4 Hikes Close to Point Reyes Station

Matt Dolkas - MALT

By Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager, Marketing

June 15, 2022

I love hiking near Point Reyes Station.

If you’ve spent any time in the area then you know that there’s a special mojo in this corner of Northern California, a natural magic that seems to culminate here in the unofficial capital of West Marin. Hiking the trails near Point Reyes Station, it’s hard not to feel transported in time — a landscape that still looks and feels much as it has for decades.

Of course, this is no happy accident. Most visitors to the area don’t realize that the 71,028 acres within the Point Reyes National Seashore is surrounded by an additional 54,459 acres of protected agricultural land. Since 1980, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (folks just call us “MALT”) has been working hard to conserve the region’s vital farm and ranch land from the threat of development. For me, this is the secret sauce and why I love hiking these trails, an opportunity to experience this unique mosaic of protected land.  

Point Reyes Station happens to be smack dab in the middle of this natural paradise. And the cherry on top of this proverbial sundae is that after your hike you’re not far from downtown and the deliciousness of the Bovine Bakery and Brickmaiden Breads, fresh cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery or the authentic funk and cold drinks at the Old Western Saloon. The Palace Market also has just about everything you might need should you have forgotten your stash of local cheese, honey wine or other picnicking essentials. There’s no time to waste – the trails await!

Here are, in my humble opinion, some of the best hikes close to Point Reyes Station:

Hikes close to Point Reyes Station. View of MALT-protected Black Mountain Ranch.

Bolinas Ridge Trail

Distance: up to 22 miles round trip (shorter options available)

Elevation gained: 2,470 ft

Wheelchair accessible: No

Dog-friendly: Yes, on-leash only

Find driving directions by clicking here

Restroom: No

Managing Agency: National Park Service

Offering some of the best vistas in the area, the Bolinas Ridge Trail makes for an incredible introduction to the sweeping landscapes of West Marin. With 360 degree views of the surrounding ranch and farmland, this out and back is what hiking near Point Reyes Station is all about.

The first 2.4 miles gradually ascend an open ridgeline, offering sweeping views of Olema Valley to the west, Tomales Bay to the northwest, and MALT-protected Black Mountain to the north. This makes for a wonderful, shorter, out-and-back on its own (4.8 mile round trip). From here, the trail skirts the trees along the ridge, before entering groves of coastal forest at 5.5 miles then California chaparral, before dropping back into redwood forest.

The Bolinas Ridge Trail spans 11 miles from its northern trailhead along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to its southern terminus on the Fairfax-Bolinas Road. Retrace your steps at any point to complete this hike.

Hikes close to Point Reyes Station. View of Tomales Bay.

Tomales Bay Trail

Distance: 2.6 mile round trip

Elevation gained: 259 ft

Wheelchair accessible: No

Dog-friendly: No

Find driving directions by clicking here

Restroom: No

Managing Agency: National Park Service

As one of the closest trails to Point Reyes Station, this trail is conveniently just a short drive north of town. Follow the single track path through active pastures (be sure to close the gates behind you!), along the coastal bluffs and the edge of the restored Giacomini Wetlands.

Birders will delight in the abundance of feathered friends and rich avian habitat, including a vibrant stock pond. The trail’s big boulders are also fun for kids (and the young at heart) to climb on. Be sure to pack layers as the wind and fog can make for chilly temperatures, even in the summer months.

Since 1980, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) has been working to protect farm and ranchland from the threat of development — work that is now more important than ever in the face of a rapidly changing climate. Learn more here.

Hikes near Point Reyes Station - view of the Olema Valley trailhead.

Olema Valley Trail

Distance: 10.5 mile round trip (shorter options available)

Elevation gained: 1,328 ft

Wheelchair accessible: No

Dogs: Yes (on leash)

Find driving directions by clicking here

Restroom: Yes

Wheelchair accessible: No

Managing Agency: National Park Service

Tucked into this sheltered, coastal valley — where the fog rolls in thick and lingers into the morning — the Olema Valley showcases the wetter, more forested habitat of our local landscapes. Follow this trail through a lush forest of Douglas fir, California bay laurel and coast redwood trees.

The Olema Valley Trail stretches between two trailheads, Five Brooks Trailhead in the North, and Olema Valley Trailhead in the South. Parking is available at either trailhead (Five Brooks Trailhead has both a restroom, and a much larger parking area) and it’s a fantastic hike from either direction.

Hikes near Point Reyes Station. Epic view of Tomales Bay from Millerton Point.

Millerton Point Trail

Distance: 1.2 miles

Elevation gained: 62 ft

Wheelchair accessible: Yes (more info here)

Dogs: Yes (on leash)

Find driving directions by clicking here

Restroom: Yes

Managing Agency: California State Parks

This gentle trail meanders along the edges of Tomales Bay for world-class views of the surrounding agricultural landscape and across the water into the fog drenched promontory of Tomales Point. At low tide, enjoy a walk along the water at Alan Sieroty Beach.

The relatively easy trails and scenic vistas make Millerton Point a wonderful impromptu adventure or outing with little ones. It also makes for a fantastic picnicking destination so be sure to grab some local cheese and bread on your way out of town at the Palace Market in downtown Point Reyes Station.

Authored by Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications

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