Point Reyes … Coastal Marin Things to Do: Hiking
Below are brief descriptions of the most popular hikes found at Point Reyes National Seashore. With close to 240 kilometers (150 miles) of hiking trails, these are just a few of the routes visitors can follow while visiting the park. Feel free to use the trail Maps to plot your own course. All listed distances are round trip. Additional information and tips about hiking may be found on Hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore page.
Distance: 1 km / 0.6 mi.
A short paved loop explores the San Andreas Fault Zone. Interpretive signs provide information about the San Andreas Fault, the 1906 earthquake, and the geology of the area. This trail begins at the southeast corner of the Bear Valley Picnic Area, just across the access road from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Kule Loklo Trail
Distance: 1.3 km / 0.8 mi.
A short path leads up to a replica of a Coast Miwok Indian village. Interpretive signs briefly describe Coast Miwok culture and history and the structures in the village. From Kule Loklo, return on the same trail, or continue around the horse pasture to return via the Morgan Horse Ranch. This trail begins at the north end of the Bear Valley Parking Lot, about 100 meters (110 yards) from the the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Distance: 1.1 km / 0.7 mi.
This loop trail explores the beautiful local forest and meadow ecosystems of Bear Valley. An interpretive brochure describing some plants and animals you may see can be obtained at the trailhead or at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. This trail begins at the Bear Valley Trailhead, at the south end of the Bear Valley Parking Lot.
Limantour Spit Trail
Distance: 3.2 km / 2 mi.
Carry binoculars and a field guide to birds as you walk along the crest of Limantour Spit. Many species of birds may be found on the mudflats of Limantour Estero to the north and on the sandy beach of Drakes Bay to the south. Harbor seals are frequently seen poking their heads up out of the water beyond the breakers. Start this hike at the Limantour Beach parking lot. From the parking lot, walk about 320 meters (350 yards) toward the beach. The Limantour Spit Trail branches off to the west just before you get to the sand dunes. The trail is paved (but possibly covered in sand) for about 400 meters (0.25 miles). Beyond the pavement, you will be walking on loose sand and winding your way along a narrow path between the dune vegetation. Allow 20 minutes driving time from Bear Valley.
Distance to the bridge across Home Bay: 3.2 km / 2 mi.
This relatively easy trail through open grassland and an old Christmas tree farm offers excellent birdwatching opportunities and the possibility of seeing bat rays and leopard sharks swimming just below the water’s surface in Home Bay. This hike begins at the Estero Trailhead, which is located a short distance off of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on the way to the lighthouse. Allow 25 minutes driving time from Bear Valley.
Elephant Seal Overlook Trail
Distance: 0.8 km / 0.5 mi.
From the Chimney Rock parking lot, follow the driveway downhill and to the left. After 120 meters (400 feet), turn off of the paved driveway onto the relatively level gravel path. The path travels along the bluff top with views of Drakes Bay and Drakes Beach before terminating at the Elephant Seal Overlook. Allow 45 minutes driving time from Bear Valley. Visit our Elephant Seals and Viewing Elephant Seals for more information.
Chimney Rock Trail
Distance: 2.5 km / 1.6 mi.
A spectacular hike with views of Drakes Bay and the Pacific Ocean and renowned for great spring wildflowers. Rocky cliffs drop off steeply to the water, so there is no beach access. From January through May, look for migrating whales from the point. Fog and wind can make this hike challenging. Allow 45 minutes driving time from Bear Valley.
Distance: 3.2 km / 2 mi.
An easy stroll through open grasslands and coastal scrub to a bridge crossing the short stream connecting a couple of the lagoons, with good spring wildflowers and excellent birdwatching, especially in the fall and winter. If you wish, you can continue out to the Great Beach, an extra 0.9 km (0.5 mi.) walking on sand, before returning via the same trail. Allow 25 minutes driving time from Bear Valley to the Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead. The trailhead for this hike is located along the Pierce Point Road.
Kehoe Beach Trail
Distance: 1.9 km / 1.2 mi.
A flat trail through Kehoe Marsh and out to Kehoe Beach. This is the only trail within Point Reyes National Seashore where dogs are permitted. Keep dogs on leash at all times. Look for elusive brush rabbits, bobcats, and mountain lions, which are occasionally sighted in this area. Allow 30 minutes driving time from Bear Valley to the Kehoe Beach Trailhead. The trailhead for this hike is located along the Pierce Point Road.
Tomales Point Trail
Distance to Windy Gap: 3.2 km / 2 mi.
This open trail through the Tule Elk Reserve offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and is a prime wildlife viewing trail. The trail to Windy Gap is relatively level. At Windy Gap, one can look east down into White Gulch where there is a spring to which the tule elk are attracted. Hikers wanting to hike further can continue another 6 km (3.7 miles) to the north tip of Tomales Point. See the description in the “Three-to six-hour hikes” section below for more information. Fog can limit visibility and and wind can make this hike more challenging. Allow 35 minutes driving time from Bear Valley to the Tomales Point Trailhead, located at the north end of Pierce Point Road.
McClures Beach Trail
Distance: (1.3 km / 0.8 mi.)
A rugged trail descends moderately steeply down a ravine to the ocean. McClures Beach is contained within a beautiful cove backed by rocky cliffs, but watch out for tidal fluctuations and dangerous surf. Allow 35 minutes driving time from Bear Valley to the McClures Beach Trailhead, located at the end of the Pierce Point Road, below Pierce Point Ranch to the west.