We’ve been to Pt Reyes several times over the last few years and I’d been dying to go again. With Mike (the photographer and editor) working the county fair, thought I’d pick up what I’ve missed.
Pt Reyes National Seashore (north of San Francisco) is a 71k acre gem. Hills, forests, meadows, dairyland, wetlands and beaches on the north-bound continental drift of California also includes a Tule Elk Reserve and a lighthouse.
Welcome to Pt Reyes – Abbotts Lagoon
This is a short 1.5 mile round trip, flat walk out towards the ocean and back. Continuing on to the beach and walking along the Pacific Ocean makes for a much longer walk.
Off of Pierce Pt Road is a small parking lot (with bathroom) and access to Abbotts Lagoon’s trailhead. The trail is mostly level dirt. Recent improvements have put boardwalks over the soggier spots.
Through the meadows and around the wetter spots, wildflowers and bunnies flourish. Coyote bush was tufting the day we visited in November, hedge nettles had blossoms, thistles were faded and cow parsnips were starting. The colors are subtle – makes me pay more attention.
Past the lagoon, any trail is lost in the sand flats and over the dunes to the ocean.
I prefer this trail not only for its flatness, but it is less populated than some spots in the park.
Other places in the park:
You might want to start at the Bear Valley Visitor’s Center if you haven’t visited the park before. Entrance to the park is free, but there are fees for camping. At the center are picnic grounds and access to many hiking trails. Study the rules on dogs.
A couple of years ago we stayed at the Pt Reyes Hostel. We could walk along the wetlands. Our biggest thrill – in the morning – being the first to walk out to Limantour Beach with no footprints ahead of us.
At the northern tip of Pt Reyes National Seashore is Pt Tomales. This is the point you can see from Bodega Head or Doran Beach. At the end of Pierce Pt. Rd is the Historic Pierce Point Ranch. You can walk around the buildings and you can find access to the Tomales Point Trail. It goes along the ridge of the point with views of the ocean, the massive dunes at Dillon Beach across Tomales Bay.
Coolest part is the ability to see elk. Not so cool for me is that it is too popular with groups of people working their way out to the point. In spring, the wild radishes predominate and perhaps being provincial, I prefer the wildflower mix across the water in Sonoma County.
However, if you can take the distance I think it is 4-5 miles out to the tip before you head back.
If you haven’t been to Pt Reyes, visit now. If you have, isn’t it time to go again? Need a map, click here? Please realize I have only shown you the smallest parts of this great place. It is time to visit again.
See you on the trail!
Photos by Mike Millar
Stop in Pt Reyes Station. It’s a great little town with good restaurants and shops.