“This is an isolated out-and-back exploration of several wonderful Pt. Reyes estuaries.”
— Megan W
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This hike can easily be shortened as it is an out-and-back. Kids will love looking for birds and getting their feet muddy!
To avoid the crowds than can plague more popular Point Reyes trailheads, opt for this peaceful excursion past estuaries to a secluded beach.
Head south from the Estero parking area through grasslands before ducking into a dense stand of Monterrey pines. This used to be a cultivated Christmas tree farm. From here, a footbridge crosses Home Bay where mud or shallow baywater will be present depending on the tides. If you're lucky you may spot bat rays and leopard sharks swimming just below the water's surface. Climb up to the first of several hilltops on this undulating trail.
Trek downhill to another pond and then up to a knoll with a lone eucalyptus tree. One more climb brings you to the junction with the worthwhile Sunset Beach
trail. Take the Sunset Beach
trail south through grassland and scrub on a wide, easy trail. The gentle downhill passes a pond, skirts a hillside, and offers views Bull Point
to the northeast across Drakes Estero
On park maps, the Sunset Beach
Trail ends at the pond, but if conditions are not too muddy continue on the fading trail to the small rocky beach across from Limantour spit. Find the strangely shaped sandstone boulders on this beach. If the weather is clear you can see Chimney Rock
in the distance across the water. Retrace your steps to cpmplete this out-and-back.
Avoid going off trail as poison oak is prevalent in this area. Also, good boots make the muddy areas more passable, although sometimes it is better to simply turn back if rains or cattle have made a mess of the trail- don't damage it further. Note: bikes are allowed on the Estero
and Sunset Beach
Flora & Fauna
Coyote brush, toyon, ceanothus, sagebrush, California buttercup, lupine, goldenrod, Douglas iris, daffodil, wild rose, seabirds, egret, quail, rabbit, deer.