Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore

Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore

Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California

Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California

Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California

 

On a sunny day in Marin County, spending a wonderful day outdoors especially at Point Reyes National Seashore is a fantastic way to see some amazing wildlife and marine life. Inside the park you’ll find pristine forests, estuaries and dunes, and panoramic coastal views that extend a very long distance to Drakes Bay and further south to San Francisco. This entire peninsula encapsulates a Northern California landscape that has been well preserved for decades and shows the landscape and nature at its best including amazing wild life and marine life along the coastal areas of the park.

 

 

Visitors center at Point Reyes National Seashore

Visitors center at Point Reyes National Seashore

Visitors center at Point Reyes

There is so much to see and explore at Point Reyes National Seashore, so the first place one should visit is the visitors center which is just at the entrance of the park. Follow the signs to the huge redwood barn surrounding with gorgeous oaks and  fields of California wild poppies and other wild flowers along the meadow surrounding the center.

 

 

Visitors center dioramas and nature museum

Visitors center dioramas and nature museum

 

 

It’s worth exploring the visitors center and check out the dioramas and interactive displays in the museum part of the center. There are also guides available at the information desk,  they can show you some highlights around the park, hike trails and other places of interest worth checking out.

 

 

Bobcat display at the visitors center

Bobcat display at the visitors center

 

 

Hiking trails at Point Reyes

One of the most popular trails at Point Reyes National Seashore just off the visitors center is the Bear Valley trail. The hike leads you through diverse landscape from open meadows to thick redwood forests following a rambling creek and then finally opening up to the vast coastal shorelines with views of the entire park all the way to the lighthouse at the tip of the reserve. And the views from here are simply stunning!  The trail to the ocean and back is 17 Km/10.5 ml or you can hike to Divide Meadow which is 5.1km/3.2 ml round trip. There are a variety of trails close by to Bear Valley that offer different vista points and hiking distance based on your interest. To find out more on the various hiking trails, check out the main park website here.

 

 

 

Bear Valley trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

Bear Valley trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

 

 

 

 

 

Wild flowers along the Bear Valley trail

Wild flowers along the Bear Valley trail

 

 

 

 

 

Horse back riding at Point Reyes and Bear Valley trail

Horse back riding at Point Reyes and Bear Valley trail

 

Popular Drives at Point Reyes

There are many scenic drives worth discovering at Point Reyes National Seashore. One of the most popular drives in Point Reyes is Limantour road. It offers so many scenic vistas starting with meadows filled with wild flowers, forest groves and a slow climb up the coastal range – showcasing stunning panoramic views of the entire park all the way down to the coastline and all the way to San Francisco on a clear day. It’s a very nice easy drive down to the ocean. Finally you approach the parking lot with walking access Limantour estuary, Drakes Bay and the coastal beaches. Once there you have many options to explore in the area from hiking, birding, whale watching to discovering the estuary and coastlines.

 

 Here are some more photo highlights of the area:

 

 

Limantour Estero and trail at Point Reyes

Limantour Estero and trail at Point Reyes

Access to various trails including:  Estero trail, Limantour Spit trail, Coast Laguna loop, Muddy Hollow trail. Check the main trail guide for Point Reyes here for additional information on the hikes in the park.

 

 

 

 

Dunes at Limantour Beach, Point Reyes

Dunes at Limantour Beach, Point Reyes

Exploring the dunes, wildflowers and wildlife at Limantour beach.

Limantour Estero at Point Reyes

Limantour Estero at Point Reyes

Hiking the Estero and Limantour spit for wildlife, birding watching and enjoying the wildflowers in season.

 

 

 

 Limantour Beach and the sandy beaches of Drakes bay

Limantour Beach and the sandy beaches of Drakes bay

Enjoying a day at the beach at Limantour Beach and the sandy beaches of Drakes bay.

Wild Lupines at Limantour Estero

Wild Lupines at Limantour Estero

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy beaches at Drakes Bay

Sandy beaches at Drakes Bay

 

 

 

There are many areas to explore and  discover at Point Reyes beyond what is highlighted in this post. You can drive all the way to the rocky cliff areas and light house at Point Reyes point or on the opposite side of the lighthouse, you can discover the rugged cliffs and rugged areas of Tomales Point to see the wild elk that live in the area. You can see wildlife and marine life that are protected in this reserve and occasionally spot them in their natural environment.  To find out more information about visiting the park and key places to see, please check out their main website here.

