Dogs No Dogs
Birding · Swimming · Views · Wildlife
This trail leads to Johnstone Beach - a popular swimming and picnic destination!
From the end of Camino del Mar, the Johnstone trail stops first at Shell Beach. It is the least crowded of the beaches in Tomales Bay State Park and consists of two crescents of sand separated by a rocky point. The beach does in fact have shells embedded in the sand and clear jellyfish can be found at low tide. This is a favorite spot for swimming and also has convenient bathrooms.
Johnstone Trail continues as a moderate climb up broad switchbacks. At the high point, the Johnstone Neighborhood Connector
turns off to the south. Continue straight on the Johnstone Trail as it contours along the hillside before dipping down to meet the Jepson
Trail. At this junction, head east to stay on the Johnstone Trail. Cross a paved private access road amongst Bishop pine, live oak and coffeeberry.
The forest becomes less dense on the descent to a marshy creek area crossed by wooden bridges. Switchback more steeply down to the aptly-named Pebble Beach. Narrow and more secluded than Heart's Desire Beach, Pebble Beach backs onto a marsh.
Back on the Johnstone Trail, head across level ground to the parking lots or to the overlook/picnic area above busy Heart's Desire Beach. A series of steps lead down to the beach itself. The Johnstone Trail honors the conservationists Bruce and Elsie Johnstone who worked to protect this area by including it in the Tomales Bay State Park. A plaque dedicated to them has been erected next to the trail. Note: bikes are not allowed on this trail system.
Tomales Bay factoid: the 1906 San Francisco earthquake moved the San Andreas fault here under Tomales Bay more than 20 feet northward - the greatest displacement measured for the entire fault.
Flora & Fauna
Oak, madrone, bishop pine, alder, toyon, huckleberry, willow, ferns. Foxes, raccoons, badgers, weasels, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, deer, bobcats, skunks, wood rats, field mice, moles. There are also land and sea birds, including the spotted owl, quail, goldfinches, puffins, great blue heron, pelicans, ruddy ducks, woodpeckers, meadowlarks - and more. Gopher snakes, garter snakes, lizards, and monarch butterflies make the park their home. In the beach areas, several varieties of clams live and sea lions make appearances.
Shared By: Megan W