Escape from SF: Tule Elk Reserve in Point Reyes

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For this week's "Escape from SF," we ventured out to the Tule Elk Reserve in the Point Reyes National Seashore to observe the fall mating season and the explosion of majestic elk. 

Let's go back a bit: Tule elk gangs had all but disappeared from the area by 1860. However, in the spring of 1978, two bulls and eight cows were brought in from the San Luis Island Wildlife Refuge to repopulate the 2,600 acres of open grassland and coastal scrub at Tomales Point. Flash forward to 2009, more than 440 elk were counted in the area, making the Point Reyes herd one of the largest in California. Today, Point Reyes National Seashore remains the only national park where Tule elk can be found.

Want to see them for yourself? Head out to Point Reyes National Seashore and follow Pierce Point Rd to the very end, at the far north end of the park. Park at Pierce Point Ranch and follow the Tomales Point trail along the gradual ridge walk. You'll see elk roaming on either side of the trail, so it shouldn't take you too long to spot them.

The weather can be a bit of a deterent—but a web cam in the area can help you plan your next visit. Click for directions to the parking lot

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