Point Reyes National Seashore has so much to offer. Backpacking, Alamere Falls, Point Reyes Lighthouse and the Cyprus Tree Tunnel are just a few of the amazing sites at Point Reyes. This beautiful protected area is just a short hour and half drive north of San Francisco. While most tourists go to Muir Woods, the Golden Gate Bridge, and ride along on their Segway at Fisherman’s Wharf, the locals head to places like Point Reyes. As one of my favorite spots on the California coastline, there are several activities to enjoy this as a day trip or an overnight hike.
When to Go
Go during the summer or fall. The best time to hike is in September and October after the foggy summer in the Bay Area comes to an end.
How to Get There
Take highway 101 North from San Francisco to the town of Gallinas. Follow Lucas Valley Road until the end, and turn right on Nicasio Valley Road. Turn Left on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and drive through the town of Point Reyes Station. This is your best place to stop for anything you need to bring into Point Reyes. From town, take Sir Francis Drake Blvd North into Point Reyes National Seashore.
Hike to Wildcat Campground
Make this a two-day trip by hiking to Wildcat Campground for an overnight stay. Add on the other stops in Point Reyes to make this a complete weekend getaway. The hike to Wildcat Campground is 12 miles round trip, and includes a stop at Alamere Falls. This coastal hike has exceptional views and is an easy to moderate hike. If you can bring two cars, park one car at the Palomarin Trailhead, and begin the hike from Liamantour Beach. With only one car, hike in-and-out from Palomarin Trailhead (14 miles total)
Permits: Permits are required. Make a reservation ahead here.
Hike to Alamere Falls
Park at the Palomarin Trailhead and take the trail 6 miles to Alamere Falls. There is a small sign and trail to reach the beach.
Visit the S.S. Point Reyes Shipwreck
The S.S. Point Reyes shipwreck, landmark in Point Reyes and is well-known to photographers. There is a little Market in the town on the right hand side of Sir Francis Drake Blvd, park in their parking lot. There is a small trail to the boat.
UPDATE: In February 2016, the boat caught fire from a fireworks set off illegally by a reckless photographer. This iconic landmark is now charred and the rear of the boat was destroyed. While it is not fully in tact, it still worth the visit.
Cyprus Tree Tunnel
The Cyprus Tree Tunnel is a stop you do not want to miss. Directly off Sir Francis Drake Blvd, the tunnel is a great place for photos. At the end of the tunnel is the historic Morse code radio station, if it is open, be sure to stop for a look around.
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Finish the day at the Lighthouse. Depending on the fog, it could be drastically different from when we went. We had a very foggy day, which made for awesome photos. If it is clear, the coastal views are spectacular.
Check out our other posts from California:
- Backpacking Santa Rosa, Channel Islands
- Exploring Angel Island: San Francisco
- Hiking Guide to Half Dome
- Hiking Mount Tallac: Lake Tahoe
- Thousand Island Lakes Loop: Mammoth, California
- Trinity Alps Hike to Caribou Lakes
- Ultimate Guide to Point Reyes