15 Stunning Hikes In Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Located 30 miles from the buzzing city life of San Francisco, Point Reyes is a north Californian cape. This coastal area is a prominent tourist spot with a blend of nature, diverse scenery, and history. And exploring the hikes in Point Reyes is one of the popular activities that most tourists traveling around California look forward to.

Spread across the forests, meadows, mountains, beaches, lakes, and other alluring hotspots, several trailheads are available where you can experience the true elegance of rambling. The list of popular hiking spots below will urge you to go for a hike in Point Reyes.

best hikes in Point Reyes, California

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1. Bear Valley to Coast Camp Trail Loop

Bear Valley trailhead is perhaps one of the most common sites for hiking. The looping path starts at Bear Valley visitor center and ranges through different sceneries to reach the coast camp. If you intend for an overnight hiking journey, your best option would be to choose this trail.

This Point Reyes hiking route takes about 6 hours and 55 minutes. The first few miles of this trail are steeper uphill and gradually reduce after a couple of miles. You are likely to love the fresh ocean breezes, forest scents, and shade of the downhill path in this hiking. 

  • Distance: 22.4 km
  • Elevation Gain: 599 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Bear Valley to Coast Camp Trail Loop
Bear Valley to Coast Camp Trail Loop

2. Limantour Beach Trail

This beach trail is good if you are looking for dog-friendly hikes in Point Reyes, where your beloved pet can stroll. This trail encompasses spectacular beauty with wildlife and shorebirds. You can take your pet on a leash on this 2 hours and 11 minutes hike.

Popular throughout the year, this spot is a great way to enjoy solitary strolls. Although camping is not allowed, you can still relish the blue beach’s gentle waves and cold water while trudging.

  • Distance: 8.5 km
  • Elevation Gain: 22 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
Best Hikes in Point Reyes National Seashore_Limantour Beach Trail
Limantour Beach Trail

3. Wild Cat Camp Trail

Hiking along this trail can be one of the most challenging things to do in Point Reyes but equally worth it. This difficult trail with rugged uphill areas offers facilities for camping. You will likely observe tree-covered, shaded paths with occasional vehicles and horses around the parking lot.

This out and back path is suitable for long hikes with an average of 6 hours and 35 minutes of exhilarating perambulation. You need to book reservations for camping and hiking in this spot. The facilities included in the camps are parking, drinking water, toilets, etc., with fees.

  • Distance: 20.4 km
  • Elevation Gain: 663m
  • Difficulty: Hard

4. Tomales Point Trail

This is one of the best hikes in Point Reyes National Seashore, and a favored choice among most hikers. The path spans 4 hours and 35 minutes on average and is a hotspot for horseback riding, trail running, and hiking. In addition, you can experience magnificent views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean through this trail.

The path is covered with bushes, shrubs, and sand and can be extended to nearby beaches. The spectacular views of purple iris, poppies, goldfields, and other such wildflowers will entice you along the way. Additionally, you need to watch out for tule elks. 

  • Distance: 15.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 359 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Tomales Point Trail
Tomales Point Trail

5. Olema Valley Trail

This muddy and challenging loop trail spans 3 hours and 45 minutes from the trailhead. Covered with oaks, grasses, and bay forests, this route is relatively sandy and deep. It becomes difficult to match through this muddy terrain during wet conditions, especially when you put on regular shoes. So, if you’re planning to explore the Olema Valley trail, consider wearing sturdy hiking boots available in retail stores. If you don’t have any, check out our list of the best and cheap hiking boots for men and women.

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Free parking is available at the trailhead, with additional parking at the five brooks parking lot. Housing several mushrooms and lichens, butterflies, dragon Blues, bees, and lush greens, this hiking spot is suitable for biking.

  • Distance: 11.4 km
  • Elevation Gain: 405 m
  • Difficulty: Hard

6. Chimney Rock Trail

Chimney Rock trail is the easiest hiking trail in Point Reyes. The 57 minutes short distance hiking route is kid-friendly with spread-out grasses and coastal scrubs. The path begins near the lighthouse and features wildflowers throughout, such as buttercups, checker mallows, irises, field checker weeds, etc.

Additionally, you can opt for tide pooling near this area and observe gray whales and seals. A small parking lot is offered at the trailhead and is a 40 minutes drive from Bear Valley Visitor Center. However, the foggy and windy weather might cause minor challenges with rocky and inclining paths.

