Point Sal, Santa Maria Area
The dramatic, windswept coastline near Point Sal near Guadalupe is home to some of the Central Coasts more 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 species (Steller sea lion, northern fur seal, Guadalupe fur seal, 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 – today the one public road to the area remains washed out by a storm, so no vehicle access is available. 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 make recommendations for future public access improvements. For information, contact the County Parks Department. The Land Trust purchased the 130 acres adjacent to Point Sal State Park from private owners in 1989-90 using Proposition 70 state bond and county Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grants. We then prepared a management plan for this and other public land at Point Sal before transferring the property to the County Parks Department. The county purchased another 320 acre private holding at Point Sal in 1998.
Visiting Point Sal
The Point Sal trail is located at the end of Brown Road which is located South of Guadalupe California on Highway 1. Turn West onto Brown Rd. and follow the road to the locked gate at the roads end.
The trail is moderately strenuous in intensity with an elevation gain of approximately 1,200 feet from the top of the ridge down to the beach and is approximately 12 miles round trip to the beach and back.
Please observe the following trail rules and regulations:
- Trail use is from sunrise to sunset only.
- Please time your hike to be back to this starting point before sunset.
- No overnight camping.
- This trail is for PEDESTRIAN USE ONLY.
- No bicycles, horses or other mechanized vehicles are allowed.
- Stay on the designated trail.
- Public access to the beach follows the road and goes through private property and Vandenberg Air Force Base property. Do not trespass and obey posted signs.
- No firearms or hunting allowed.
- The trail may be temporarily closed from time to time due to military operations.
- Please observe closures and stay off the trail.
- Please park vehicles off the road and DO NOT BLOCK GATE.