Scott and Ariane January 17, 2009 1

Tomales Point Trail

Recently I hiked the Tomales Point Trail at the Point Reyes National Park, in California. This open trail offers both awesome wildlife, and coastal views. The one way 4.7 mile trail takes you to an end point that you do NOT want to miss. This breathtaking vista overlooks crashing waves and rocks. The trail is actually 9.4 miles to the point and back.

We started this hike at the Tomales Point Trailhead located North of the Park. Since we hiked in January, we had our share of fog and mist. But the temps hovered around 45 degrees which make a great day hike. The trail is easy and light. Moderate at best. Bring a rain jacket. This is the West Coast and rain can come in very rapidly. This trail can be hiked year round.

Trailhead elevation is about 300 feet, and the hike has a rolling profile, climbing to 470 feet, descending to 135 feet, climbing to 250 feet, and dropping to 80 feet. You’ll face those same hills on the return leg, and all the elevation changes do add up. The middle 2 miles of the hike are mostly through loose sand. Total elevation change is about 1300 feet.

GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
Latitude 38°11’20.87″N
Longitude 122°57’14.86″W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

The trail will feel a little longer than you think. Probably because you keep stopping for a photo opp. Speaking of photo opps, the Tomales Point Elk preserve is not only a great place to watch wildlife, it’s one of the quietest trails on Point. When I hiked this trail, I saw at least 40 Elk in one herd alone. If you like Elk, this is the place to view them.

The trail almost has a mystical way about it. I hiked this trail in some pretty dense fog, and it almost seemed to exhibit an energy. With the waves crashing into the shore, and the fog rolling in, this trail was one to remember.

Make sure you get to the Trailhead early. The parking lot is small.

Bear Valley Visitor Center (Ranger Station) 415-464-5100 (Rangers were very helpful and will help plan your hike)

Click here for a pdf map of the trails.

Watch thebackpacker.tv video on YouTube  of the Tomales Point Trail.

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