Butterflies at Natural Bridges

The Monarch butterflies migrate to safe haven at Natural Bridges State Beach 

The orange and black Monarch Butterfly, also known scientifically as Danaus plexippus, migrates every year to Monarch grove, a natural preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach.

The attractive butterflies travel miles to the preserve so as to escape winter’s wrath.

The purpose of the Monarch grove is to protect the butterfly and its habitat from human encroachment. The grove contains eucalyptus trees which are located in a canyon, providing the Monarch needed shelter from the wind. These winter flowering trees are also a convenient food source for the butterfly.

On chilly days when the temperature drops below 60 degrees, the butterflies cluster together in the eucalyptus trees for warmth.

Additionally, the park maintains a demonstration milkweed patch where visitors may view Monarch eggs, caterpillars and chrysalides. For about half a year, milkweed is the Monarch's home, super market and maternity ward. The Monarch larva eats only the milkweed plant.       

Natural Bridges State Beach also offers a chance to view tide pools. These tide pools are a window that allows visitors to see exciting sea life such as sea stars, hermit crabs, urchins and kelp in their natural ocean environment with waves crashing about.

Layered clothing is recommended as temperatures can vary depending on the season. The ocean can be unpredictable so always be cautious and vigilant when going near the water.

Please visit the park web page at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=541 for information on docent led tours of the butterfly preserve and the tide pools.