Route 1 - San Luis Obispo North Coast Scenic Byway provides expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and several bays that are crucial habitat for California's birds and unique sea life, such as elephant seals. The coast's rugged, craggy rocks and warm ocean are home to many species, which you can often see from viewpoints along the byway.
Morro Estuary serves a critical environmental function for the Pacific Coast, and sustains many species of migratory birds protected by international treaties. The bays and ocean along the route often afford views of otters, seals, sea lions, and whales. View the harbor from land and enjoy its time-tested beauty, or embark into the blue waters of Morro Bay.
To observe one of the many elephant seal colonies directly from the byway, stop at one of the excellent vista points and informational kiosks provided by the cooperative efforts of the California Department of Transportation and Hearst Ranch Corporation. Read the information panels provided to learn more about these fascinating creatures, which can weigh over two tons and exceed 10 feet in length. Like many marine mammals, they were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. Until recently, the huge seals lived in isolated areas far away from humans. In the 1990s, they started colonizing the unspoiled beaches and coves just south of Point Piedras Blancas. One such location is just off of Route 1, north of Hearst Castle at San Simeon. Take the opportunity to view these seals from an overlook on the west side of Route 1 - San Luis Obispo North Coast Scenic Byway.
- Copyright © 1999 San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.
- Copyright © 1999 Forest Daud.
- Public domain. Photo by Martha Alejandre