What’s Best: Sheltered evergreen and leafy forests overlooking sunny, sandy coves. If located anywhere but West Marin this park would be the main event.
Parking: From Hwy. 1 between Pt. Reyes Station and Olema, turn west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Continue through Inverness and veer right on Pierce Point Rd. Look for sign on right after about 1 ml. Note: Parking fee of about $8 at Hearts Desire Beach; bring change.
Agency: Tomales Bay
State Park and National Park Service.
Hearts Desire Beach (up to .5 ml.); Indian Beach via Nature Trail Hike: (1mi.); Pebble Beach (1 ml.); Jepson Memorial Grove loop (3 ml.); Shell Beach (.75 ml.)
Tomales Bay State Park was established in 1952 through the joint efforts of the Marin Conservation League and several other groups. Hearts Desire Beach, the darling of the park, is readily accessed from the large parking area. A broad swath of sand, bordered by lawns, leads down to gently lapping waters. Fir, pine, oak and madrone forests with an undergrowth of toyon, huckleberry and a host of other shrubs provide a backdrop of many shades of green. Hearts Desire is developed, with restrooms, picnic areas and barbecues.
TOMALES BAY STATE PARK MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
To Indian Beach via Nature Trail, go left as you face the water at Hearts Desire. You hug the coast and cross a footbridge as you reach the small beach. Interpretive signs along the way tell of the plants and animals vital to the Coast Miwok, who made their home here for some 3,500 years. To Pebble Beach, popular among clams and those who eat them, take the Johnstone Trail to the right from Hearts Desire. The trail leads over a rounded point and down to the rock-pocked shoreline. When tides permit, you can continue south to Shallow.