Coastal Grasslands.

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Did You Know?

Elephant seals at the main colony at Point Reyes

Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) began breeding at Point Reyes in 1981 after being absent for over 150 years. The population breeds at terrestrial haul out sites at Point Reyes Headland, one of only eleven mainland breeding areas for northern elephant seals in the world. More...