POINT REYES, WEST MARIN
HIKING TRAILS GUIDES AND BOOKS
 

The Family Guide To POINT REYES
Sample Chapter

continues out at a very gradual slope through the dappled shade of alder trees and along the streamside to the ocean. For the entire length of you walk, you will have the company of the burbling creak.

 EARTHQUAKE TRAIL

  • Water fountain
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables
  • Good site for drawing and painting
  • 0.6 mile loop

DIRECTIONS: Head south on Highway #1 from Point Reyes Station. Take an immediate right after the green bridge. Follow Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the first left onto Bear Valley Road (watch for on-coming traffic around the blind curve.) Take a right at the sign for the Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters and Bear Valley Visitor Center. Park at the end of the road in the large lot on the left. The Earthquake Trail takes off behind the restroom building. Trailhead about 2 miles from Point Reyes Station.

The Earthquake Trail has interpretive stations to orient the visitor to the surrounding geology, landscape and, of course, the San Andreas Fault Line - famous for the 1906 earthquake that shook San Francisco. The trail leads through the grassland toward Bear Valley Creek. It parallels the creek for some distance then crosses again and heads back to the picnic area. In the spring the wild flowers are beautiful. The canopy of oak and bay has a wonderful fragrance in the warm, rainy months. Deer often browse in the meadow, which is a great place for flying kites.

This trail is a good one to combine with a trip to the Bear Valley Visitor Center across the road, and a picnic in the Douglas fir grove. Here you can watch the colony of acorn woodpeckers work at storing acorns in the bark of the trees as they hop up and down the trunks with their heads bobbing.

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JOHNSTONE-JEPSON TRAIL LOOP

  • Carry water
  • No restrooms
  • Carry binoculars
  • Good views across Tomales Bay from rest stop
  • 3.0 mile loop

DIRECTIONS: From the town of Point Reyes Station head south on Highway #1. Take an immediate right onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard after the green bridge. Follow Sir Francis Drake through Inverness and over the hill. Bear right at the "Y" onto Pierce Point Ranch Road. Watch for the sign for the Johnstone Trail and small parking area on the right. Trailhead about 10 miles from Point Reyes Station.

This last trail is steep. It is distinguished by a series of thoughtfully placed clearings with benches in the woods that offer lovely views of Tomales Bay and the hills beyond. Follow the Jepson Trail through the woods leading down half a mile to the Jepson Memorial Grove. The grove is a stand of the ancient bishop pine, stately and gnarled. The undergrowth in these woods is especially varied and interesting: salal, huckleberry, sword fern, blue elderberry, chain ferns, sea foam, pink flowering currant, wild gooseberry, hazelnut, toyon, coffeeberry, wild ginger, indian cucumber and, of course, poison oak. Mushrooms pop up everywhere during the warm rainy months. The trail is a switchback that is good for pacing yourself and not too steep.

A half-mile past the grove, the trail comes to Heart’s Desire Beach. You can go back up the trail the way you came from your car, or you can walk south down the beach and pick up the Johnstone Trail. Just a short ways up on a promontory overlooking the bay is a small picnic area with barbecues under the oaks. Continuing on, the trail winds up through the woods and back to the trailhead at Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

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