  • Distance: 3.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 82 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
Chimney Rock Trail
Chimney Rock Trail

7. Lighthouse Visitor Center Trail 

Point Reyes lighthouse hike is exactly what you need to experience an enchanting adventure. This out and back type of path span around 45 minutes. You can tour this trail throughout the year. Away at about 300 steps from Point Reyes Lighthouse, the trailhead features a bustling parking lot.

The panoramic views of the beach and coastline are visible from this trail. In addition, you are likely to see occasional displays regarding wildlife and history at the picturesque lighthouse. To experience a fairyland hike around Point Reyes, you need to explore this landscape.

  • Distance: 2.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 101 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate

8. Abbotts Lagoon Trail

Easiest among all the Point Reyes walking trails, this out and back course is 25 minutes away from Bear Valley Visitor Center. The grassy terrain extends to bridges and a beach with wildflowers spread out across the path. A parking facility is available at Pierce Point Road in addition to vault toilets, recycling cans, and spectacles.

Perfect for trail running, footwalk, and relaxed strolls, the Abbotts Lagoon Trail route is suitable for kids. You can also rest on benches at occasional points in hiking and observe excellent sights of birds, wildflowers, wild grasses, coyotes, and bunnies. Additionally, you can visit the beaches and watch out for wildlife such as frogs and herons.

  • Distance: 5.3 km
  • Elevation Gain: 57 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
Abbotts Lagoon Trail
Abbotts Lagoon Trail

9. Mount Wittenberg Trail

Most famous among all these backpacking trails in Point Reyes, this mountain path covers 2 hours and 32 minutes of windy, greenish-brown, dense, and undisturbed forests. The nearest parking lot for this trail is Bear Valley Visitor Center. The steep and inclining slopes should be watched out in foggy and luxurious woods.

You will likely observe heavy footfall around the area as it is one of the best places to hike in Point Reyes. Mesmerizing meadows, Douglas fir trees, and pristine vibes along the trail will enchant you in ways you have never imagined. Unfortunately, this wild and thick route is temporarily closed for horses.

  • Distance: 6.6 km
  • Elevation Gain: 396 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate

10. Estero Trail

One of the longest hikes near Point Reyes, the Estero trail is an out and back path with an average of 10 hours and 9 minutes of hiking. The terrain encompasses wild grasses, bushy coastal scrubs, marsh plants, and creeks. The bishop pines, paintbrushes, sealine beach crabs, quails, and cattle will amuse you all around the hike.

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You can start at the Estero trailhead and move towards Drams Estero or sunset beach. You can park either at the Estero trailhead or Muddy hollow trailhead and go through the beach, forest, river, and bridges along the way. Ensure to carry a winter jacket for hiking if you want to turn towards the shore.

  • Distance: 34.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 730 m
  • Difficulty: Hard
Estero Trail
Estero Trail

11. Woodward Valley Trail

The foggy weather of winter hike in Point Reyes is particularly vintage when you opt for the Woodward Valley Trail. This 6 hours 21 minutes hiking path is covered with creeds, forests, coastal scrubs, bushes, and grassy fields. Unfortunately, no parking area or restroom areas are available near this path.

You can start at Sky Trailhead, Limantour beach trailhead, or Laguna trailhead and reach towards the coastal trail. The best attractions along this path are old pine trees, beaches, views of the peninsula, and foggy forests, cold winds drifting when observed from the crest.

  • Distance: 21.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 484 m
  • Difficulty: Hard

12. Earthquake Trail

If you are looking for a short kid-friendly hike in Point Reyes, go for the Earthquake trail, a 20 minutes easy loop route for your kids. You can park at the Bear Valley parking area and go for a relaxing stroll, picnic, and trail running. Additionally, the route and facilities corresponding to this trail are wheelchair-friendly.

This simplest trail in Point Reyes is just 3 minutes away from the Olema House. Popular attractions along this path include a creek bridge, earthquake fence, giant bay tree, emerald green leaves, captivating yellowish, quaint leaves, etc. The path terrain covers vivid and dense oaks, alder trees, and bay trees.

  • Distance: 1.1 km
  • Elevation Gain: 13 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
Earthquake Trail
Earthquake Trail

13. Divide Meadow Loop

Among the trails in Point Reyes, the divide meadow is a spectacular path covered with enthralling fields. This 2 hours and 40 minutes route facilitate trail running, walking, and nature trips. The lush green trees along the way are the main attraction on this path.

