Mid-summer is one best times to visit Point Reyes National Seashore. Foggy early mornings typically clear by noon, revealing the sparkling, sun-splashed landscape of Point Reyes, the crown jewel of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
One of the best ways to explore Point Reyes is by horseback. Five Brooks Stables, located just off Highway 1 near Olema, is the only in-park concession to offer guided trail rides, private rides, pony rides and lessons.
With over 120 miles of trails, from forested ridges to grassy meadows and miles of quiet wilderness beaches, Point Reyes is a perfect place to ride a horse.
Five Brooks offers one, two, and three-hour guided rides, and an all-day guided ride, subject to weather and trail conditions. For safety reasons, all rides are tailored to accommodate the lowest riding ability level in any grouping of riders. Reservations are suggested, and must be canceled 2 hours before your scheduled ride departure time to avoid a 50% cancellation charge.
The Fir Top Trail ride ($60, 2 hours), is the stables’ most popular ride. It departs at 9AM, 12PM and 3PM during summer season.
You climb up to the Inverness ridge, about 1,300 feet, passing an osprey nest, for panoramic views of the Olema valley. Riding through groves of bay trees, you steer your steed among lofty, moss-covered Douglas fir trees, with peeks of the Pacific Ocean to the west. The trail then drops down into serene birch and alder forest along Olema creek.
The Stewart Trail ride, ($40, 1 hour) departs each hour, on the hour. This pleasant, relaxing, slow-paced ride heads through pasture and along the crest of a small ridge to a shady wooded trail. This ride is especially good for beginners and youngsters.
The Glen Trail ride ($100, 3 hours) departs at 10AM and 2PM during summer season (minimum of four riders required.) This ride is a good choice for those riders who want to experience the wilderness of Point Reyes. You travel through forest of oak, Douglas fir and huckleberry, see five types of ferns and other members of the plant and animal community of Point Reyes. As you climb over the ridge, you will see wide views of the rugged Pacific coast and Drakes Bay.
Along with private rides and lessons, Five Brooks also offers childrens’ pony rides around the Five Brooks pond, where they may see a variety of wildlife, such as the Western Pond turtle,
Great Blue Heron, and California Quail.
For information and reservations call 415-663-1570 or visit www.fivebrooks.com. The stables are open daily from 9AM to 5PM.