Elephant Seal Overlook at Chimney Rock

A group of visitors observe a colony of elephant seals on the beach below.
The Elephant Seal Overlook at Chimney Rock is a great perch to observe the Drakes Beach colony.

NPS Photo / A. Kopshever

Quick Facts
Elephant Seal Overlook at Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore, Inverness, California. Geographic Coordinates: 37.9974, -122.9822

Benches/Seating, Scenic View/Photo Spot

The Elephant Seal Overlook is a short 0.3 mile walk from the Chimney Rock parking area. From the parking lot, follow "Elephant Seal Overlook" signs that direct you down the driveway. Bear left at the Y and continue to the trailhead for the Elephant Seal Overlook trail. The relatively flat dirt trail leads to the Elephant Seal Overlook.

Perched above Drakes Bay, this viewing platform is the best place in the seashore to see a large number of elephant seals. In the winter, the Drakes Beach colony can number over 600 animals by early February. Bring a pair of binoculars to get an up-close view of the seals. Patient visitors have observed pup births, dominance displays of sparring and trumpeting, and breeding. Snoozing is the most common activity. 

On weekends and holidays between late December and March, Winter Wildlife Docents may be available to answer your questions about the elephant seals.

Visit our Elephant Seal Viewing page to learn more.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Last updated: April 15, 2024