The dramatic, windswept coastline of Point Sal is home to some of the Central Coast’s unique geological, botanical, wildlife and archaeological treasures. Point Sal’s coastal dunes, steep oceanside bluffs and wetland habitats support over 300 native plant species, many at the northern or southern extent of their California range. The mingling of two major ocean currents offshore results in an ecologically rich interface of northern and southern marine seal species including Steller sea lion, northern fur seal, Guadalupe fur seal, and northern elephant seal. The eleven different types of habitat found at Point Sal sustain a rich array of breeding and overwintering birds and other wildlife. This area is quite spectacular, but quite remote—the public road to the overlook remains washed out by a storm and inaccessible by vehicle, restricting access to pedestrians only.
In 1989, the Land Trust purchased the 130 acres adjacent to Point Sal State Park from private owners using Proposition 70 state bond and county Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grants. The Land Trust prepared a management plan for this and other public land at Point Sal before transferring the property to the County Parks Department. In 2003, the County Parks released an updated management plan for 863 acres of Point Sal land under county, state and federal ownership. This plan addresses management of the area’s sensitive resources and makes recommendations for future public access improvements. For information, contact the County Parks Department.
Visiting Point Sal
Trail Rating: moderately strenuous, elevation gain of 1,200 feet, approximately 12 miles round trip to the beach and back.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily; occasional temporary closures due to military operations.
Access: The access road is not passable by vehicle, pedestrian use only.
Parking: Park vehicles off the road, do not block gate, and do not leave valuables in vehicle.