Took a walk up a mountain, through a forest and down through a jungle of overgrown grasses only to reach the most beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and ended up walking along a peaceful creek back to our starting spot. Sounds amazing right?
The hubs and I explored a very diverse 13 miles of Point Reyes National Seashore over a lovely hot holiday weekend with hundreds of other nature lovers. We started at the Bear Valley Visitor Center with the parking lot mostly empty. We hiked toward the top of Mt Wittenberg enjoying peek a boo views of the hills turning golden all the while under a canopy of doug firs. The ascent is mostly gradual switchbacks with a few stretches of steep inclines. Enjoy some breaks and breath in the fresh ocean air and views through the forest.
Once you drop down onto Woodward Valley Trail you enter what feels like a jungle with patches of open meadows. The trail is a nice easy descent here with plenty of shade and quick views of Limantour Beach. Careful here, there’s a lot of poison oak and thistle mixed in with the overgrown grasses. Enjoy the break from the sun and wind to enjoy the quiet of the forest…this is a beautiful place to be.
As you descend down the trees give way to rocky parts of the trail with sticky monkey flowers (I know they are sticky because I grabbed on to one while slipping down the loose rocks on the trail) and you start to feel the ocean breeze and see beautiful views of the ocean. It’s truly a beautiful part of the trail winding down the mountainside toward the ocean bluffs. The waves crashing, the breeze dancing around you and the feeling of being in another world with no one around. Oh yes, you will run into several other happy hikers but will still feel isolated. Very wonderful feeling!
We turned south onto the Coast Trail and along the nice even path watched the ocean for whale tails…never saw them but the view of the ocean was good enough for me. I just can’t get enough of the mighty Pacific! On a nice old wooden bridge the hubs and I took a snack break…had we known to stop at “the big tree” we would have kept going further to where the Kellham Beach trail meets up with the Coast trail to sit on a log under the giant eucalyptus tree to enjoy treats. Next time.
Not too much further we hopped on the Bear Valley trail and were engulfed in a green canopy of trees and followed the creek back to our starting point. The shade was welcomed on a hot day and of course listening to the creek flowing by was just the cherry on top. The ferns growing on the sides of the hills, the little streams feeding in to the creek and the green canopy above made for a magical last 4 miles back to the car. This part of the trail was much more crowded but still felt peaceful to walk through.
The hike was beautiful and so diverse. It is a long one but not too difficult because the elevation gain is only 1,300 feet. Definitely check in at the visitor center and chat with the rangers to see which trails might have some recent closures. The hubs and I absolutely have loved every part of Point Reyes that we have been to. I am always in awe this is so close to the city but feels so very far away. For eating after, you can drop in to the tiny town of Olema for the deli or restaurant or jump up to Point Reyes Station. We love both places!
Restrooms at the visitor center and at Divide Meadow, moderate to strenuous only because of the length, poison oak is all over the place so be cautious, beautiful views from every turn, 13.3 miles and free to park.