peninsula protected under the National Seashore regulation, popular tourist
destination on the Pacific coast with many nature attractions including Tule
elk herds, Seal Elephant population.
thoughts: I highly recommend this park; I visit here many times and enjoy it every
time. This is a perfect day-trip destination from San Francisco and the bay
the most interesting, fun to visit and divers National Park we have, just 1 hr
drive north of San Francisco.
find in the park many interesting places to visit and to explore: long sandy
ocean beaches, tall cliff going down into to the ocean, lagoons, lash rain
forests with long hike options, lakes and stream, waterfall falling directly to
the ocean, open spaces grassland, amazing Tule elk herds, Seal Elephant
population, Whale watching and more…
main highlights are the following attractions (link to the relevant blog post):
park headquarters and main visitor center is at Bear Valley Visitor Center on Bear
Valley road parallel to hwy 1, three miles south of Point Reyes Station town.
(end of 2020) all the park visitor centers are close.
center isn’t a mandatory stop when visiting the park, especially if you know
what you want to see in the big park.
are many forest hiking trails options near the Bear Valley visitor center, but
I did not hike any of them yet.
of Point Reyes has a lot of interesting history from thousands of years of
native American habitat, first European landing at California shore by Sir
Francis Drake at 1579 and cattle and milk industry during the 1800’s.
not “regular” national park, Point Reyes is not governing all the large peninsula
land and there are still active cattle farms and large grazing lands within the
Peninsula as also state beach. The mountain ridges, headland and seashores are protected
as part of Point Reyes National Seashore.
·Start the trip from Pierce Point
Ranch & Tule Elk Reserve (~5 miles hike), combine this with McClures Beach,
when finish the north section and you have time go to Drakes Beach &
·Focus on the south part of the
park: Short stop at Cypress Tree Tunnel, Drakes Beach (watch the Elephants
Seal), Lighthouse, Chimene Rock & Elephant Seal Overlook
·Hike to Alamere Falls that is in
different section of the park, at summertime can combine this with afternoon
stop at Stinson Beach….
If you are
coming from San Francisco I recommend to take the longer hwy 1 route that offer
short interesting stopping point and a nice ocean cliff view. On your way back
home later at the afternoon take the fastest route or take hwy 1 and see the sun
setting into the ocean.
way north on hwy 1 you can stop at Muir Beach, from the beach parking lot this
is a short walk to a black sand beach.
You can stop at Muir Beach Overlook just
after the small town on the ocean cliffs on your left, this is an old WW2 lookout
post, enjoy the view and keep driving north.
option to stop, for coffee and pastries, is at the beach town of Stinson Beach (very
popular beach at summertime), or farther north at the small town of Point Reyes
Station just before taking the road into the peninsula.
A nice short
stop on your way into the park is at Point Reyes Shipwrecks (Inverness) at the
inner lagoon shore.
an old wooden Shipwrecks stack on the sandy beach just near the main road. Park
at Inverness Store (across the road from Saltwater Oyster Depot), walk 300f and
see the boat up-close.
extraordinary, just nice “photo opportunity” during sunset/sunrise or at night
Bay State Park: within the large Point Reyes cape, on the inner seashore there
is a state park beach. The small state park (fee) offer swimming beaches, few hiking
trails, forests, marshes and picnic areas.
·Driving the winding and narrow hwy 1
is taking longer time, but it offers some viewing stops on the way. I recommend
taking it on your morning drive to the park and on your way back take the
·At the summer any of the above trip
options can be combined with spending some time at the many beaches that you
can find at the park or nearby.
·At winter Drakes Beach, the Fish
Dock area, the beaches around Chimney Rock, the south end of South Beach are
closed to all entry to protect elephant seals from disturbance during the
·At winter month, it is recommended
to visit Point Rays on days when it is not raining because most of the trails are
exposed to wind and rain.
·If the main park section is your prime
destination I will recommend starting at the north section, hike at the Tule
Elk Reserve at morning time, later you can visit the south section of the park
or spend time at beaches.
·You can also have overnight
backcountry camping at the south section of the park, must make reservation
prior to your trip.
·At the Alamere falls section you
can have many hike options, so you can hike only to the falls or plan 20 miles hike
covering more ground.