note 1: The hike here is exposed to wind and rain so try to come in good weather
note 2: I recommend coming here early in the morning were there are fewer other
visitors, at midday it can be crowded.
note 3: Pets are prohibited in this park section.
note 4: some safety guidelines:
·Observe elk from a distance. If an
elk becomes alert or nervous and begins to move away, you are too close.
·If you are on foot, stay on the
trail; do not come between a cow and calf, a bull and a group of cows, or two
bulls challenging each other.
·Do not feed the elk.
·If viewing from your car, pull off
the road or park in designated areas.
thoughts: Highly recommended place to visit. I visit here many times and always
manage to see Elks herds and impressive males’ group.
17 miles from hwy 1 and taking the Pierce Point road to the north you will arrive
to the end of the road at Pierce Point Ranch and parking lot.
an old & preserved Pierce Point Ranch from the glory cattle days of Point Reyes
After short visit at the ranch the main interest in this park section
is the Tule elk viewing.
all the native elk population was no longer exist in this aria. In the spring
of 1978, two bulls and eight cows were brought in, that summer, six of the cows
bore calves. Year after the elk were released to the 2,600 acres reservation at
the tip of Point Reyes. In 2009, over 440 elk were counted at Tomales Point,
making the Point Reyes herds one of the largest populations in California.
you can spot a large Tule elk herds at the fields near the entrance and if not,
they can be viewed from the hiking trail that start at the farm parking lot (on
the left side).
hike itself is not difficult and the trail is well-maintained, but it is not
good for strollers.
the trail at the ranch heading to Tomales Point, if you are going all the way
to the north tip this will be 5 miles hike in each direction. For elks viewing,
you do not need to hike the entire trail.
the elk herds can be spotted near the trail after a mile. The elks are used to
hikers so they are not running away or hiding, some time they can walk few
meters away from the trail.
the males are not hanging together with the females & cabs herd. Do not
miss the opportunity to see them; Keep on walking until you will spot the mail
groups. You will probably see male groups after the high ridge section where
the trail starts to descend and there is a small pound on your right.
you can see the male group after 2-3 miles walk, ask people coming back were
they spotted the male group.
are done with the elk viewing you should go back to the ranch on the same trail
you hike in.
hike all the way to the end of the 5 miles trail that will take you to the
north tip of the land. The last 1 mile of the trail is less maintained but
still visible. Once reaching the land-end you will see the vast ocean view to
the north, there is not much more to see or to do over here.
Beach is another place you can visit once parking at Pierce Point Ranch. The
road to the beach parking is close so you start the hike at the main parking
lot near the ranch. Go down to the beach in a short ½ mile trail. It is a nice
beach with rocky cliff on all sides.
explore the south section of the beach, cross the big rock formation into a nice
small cove with many sea stars and other interesting thing to explore.
Recommended timing is during low-tide and low wave conditions. You can’t go
there when it is stormy or during high tide that may block the access.