Information Please

I have booked 28/04/19- 05/05/19 into and out of San Fransisco. Thinking Point Reyes for Bobcat, May be Coyote, Yosemite, if accessible. For Black Bear and a boat trip from Monterey, does anyone have any other ideas for areas for a chance of seeing the bigger mammals ? And is there any particular places at these sites which will be best for me to explore. and which boat operators you would recommend ?

Many thanks Kevin


  • Manul

    Hi Kevin
    We were very happy with ‘Monterey Bay Whale Watch’ in 2017.
    We saw far more Bobcats in the Lucia Mountains than in Point Reyes then but Point Reyes was a very good place for Coyote indeed.

  • kbrown217

    Is the Lucia Mountains the Big Sur area ?

  • CharlesHood

    So far this winter Pt. Reyes has been reliable for bobcat and coyote; in California, one can even see coyotes in urban cities eg San Francisco, and it definitely should be reliable at Pt. Reyes. Monterey Bay Whale Watch runs daily trips and is highly recommended; you can see daily sightings summarized on their website, but you have to click a bit to follow the right link. They have 3-hour, 4-hour, and 8-hour trips, and obviously longer is better. Given the snowpack, I would guess bears are not out of hibernation yet in Yosemite, or if they are, that they would be very easy to see. The roads into Yosemite will be open then but that’s peak season for waterfalls, so if you have not arranged accommodation, do so now and be prepared to come in some distance—I would assume any campground or hotel nearby would have filled a year in advance. Don’t forget to check ringtail cat site near El Portal, per previous reports. In fact, everything I said could have been gleaned from previous reports….

    Charles Hood

    • kbrown217

      Thanks Charles, still finding my way around the site, is the information access through clicking California on the map ?

  • Venkat Sankar

    Others have already given most relevant info, and you’ll find more in the many reports available on the California page.

    Here’s what I can add:
    – Bobcats: Point Reyes is usually a good bet, especially Pierce Point Road and Marshall Beach Road in the mornings and afternoons. You should see multiple Coyotes in a day out there too. Old Hernandez Road and Highway 25 surrounding Pinnacles NP are also good bets for Bobcat.
    – Bears: Sequoia NP (Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow) is much better for bears than Yosemite, but you’ll be too early in the season. If you really want to see one, better try your luck in Northwest California (where they are far less habituated and predictable)–Bald Hills Road and Forest Route 1 (Titlow Hill to Mad River) are not bad. Another option (probably better than NW CA) is the Kern Plateau–try the road from Johsondale to Sherman Pass–and focus on the big meadows. Though that also may not be open…
    – If you are interested in San Joaquin Kit Fox, spotlighting in Panoche Valley is a good bet (see my reports)
    – Monterey Bay Whale Watch comes similarly recommended, and is the only outfitter I go with; try their 8-hour all day trips to maximize chances of Killer Whales, which are very regular in late Apr-May

    As an aside, people don’t seem to talk about Kern County enough on this forum. The mountains on the east side of the county are a great place for mammals, and a bunch of rarities e.g. Ringtail, Spotted Skunk, Fisher, Mountain Lion etc should be possible with effort/luck. There are lots of bears and even White-sided Jackrabbit on the Kern Plateau. Lokern NA (public access can be arranged) is as good, if not better than Carrizo for rare rodents (e.g. Perognathus, Onychomys) and Kern’s part of the Mojave (in/around Desert Tortoise NA) is superb. I always see cool stuff when I visit and more people should…

    • Natalia

      I’m plannng to go to California next summer. Could you be more specific about Kern County? Where exactly do you think is the best areas for ringtail,spotted skunk, fisher and mountain lion?

    • kbrown217

      Thanks, I will certainly visit Kern County, are bears still hibernating in May, or staying hidden whilst breeding ?

  • Andrew Block

    I agree with everything said but my trip on the whale watch produced no mammals but Pacific White-sided Dolphins. They said that was very unusual and gave us a refund but we shall see when I go again someday:-) I enjoyed it very much b/c of all the birds, but most everyone else was bored. I had 2 or 3 bears in and near Yosemite when I was there in November so not sure how visible they are in early spring. We also had a coyote or two there as well. All close views. Good luck.


  • Nick W

    For bobcat in point Reyes, I’ve had best luck on Marshall Beach Road. In three trips over the last month, I’ve had about 16 sightings in daylight hours, most of them coming along that road. Coyote can be seen throughout the park (off the top of my head, I’d say maybe 20 sightings over the same span). A drive out to the point and back shout net a few. Elk should be guaranteed in the park, obviously in the Tule Elk preserve but also near Drake’s Beach and usually the road into Estero trail. Mule deer guaranteed on Pierce Point road (especially a little past Abbot’s Lagoon) and near the Lighthouse/Chimney Rock. Check chimney Rock and the Sea Lion overlook for pinnipeds and Abbott’s Lagoon, Lagunitas Creek, and Schooner Bay for river otter.

    • kbrown217

      Many thank Nick, are you local to Point Reyes ? And if so what is the chance of you showing me around ?

  • Dianne Milliard

    Check out Moss Landing State Beach and Elkhorn Slough on your way to Monterey to see sea otters. Great birding there, too.

  • Benny Voorn

    Some more information, I was there from 17th of april to 2nd of may: I had Northern Elephant Seal and a Long-Tailed Weasel at Ano Nuevo State Park, also Lodgepole Chipmunk (parking and area around the big Sequoias and Yellowbellied Marmot (campgrounds) at Sequoia NP. Nelson’s Antelope Squirrel near Kern. Island Grey Fox at Channel Island NP (and loads of dolphins on the way to and from, plus Humpback Whale). Bobcat at Point Reyes, but also on an early morning trip from Kern to Ventura through the mountains there.

    Monterey whaling trip is a must do. I had Risso’s dolphins last year, but also Killer Whales hunting and killing a Grey Whale… Indeed Moss Landing is excelent for Sea Otters

    Good luck and have fun!

Leave a Reply