This course is slightly elevated while starting but evens out after a while. When you reach the metal trail, the footfall decreases for solitary ambulation. When you hike on a clear day, you are likely to see an ocean view through the dark shades of trees.

  •  Distance: 7.6 km
  • Elevation Gain: 354 m
  • Difficulty: Moderate

14. Woodpecker Trail

One of the easy day hikes in Point Reyes, this loop trail spans a 25-minute walk starting from the Bear Valley parking lot. The fragrance of meadows and greenwoods will entice you for a slow-paced, relaxing footwalk. The path spreads to large oak trees, bay forests, fields, and dense woods.

Stunning mushrooms and fungus flourish during the moist, rainy weather making the path visually pristine. Lichen agaric, Scarlet waxy cap, scarlet cup, deer mushrooms, Crepidotus Mollis, witch’s butter, and candy cap are some of the wildernesses that grow along this path.

  • Distance: 1.3km
  • Elevation Gain: 45 m
  • Difficulty: Easy

15. Green Picker Loop

One of the most challenging hikes around Point Reyes, this trail spans 5 hours and 11 minutes. This shaded trail ascends uphill in the first few hours of rambling. This muddy route is the perfect way you can escape hot weather.

The path is filled with vivid plants such as red-bearded elders, stream violets, maple forests, fine oaks, and ivy trees. Look out for wasps, yellow jackets, and sloppy and slippery paths during rains. However, besides the scenic beauty, this trailhead accommodates restrooms near the parking spots for travelers’ convenience.

  • Distance: 15.9 km
  • Elevation Gain: 541 m
  • Difficulty: Hard
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What to Pack for Hiking in Point Reyes?

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the popular hiking trails let us look into what goes well with the hiking plans.

Appropriate Hiking Clothes

Wear appropriate hiking clothes and carry along an extra pair of long pants, comfortable and sturdy t-shirt, undergarments, hiking boots, etc. For instance, wear hiking shorts for comfort and ease of trudging along with the rocky landscapes.

Trial Map

Always carry an accurate map that clearly shows significant locations of trails while hiking. It will prevent you from getting lost when hiking along a route for the first time. You can also download the offline map on your smartphone. Check out our all-time favorite travel apps.

Food and Water Supplies

Always carry food and water while hiking to avoid nutrition depletion, dehydration, and nausea. Additionally, you can also take utensils, a set of spoons, bowls, etc., if you plan to go camping. I always prefer to carry a water filer during my hiking journey. Check out the list of the ultimate travel water filters for your next adventure.

Backpack with Other Essentials

Carry a wireless travel router in the backpack for long-distance hiking with less traffic. Also, carry a first aid kit, a headlamp with spare batteries, a travel laptop, tampons, sunscreen, and sunglasses for emergency needs.

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Where to Stay in Point Reyes?

Point Reyes in California is home to some popular hiking trails and hotspots. It is highly recommended to stay at least one night in Point Reyes. So, you can stay at Olema House when you visit this striking cape. It has a restaurant just 15 minutes away from the Point Reyes National Seashore. Blended with the coastal beauty, exotic tastes, and deluxe comforts, this hotel is deemed the top hotel in California.

If you want to go for a cabin or room-based accommodation, The Blackthorne Inn is perfect. With its aesthetically pleasing, wood-paneled construction, this 6 bedroom inn is ideal for a large family get-together. Fireplace, microwave oven, refrigerator, cable tv, internet access, and other facilities will make you feel at home.

Final Words

Hiking is an exciting activity that promotes fitness and health. The bushy and open grasslands are perfect for hikes in Point Reyes. You can choose any of the trails mentioned above depending upon the distance, point of elevation, trail attractions, facilities, etc.

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FAQs – Best Hikes in Point Reyes

1. Are there any dog-friendly hiking trails in Point Reyes National Seashore?

A: Some of the hikes in Point Reyes, such as Kehoe Beach Trail and Limantour Beach Trail are dog-friendly. Note that the pet is allowed with lease only.

2. Are Point Reyes hikes crowded?

A: Foot traffic depends upon the season and popularity of a trail. For example, some of the hiking paths in Point Reyes, such as Bear Valley Trail, Coastal Trail, and Tomales Point Trail, get highly crowded during spring and summer.

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