The west end of the Point Reyes Peninsula, where it fans out to a 17-mile-wide hammerhead, is known for its huge, wave-battered beaches, including McClures, Kehoe, Great Beach, and Point Reyes Beach. On the southern head of the west side is the seashore’s calling card: the Point Reyes Lighthouse, a historical attraction as well as a viewing area for migrating whales and birthing elephant seals. Chimney Rock, which shares the head with the lighthouse, is also a wildflower extravaganza and vista point, whose lands shelter Drakes Bay, beneath it, from prevailing winds.
LIFEBOAT STATION, DRAKES BAY DRAKES BEACH MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
On the northern tip of the peninsula is the geographically significant, as well as scenic, Tomales Bluff. The bluff is the northernmost point of the Pacific plate, situated where Tomales Bay opens to the Pacific. Sweeping up from the bluff, as well as from the beaches on the northern end of the peninsula, is Cow Heaven sprawling green pastures that roll for miles. Many trails wander through these pasturelands, including those at Bull Point, Marshall Beach, and upper Muddy Hollow.
As if this ecological and topographical breadth were not enough, nature also has given the seashore large Abbotts Lagoon and huge Drakes Estero. Here stream runoff and the tide waters mix, creating a wonderland for shorebirds, raptors, waterfowl and just about every other kind of creature with a beak and feathers.
All hike and walk distances are ROUND TRIP except as noted for shuttles. Please contact Agency to obtain current rules and regulations. See Resource Links for all telephone numbers. See also special Doggie Trails and Trailblazer Kids sections. Visit Bear Valley Visitor Center to pick up park maps and permits.