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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Exploring the dunes, wildflowers and wildlife at Limantour beach.
Hiking the Estero and Limantour spit for wildlife, birding watching and enjoying the wildflowers in season.
Enjoying a day at the beach at Limantour Beach and the sandy beaches of 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.
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.
Great photos as usual Noel!!!
We always get distracted by the wineries, but next time we must check out the beauty of the Point Reyes National Seashore.
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!
I would be really scared if i saw a bobcat that close in one of the trails Margherita, too funny
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 🙂
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!
You can also do horse tours in the area, not sure who leads them but they are available locally.
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.
Gorgeous photos! The beaches look so empty and beautiful..
Just gorgeous, I would love to go horseback riding there!
Lovely pictures as always! I’d love to walk along one of those hiking trails.
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. :/
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!
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.
Re; that bobcat display: Have you ever seen one in the wild?
Never thank god!
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.
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 🙂
Gosh it’s absolutely stunning – I’m sold!
Wow, who’d have guessed this was in California? Stunning photos!
The orange wildflowers, the horses and the beach wowed me. Such a beautiful place and your photos are gorgeous. Loved it all Noel.
wow it must be so wonderful to go on a horse back riding there… thanks for sharing these wonderful photos.
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!