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  • Writer's pictureMona Shah

Point Reyes National Seashore Trip

Located only one hour north of San Francisco, this is a vast area of gorgeous protected shorelines, coastal bluffs, and fabulous hikes. For example, the Alamere Falls Hike is a great one to do here.

  1. Point Reyes Station is a small town located just outside of Point Reyes National Seashore. It makes for a perfect stop to pick up food and it also has cowgirl creamery that is very famous for its cheese.

  2. Must see: S.S. Point Reyes Shipwreck. This area is known for its treacherous waters.

3. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. takes you to Cypress Tree Tunnel. The trees were planted back in 1930 along the road leading to the (now historic) Maritime Radio Receiving Station. The receiving station was built in 1929 in a unique Art-Deco style and received ship-to-shore morse code and telegraph messages.

On the way to the lighthouse, check out the leaning trees.

And After you drive under the leaning trees, park in the lighthouse parking lot and take the short walk to South Beach Overlook for some amazing, never-ending coastal views. The overlook is only 0.2 miles down a sandy and dirt path to the cliff-side overlook. Bring your binoculars to get a great view of the elephant seal colony that lives down below.

4. The Point Reyes Lighthouse:

Located at the western-most point of the Point Reyes Headlands atop a rocky outcropping. The lighthouse is located at the bottom of 313 steps (which can be closed during strong winds). The visitor center and observation deck are located at the top and fully accessible without stairs. Plus, the observations deck makes a great area to watch for whales migrating past.

5. Laguna Trail Coast Trail Loop

Relatively easy 5-mile loop that features coastal scrub, pretty grasslands and epic coastal views. You can also continue your hike down to Limantour Beach very easily. This trail can be quite exposed to the sun and wind so be sure to bring a hat and/or layers depending on the weather.

6. Limantour Beach to Sculptured Beach

Start at Limantour Beach and walk south along the beach for about 2 miles to gorgeous Sculptured Beach.

7. Hike Chimney Rock via Chimney Rock Trail

Chimney Rock Trail is one of the most breathtaking hikes you can take along the Point Reyes Headlands with amazing rugged coastal views. 1.9 miles roundtrip.

8. Elephant Seal Overlook

A short, quarter-mile walk from the Chimney Rock Trailhead is the Point Reyes Elephant Seal Overlook, which comes complete with viewing platform and a National Park Service docent standing by on weekends and holidays. Perched above Drake’s Bay, the overlook provides excellent viewing access to part-time residents in a breeding colony of northern elephant seals. The massive pinnepeds return to the beaches of Point Reyes semi-annually: once in the spring and summer for their annual molt, and once in winter for a longer breeding season. The Chimney Rock colony is thought to number close to 100 individuals.

Winter (December through March) is the active breeding season for these cacophonous creatures, when adult males first arrive to exert their dominance over competing bulls for their chance at achieving a harem. Soon after, females arrive to give birth to young pups, along with juveniles. Before their departure in March, the alpha bulls mate with the females to begin the cycle again.

Parking for the Elephant Seal Overlook is shared with parking for the Chimney Rock Trail in a gravel lot that is well signed from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. You'll hear the distinctive trumpeting of the bull males, which can be easily heard from the road. Vault toilets are provided at the parking area. 

9. Tule Elk Reserve via Tomales Point Trail

A 9.2 mile hike atop a coastal bluff to Tomales Point. On this hike you’ll experience amazing coastal views while walking past loads of elk.

Other interesting things to do are:

  • Bioluminescent kayaking at night:

Stay: Nicks Cove

You can also stop by:


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