To avoid the crowds but still experience the beauty of Point Reyes' coastal hills, give this one a try.
Begin this loop at either the Laguna Trailhead or the roadside parking along Muddy Hollow Road next to the start of the Coast Trail - North
. Head south on Coast Trail - North
on wide, sunny doubletrack trail. This gentle downhill affords views of the nearing ocean. Turn southeast to parallel the impressively grand sweep of Drakes Bay. Soon, the beautiful sand of Santa Maria Beach becomes visible below and the Coast Camp for backpackers appears inland next to Santa Maria Creek.
Before turning back inland, check out Coast Camp and Santa Maria beach using Santa Maria Beach access
spur trail. When you're ready to head home, get on Fire Lane
trail heading inland and parallel to Santa Maria Creek. Climb moderate inclines through coastal scrub and remember to look back for the last glimpses of the sea. After a level stretch of ground, Fire Lane
intersects with the Laguna
Trail. Take the left fork to follow Laguna
Trail downhill to the Laguna Trailhead. Depending on whether you used the Laguna Trailhead or the roadside parking along Muddy Hollow Road, you may have a short stretch of pavement to travel to reach your car.
Note: bikes are allowed on the Coast Trail from the Coast Trail's northern trailhead near the Hostel to the Coast Campground, but no further.