The magic and mystery of the monarch migration has charmed and captivated people for years. The eastern population is being severely impacted by deforestation in its Mexican overwintering grounds and the western monarchs are being squeezed by the constant pressures of coastal development and dwindling open space. Both populations have experienced a decrease in numbers due to lack of milkweed necessary as a food source for the larval stage. Visit http://www.monarchdunesbutterflies.org/help.html to find out how you can help protect the monarchs and their migration.
From late October to February, thousands of black and gold Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of a Eucalyptus grove at Pismo State Beach, providing us with a breathtaking glimpse of nature in all her vibrant glory. This colony, easily accessible from Highway 1, is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 50,000 butterflies every year. Many of these fragile butterflies fly more than 1,000 miles, braving harsh weather conditions before coming to roost in the protected grove for the winter.
During the season, the docent trailer opens every day at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Walks through the grove happen at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., weather permitting.
The Monarch Dunes Butterfly Habitat was once part of a 957 acre Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus plantation in Nipomo, California, and has supported as many as 60,000 overwintering monarch butterflies.
From late October to February, thousands of black and orange Monarch butterflies cluster in the limbs of a Eucalyptus grove at Trilogy Monarch Dunes in Nipomo, providing us with a breathtaking glimpse of nature in all her vibrant glory. Many of these fragile butterflies fly more than 1,000 miles, braving harsh weather conditions before coming to roost in the protected grove for the winter.
The grove is open year-round with an interpretive trail. The Butterfly Habitat is open from sunrise to sunset and is free to all. Please park in the paved parking lot at 1610 Kingston Drive, which is immediately adjacent to the butterfly sanctuary. A wheel chair/stroller accessible paved path provides a short easy walk into the main cluster area. Picnic tables and trash receptacles are available. A public horse trail encircles the nineteen acre habitat, with hitching posts provided near the picnic area. There are no restroom or drinking water facilities on site.
Los Osos / Baywood
The Sweet Springs overwintering site is located in Los Osos along the southwest edge of the Morro Bay estuary. A prominent sign shows the entrance to the trails from the north side of Ramona Avenue. The site is part of an Audubon Nature Preserve, featuring a vegetative restoration project and access trails to monarchs and other scenic areas within the preserve.