Point Reyes Trail Guides (Part 2)

Besides sharing my (mis)adventures with everyone here on this blog, I, however surprising it might sound, also try to be actually helpful from time to time. This desire to write “real” trail guides and trail descriptions that people could trust culminated in me applying for the role of and, eventually, becoming a contributor for Outdoor Project, an expansive outdoor adventure resource.

I’ve written several trail guides that got published and today, I thought, why not share a few of these trail guides with you all? So here goes; a few trail guides, this time to Point Reyes National Seashore, the place I love and adore, the place where I’ve hiked hundreds of miles, the place that has become my home.

This is Part 2 of my Point Reyes trail guides; find Part 1 HERE.

Keyhole (via Bear Valley, Skyline, and Meadow Trail)

Southward view from Keyhole

Keyhole is one of the places where I’ve been meaning to go for a long time but where I haven’t ventured because it’s just a bit out there and can’t be easily incorporated into a loop. (As someone who loves to make nearly any hike into a loop, this did, indeed, prevent me from heading out there for quite some time.)

There aren’t that many photos out there of Keyhole, and, frankly, it doesn’t look like much on the map, either. These circumstances make Keyhole seem not worth one’s time and attention—which couldn’t be further from the truth! With the awe-inspiring steep cliffs known as Temple that drop into the ocean in the south and pieces of collapsed coastline that sometimes host seals strewn all around, Keyhole is an inspiring spot well worth the hike.

Read the trail guide HERE.

Coast, Woodward Valley, Sky, and Fire Lane Trail Loop

Montbretia flower

This loop features my all-time favourite trail in Point Reyes, the Woodward Valley Trail. It takes you on a journey through the coastal grasslands, on a beach, and up the wooded hills of Point Reyes National Seashore and the Philip Burton Wilderness Area. Depending on the time of the year, you can catch a glimpse of snowy plowers, hike past the fiery montbretias, or encounter a battalion of California newts.

Santa Maria beach is the place to see young gulls. Woodward Valley Trail offers sweeping views of the coastline and climbs up from the coastal grasses to the thick woodlands. Upper portions of Sky and Fire Lane sometimes host California newts. This loop has it all.

Read the trail guide HERE.

Chimney Rock, Elephant Seal Overlook & Lifeboat Station

Elephant seals near the Lifeboat Station

Chimney Rock might seem to be just an inconspicuous remnant of the weathering cliffs. Its neighbor, a small sea arch, might provoke more curiosity. What makes the hike out to Chimney Rock worth it during any time of the year are the spring wildflowers, summer views of the Farallon Islands, fall storms out in the seas that bring huge waves crashing against the cliffs, winter whale migrations, and year-round opportunity for bird observation. You can also see the majority of the Point Reyes coastline that runs south, including the just off-white cliffs along Drakes Bay.

The Elephant Seal Overlook is a great place to watch (and hear!) the elephant seals during the mating and popping season without disturbing them or getting yourself in trouble by getting too close. Many also like to hang out around the Lifeboat Station where you can get very close while still staying safe!

Read the trail guide HERE.

North Beach

Sunset over North Beach

The North Beach is perhaps my favourite beach in Point Reyes. It’s the place where I’ve watched countless sunsets and have waited for the darkness to come and reveal a sea of stars and, often, the Milky Way. Even though Point Reyes is considerably close to the city, not much light pollution can reach it so it’s a perfect place for stargazing. Just last weekend, I also saw some seals swimming and leaping out of the water just beyond the surf break there!

It’s also one of the few dog-friendly places in Point Reyes.

Read the trail guide HERE.

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