Point Reyes National Seashore

Hiking Overview
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Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore (Timothy Hearsum/Photodisc/Getty)
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Over 140 miles of hiking trails allow the visitor to explore Point Reyes in all its splendor. Some trails permit bicycles, although they are not allowed in designated wilderness areas. Pick up a free hiking trail map, which differentiates hiking and biking trails. Horses are allowed on most trails and beaches. In Point Reyes, the California Coastal Trail (CCT) is signed "Coast Trail," since the trail existed here a decade before the CCT was conceived.

Three types of terrain distinguish the trail systems of Point Reyes: the pasture lands of Pierce Point and the Estero; the chaparral ridges and California-laurel valleys to the east and west of Limantour Road; and the forests and meadowlands in the southeastern end of the park. Certain trails may not be maintained. Check conditions at the visitor center.

Depending on your time and stamina, Point Reyes offers hikes taking less than an hour, one to three hours, or three to six hours. No matter how long you go out for, there are a few rules and precautions to keep in mind.

Rules and Precautions
Backpackers especially should be prepared for fog, cold, and wind in July as well as December. The waters at lakes and beaches are inviting after a warm hike, but enter unknown waters with caution. Slopes and valley bottoms are usually covered with tall, dense brush, much of it poison oak and stinging nettles. Climbing on the cliffs or walking near the edge invites catastrophe; they are very likely to crumble and slide. Check tide tables before walking on the beaches.

Pets are not allowed on trails at Point Reyes. They may visit North and South Beaches, Kehoe Beach, and Palomarin Beach, but must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Additional information on nearby parks where hiking with pets is permitted may be obtained at information centers.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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