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Point Reyes: A Haven of Serenity on California's North Coast

At Point Reyes National Seashore you can step off the mainland of modern California onto a remote land that nothing has ever seemed to tame.

Thirty miles north of San Francisco on Highway One, this jagged peninsula is a haven of serenity where the wilderness reigns.

Its emerald green hills are home to the tule elk. The rolling grasslands and dense mountain forests reveal endless wonders. In its gentle inland valleys and pastures, you'll find exotic species,
Monterey Cypress and blue gum eucalyptus.

But nowhere is the impact of Point Reyes more dramatic than at the meeting of land and sea as the thundering surf crashes upon steep cliffs or where a windswept promontory gives way to broad beaches, peaceful estuaries and placid bays.


This tranquil 100-square mile landscape sits atop the San Andreas Fault. During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the entire Point Reyes peninsula shook and suddenly moved 16 to 20 feet northwest of the Marin mainland. It still moves north as much as 2 inches a year, suggesting a larger restlessness as mysterious as the fault that gives it life.


Just off Highway One at Olema, the National Seashore's Bear Valley Visitor Center is your main source of maps, exhibits and ranger's advice. Beautiful audio-visual presentations are also available upon request.
One could easily spend a full day or two in the Bear Valley area, but to really begin discovering the hidden mysteries and intricacies of Point Reyes, you must leave the Visitor Center and the roads and explore the grand network of trails on foot.

The Bear Valley Trail from the Visitor Center continues to be one of the most popular hikes in the park. For 4.1 miles this wide, easy path follows Bear Valley Creek, meandering through a forest of large Douglas fir, bay, and redwood trees, ends at a 50 foot cliff for a wonderful view of the ocean.

A 35-40 minute drive from Bear Valley Visitor Center can also get you to the Pierce Point Road which ends at the Tule Elk Reserve where nearly 400 tule elk roam free which were hunted to the brink of extinction in the mid-1800's, but later restored to their natural habitat. Along the meandering road you may have to stop for a cow from a working ranch, some of which date back to the 1860's.

Whales are most often sighted from January through April when their migration is under way. The observation platform of Pt. Reyes Lighthouse and the Chimney Rock area are some of the best whale watching spots in the park.

Summer and early fall are popular times for strolling along the beach beneath some of the most spectacular seaside cliffs in California, but the weather may suddenly become foggy or windy. Swimming is permitted only at the more sheltered Drake’s Beach. Here, at the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center, you will also find marine exhibits, a café, and showers.

While fall, with its mild, balmy weather, and spring, with its profusion of wildflowers, are good times to explore the peninsula’s enchanted diversity, at Point Reyes the time is always right, in any season.



Station House Café - Point Reyes Station

Pine Cone Diner -Point Reyes Station

Bovine Bakery - Pont Reyes Station

Perry’s Deli - Inverness Park

For directions from Sacramento to Bear Valley Visitor Center
And other Pt. Reyes National Seashore information

Referrals to 15 inns

Marin County Visitors Bureau

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