Family Weekender: San Francisco

Point Reyes National Seashore
Go Guide: Point Reyes National Seashore

Getting there: Northbound on California Highway 1, drive 4.5 miles north of Stinson Beach and turn west at the Bolinas turn-off (often unmarked). Proceed just under 2 miles to Mesa Road and go west (right), continuing another 4.5 miles to road's end.

Reference: Point Reyes, by Dorothy Whitnah. Wilderness Press, (800) 443-7227;

Added value: The Point Reyes Bird Observatory, near the trailhead, is a great place for kids to learn about coastal birds; (415) 868-1221

Contact: Point Reyes National Seashore, (415) 663-1092;


Sure, you know about Point Reyes and its busy (albeit beautiful) trails, but have you ever been to the beautiful (never busy) Palomarin Trailhead? Located at the southern end of the Coastal Trail, Palomarin delivers hikers into the heart of Point Reyes' little-known lake district, where swimming is safer than in the Pacific's unruly surf.

The path hugs the bluff above the ocean at first, then winds inland through rolling hills to a junction with the Lake Ranch Trail (stay left at the fork). It's 2.6 miles from the trailhead to Bass Lake, with Pelican and Crystal Lakes just a stone's throw away. Pack a picnic and plan on spending some quality swim time at the lakes. The calm water means parents can relax while kids play (unless you think the rope swing looks too good to miss). The beach is another 2.5 miles farther at Wildcat Camp.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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