 

 

 

 

Coastal bluffs at Point Reyes National Seashore

Coastal bluffs at Point Reyes National Seashore

I wrote about some other places worth visiting in the area, please check these additional links below:

A road trip along the scenic Marin County countryside and a visit to Point Reyes Station

A road trip through West Sonoma County and the cool back roads places to visit

A visit to Dry Creek valley, vineyards and other cool places in Sonoma county

10 things to do in Sonoma without tasting the wines

Hope that you enjoyed exploring Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California. If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons below or on the side, thank you.

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23 Responses to Exploring Point Reyes National Seashore

  1. Raphael Alexander Zoren July 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Great photos as usual Noel!!!

  2. Mindi @ 2foodtrippers July 12, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    We always get distracted by the wineries, but next time we must check out the beauty of the Point Reyes National Seashore.

  3. Margherita @The Crowded Planet July 11, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Lovely shots Noel. This part of California looks amazing, my parents visited recently and loved it too. It reminds me a bit of Scotland, but maybe that’s just me? For a second, I thought that bobcat was real!

    • Noel July 11, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      I would be really scared if i saw a bobcat that close in one of the trails Margherita, too funny

  4. antonette - we12travel July 11, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Great shots once again, esp the Limantour Estero one, that looks so peaceful and quiet! Definitely have to check this place out if I ever make it over to California 🙂

  5. Marie-Carmen July 11, 2014 at 4:06 am #

    A lovely deserted beach, some beautiful fields, that looks like a great place to discover!
    Kind of jealous of the people on their horses, would probably go for that too!

    • Noel July 11, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      You can also do horse tours in the area, not sure who leads them but they are available locally.

  6. col July 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    It looks very picturesque there and so lovely and quiet. The horse-riding appeals as think you often get an even better view on horse back, lovely location.

  7. Gorgeous photos! The beaches look so empty and beautiful..

  8. Brianna July 8, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Just gorgeous, I would love to go horseback riding there!

  9. Karen Warren July 8, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Lovely pictures as always! I’d love to walk along one of those hiking trails.

  10. Christina July 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Beautiful pictures. I was with a friend on a seven week road trip in CA a couple of years ago but we missed the Point Reyes National Seashore unfortunately. :/

  11. Calli July 7, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    I really love the mix of geography here Noel, from the sand dunes to the grasslands with wildflowers and a lazy stream it’s a very beautiful area and your photos capture everything so well!

  12. Tracie Howe July 7, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    This place sounds familiar, but I’m not sure if I’ve been there. Looks like a great spot to explore! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in CA.

  13. Bob R July 7, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    Re; that bobcat display: Have you ever seen one in the wild?

    • Noel July 7, 2014 at 5:48 am #

      Never thank god!

  14. Dave Cole July 6, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    Very beautiful shots, Noel! You captured the serenity and nature perfectly. It’s fantastic that places like Point Reyes have been so nicely preserved and can be enjoyed by the public. I’m hoping to make it here whenever I make it back to northern California.

  15. The Wandering Wanderluster July 6, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    The more posts and blogs I read the more I keep reading about how beautiful America is. I guess I never really thought of America being a place of natural beauty, more concrete jungles, theme parks and junk food but it really has some amazing places that look stunning. I must start a list of places to visit Northern California being one! 🙂 great post with great pictures 🙂

  16. Laura July 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Gosh it’s absolutely stunning – I’m sold!

  17. Michael Huxley July 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Wow, who’d have guessed this was in California? Stunning photos!

  18. budget jan July 4, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    The orange wildflowers, the horses and the beach wowed me. Such a beautiful place and your photos are gorgeous. Loved it all Noel.

  19. Rajlakshmi July 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    wow it must be so wonderful to go on a horse back riding there… thanks for sharing these wonderful photos.

  20. Henry | @fotoeins July 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    I miss this place. I miss that big beautiful lighthouse, the tule elk, and the big seals! Thanks for reminding me about how beautiful this place is, Noel!

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