The Tomales Point trail at Point Reyes National Seashore is one of my favorite trails in the Bay Area. It’s a moderate 9.4 miler out in the tippity top of Point Reyes. The drive from the Bay Area is kind of a pain. The weather can be unpredictable–it’s one of the windiest spots on the west coast–but when you’re out there, the annoyances disappear.
Read on to see why.
Ancestral homeland of the Tomales Bay Miwok, Tomales Point is a little strip of land that pokes north into the Pacific Ocean on the rugged California coastline. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and Tomales Bay, you’re rewarded with spectacular views.
The trail begins at the Pierce Point Ranch, a historic ranch from the dairy ranching days on the peninsula. From there, it is an out and back to Tomales Point.
It’s 9.4ish miles, but the trail goes by quick. The California coastline is beautiful, and this area is ripe with wildlife. The last time I was here, we saw 30+ tule elk and two coyotes.
Tomales Point is also home to a subspecies of elk, tule elk, found only in California. The elk are always out and about and it is rare to have a trip where you don’t run into at least one.
The trail is moderately graded and well maintained for the first 4 miles. Once hikers reach the site of the old ranch, indicated by a eucalyptus tree and some cypress, the trail becomes unmaintained and very sandy.
However, this trail is very well-traveled and the unmaintained section is no problem. The only way to go is north.
Once you’ve had your fill of the top of Tomales Point, retrace your steps south to the car.
In the spring and summer, the wildflowers bloom in full force all along the Tomales Point Trail. I highly recommend wearing long pants, lest you adore ticks, pokey branches and things of the like.
Tips for Hiking Tomales Point
- The closest pit toilet is at the McClure’s Beach trailhead. Be good at peeing. Also be good at not caring if people see you.
- There’s no water at this trailhead, so plan accordingly.
- Once you can see Tomales Bay, there’s really good cell service. Perfect if you need to be in range while you’re hiking for whatever reason.
- Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
For other Point Reyes hikes, check out Alamere Falls, Arch Rock, Coast Camp, Glen Camp or the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
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