We are so lucky to have some of the most beautiful landscape within a short drive from Santa Rosa. The Point Reyes National Seashore is a short 50 minute drive from Rincon Valley, and has a nice variety of sights and endless trails. The Tomales Point trail, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of coastal hikes in northern California.
Herds of Tule Elk are there to greet you on this 10 mile “out and back” hike. The trail is mostly flat with unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean, Tomales Bay, and very close encounters with Tule Elk.
Gwen and I did this hike for the first time this month (first week of April). We parked at the end of Pierce Point Road at the historic Pierce Point Ranch where we found the trailhead conspicuously posted. We walked past the historic ranch along the Tomalas Point trail, along the coast, and out to the point. Once at the point, we chose to climb down a steep dirt trail where we were able to see sea lions basking in the sun on the rocks below. We enjoyed our lunches, and headed back to the car.
The trail is mostly a stable dirt fire road with some gentle hills and occasional sand. There are no other trail junctions so a map is not necessarily needed. There is only one way out, and one way back. We saw plenty of other hikers, and noticed individuals, and some small groups picnicking along the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Wild flowers were abundant to include Wild Iris, poppies, Thistle, and other native California varieties.
Before wrapping up our hike, we walked through the historic Pierce Point Ranch which is a renovated 1850’s dairy facility that is open to the public. Visitors are welcome to take a short self guided walking tour of the ranch. Getting there: From Santa Rosa, I recommend driving through Petaluma, west on D Street. This turns into Tomales-Petaluma Road. Turn left onto Hwy 1 and drive to Point Reyes Station. Turn right on Sir Francis Drake Blvd and right on Pierce Point Rd. Drive to the end and park in the parking lot of historic dairy. See the attached map below.
Bathrooms and water are available at the trailhead but nothing is available once you hit the trail. Count on a minimum of 3 hours to do this hike. Cellular signal was available on the hike (Verizon). Check weather before you go, and bring a warm layer. No dogs, bikes or camping. A camera is highly recommended. Spring and fall are the best times to go. After the hike there is a great beach 200 yards from the trailhead. If a meal sounds good, Gwen and I ate at Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes, an excellent choice for organic meats and locally grown produce. Getting there: